Bellevue's newest hot spot offers food, games, and conviviality in the heart of downtown.

Imagine a spot where you can order a pint from your favorite local microbrewery and munch on a juicy burger, all while demolishing your best friend in a game of cornhole (if you can really even call that a competition). Perhaps your inclination is toward a Pacific Northwest pinot noir and a match of table tennis? Pinky out and paddle ready is certainly a vibe. Or maybe your idea of a good night is a tad more cerebral, spent sipping a cocktail and checkmating your opponent’s queen so quickly that Netflix comes calling.

What if we told you that all of this merriment happens in one place, and thankfully, you don’t have to fly all the way to Australia to find it: you can just head to DWN UNDR Neighborhood Kitchen + Bar, the fresh-faced hangout that recently debuted beneath Hotel 116 in the heart of downtown Bellevue.

“There’s a lot of amazing restaurants in the Pacific Northwest,” says owner James Schmidt, who’s also behind well-known Seattle brands Pecado Bueno, Taco Del Mar, and It’s All Good Catering. “You could eat at a different, amazing place every night if you wanted to. We wanted to offer more than just great food. We wanted to create something that provided an entire evening out in one place: drinks, dinner, entertainment, and activities. And there’s never additional costs to play our games.”

Let’s face it: beneath the jobs, the bills, and unending adult responsibilities, we’re all kids at heart, and there’s no better way to blow off some steam than laughing with friends. There’s plenty of recreational amusement on offer, including Ping-Pong, darts, bocce, bean-bag toss, and Pop-A-Shot, plus classics such as chess, Jenga, Connect Four, backgammon, and more. Everything, from the midcentury modern–inspired aesthetic to the wooden analog board games, is dripping in nostalgia, curated to take you back to simpler times.

“With DWN UNDR, we’ve taken our love of ‘Eatertainment’ to a whole new level,” says director of operations and marketing Tim Larson. “It’s the perfect place for a date night. It’s the kind of place where you can start your night relaxing by the fire with a cocktail before dinner and then spend your evening playing games and hanging out. As we get things going, we plan to host live music and entertainment as well.”

From the front, the building looks deceptively small, but as you enter through a community library and head down the stairs, the 5,000-square-foot space opens up dramatically on the dining room and bar. Beyond that sits an expansive outdoor patio under a canopy of three-story-tall Japanese maple trees. It’s not hard to understand why some have called DWN UNDR a playground for grown-ups— especially considering there is an adult-size seesaw and a table with swings for seats—but the restaurant is family-friendly as well.

“My favorite thing about it is that although it’s a large space, it still feels incredibly cozy. The whole place just kind of flows together inside and out,” says Schmidt. “Some of the mini golf holes are inside, some are outside. We are excited to have put something genuinely different together.”

Play that hard, and you’re bound to whip up an appetite. DWN UNDR has a delicious menu of elevated comfort foods, where everything is handcrafted from scratch using fresh, natural ingredients. “We dedicated a long time ago to serving sustainable and ethically sourced food,” Schmidt says. “It's not just about the impact on the local economy and the environment; it comes down to quality. We want to serve the freshest food. It simply tastes better, and if it happens to be better for the planet and your health, then that’s just an added bonus.”

It’s definitely a party foul not to try a few appetizers; the smoked salmon potato skins and the beer cheese Irish nachos are to die for. Add on a grilled peach salad, Philly cheesesteak sandwich, or the roast turkey plate to make it a full meal. Sweet tooths will enjoy the mouthwatering dessert lineup, consisting of tiramisu, homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches, and warm apple crisp. When it comes to libations, modern twists on the classics (añejo old-fashioned, anyone?) will wet your whistle.

If you’re wondering what kind of events you can host at DWN UNDR, the world is your oyster. “Office happy hour team-building meeting? Birthday party? Wedding reception? No problem,” says Larson. “We have a couple private meeting rooms and event spaces that open up right out onto the garden patio. Upstairs, we have a banquet hall that can easily host groups upwards of 300. We can offer a variety of custom menus through our catering company.”

Currently, DWN UNDR is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, but as they get busier, they plan on opening earlier on weekends with a brunch menu and extending their late-night hours. Larson adds, “We want DWN UNDR to really add to Bellevue’s growing nightlife. We definitely want to offer a place that can be a go-to spot for both a Friday night out and a Sunday fun day.”


Instagram: @dwnundr_bellevue
625 116th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

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