The Kraken’s arrival brings new energy to the low-key restaurant scene around Seattle Center. Lower Queen Anne certainly has a breadth of bars, from the overtly sports-minded Buckley’s to the classic graffiti-adorned Streamline Tavern. Our picks for where to stop before heading to Climate Pledge Arena include massive patios, great pizza, and even group-friendly beer hall tables.
In the Venn diagram of arena proximity and enjoyable food and drinks, it’s tough to beat this Sichuan-ish hangout across the street from Seattle Center on Republican Street. Dumplings, rice cakes with bacon, Chongqing chicken, and crab curry fried rice are indisputably worth a trip even without a game ticket. Then throw in the cocktail list and a bar full of local beer and well-chosen wine. Come early to grab seats in the dining room, at the bar, or among the handful of outdoor tables.
Nothing says pre-funk like geoduck chowder. But in all seriousness, there’s something delightfully Northwest about polishing off some bivalves before rooting for a team that takes its name from a cephalopod. At the oyster company’s bar across from Seattle Center, a dozen perfectly shucked Kumamotos counts as game day food. Especially with an Aperol spritz or adeptly paired local pilsner. Taylor also offers up hot and cold shellfish-centered snacks, like smoked oyster dip, prawn cocktail, and spicy baked mussels. (The bar doesn’t take reservations, but does have some tables outside.)
Long before Seattle had a hockey team, this pizzeria on Roy Street offered the ideal before-game combo: wood-fired pizza, crusts bubbling and topped with smart seasonal combos (summer squash and pesto; prosciutto and onion), plus beer. Great beer. Owner Matt Storm even co-authors a brewery project, Fast Fashion, with limited releases available at the Masonry. Storm’s a vegetarian turned vegan, which means plant-based hockey fans eat uncommonly well here.
If your rowdiest friends took over a patio furniture showroom, the resulting setup might look something like Suzana Olmos’s outdoor bar, a 15-minute walk from Climate Pledge Arena. A network of shelters, Adirondack chairs, fire tables, umbrellas, heaters, paper lanterns, and string lights fill this walled-in lot, a secret garden watered by boozy slushies. An outdoor bar dispenses drinks, sandwiches, nachos, and “Korexican” fare. The space accommodates bigger, unwieldy groups particularly well.
A low-slung beer hall slightly removed from Uptown’s other bars offers a ton of room and nicer-than-average bar food with German overtones. Here, a pretzel can be a bread bowl for clam chowder, the bottom layer of a charcuterie board, a sweet dessert, or the main event with mustard and house cheese sauce. A pre-game beer or two will take the edge off that uphill walk to Climate Pledge Arena.
As straightforward sports bars go, this one pours 24 beers on tap (some local; all great) and keeps its food menu focused on what’s important: massive DIY nachos, hard shell tacos, and chili dogs on brioche buns. The bar has just the right amount of TVs, but is also ludicrously close to the arena entrance.