Your Seattle Summer Guide to Outdoor Entertaining Anywhere

From colorful carafes to designer pools to a fancy cooler fit for park cocktails, here’s how to outfit a summer outside.

By Zoe Sayler Photography by Jane Sherman June 18, 2021 Published in the Summer 2021 issue of Seattle Met

Image: Jane Sherman

SURE, THERE’S SOME truth to the rain-fueled rumors the rest of the year. But that just means we’re not spoiled by good weather: If the mountain is out, so are we. That our favorite place to spend hot days and chilly nights with family and friends has been markedly safer than the alternative for the past year is pure coincidence. For these three blessed summer months, at least, we’d be out here anyway.

Viski ice bucket ($60), Chilewich table runner ($55), and acacia wood servers ($16), Sur La Table. Cobalt napkins ($5), Capers.

Image: Jane Sherman

► Public Glass Carafe Set

Like any glassblower worth their sodium flare, designer DH McNabb spent some time in Seattle while learning his craft. His carafe sets for San Francisco nonprofit art school and studio Public Glass, stocked in eight different hues, are a brilliant way to serve water (or wine). Bonus: Cover the carafe with the cup to keep bugs away. Vetri, $190

► Savage Grace Orange Gewürztraminer

We took a tip from Sean P. Sullivan—Seattle Met’s oenophile of record—and nabbed this Savage Grace orange gewürztraminer from Vif in Fremont. $27 

► Wileyware Rocks Glasses

Top these rocks glasses off with something bubbly and hold them up to the light (sun, if you’re lucky): Their iridescent bases change color from different angles thanks to Ballard designer Marcia Anne Wiley’s choice of dichroic glass. Wileyware, $61 each

► Adrienne Eliades Plates

Artist Adrienne Eliades (of Vancouver, Washington) plays with patterns—you can too. Different designs in the same shape and color palette are a safe way to start. Saltstone Ceramics, $90

► Poketo Bamboo Bowls

Worried about introducing your breakables to the great outdoors? Bamboo is a more sustainable choice than plastic. This Poketo bowl set easily transitions to dishware for kids (or cereal). Prism, $48 for a set of four

► Beau Rush Ceramics

Beau Rush’s pretty, matte ceramics can be seen throughout the spread (a testament to their versatility): 10-inch dinner plates in pink and aqua ($54) provide platforms for smaller servers; a 10-inch cloud plate ($54) catches carafe drips. The smaller bowl in a nesting set ($92) makes blackberries pop, and a terra cotta platter ($148) brings a little garden chic to the table. A lilac funfetti platter ($160, top image) holds lemons in waiting. That it’s all crafted in a little studio in North Seattle only sweetens the deal. Beau Rush

► Ruby Pear Woodworks Cutting Board

Cutting boards carry their weight: They’re charcuterie platters, serving trays, a way to carry four cocktails outside all at once. The Glitch cutting board from Seattle’s Ruby Pear Woodworks proves they can also be art. Saltstone Ceramics, $225

Build Your Dream Backyard

High-tech, high-design, highfalutin. Go big or go inside.

► Vondom Biophilia Sofa 

No shade to wicker and adirondacks—but weather-friendly setups come in more genres than just faerie garden and cabin chic. Georgetown interior design studio Terris Draheim brings it outside with furniture straight out of MOMA, like this internally lit sofa. Seriously. It lights up. $1,525

► Mylle Pool

Cool off without sacrificing your cool. Stylist and Seattleite Kristin Myllenbeck designs pools to fit two adults (beverages in tow) and any aesthetic. This grid print is her original, updated in a fresh hue for 2021. $100

► Treasure Garden Starlux Umbrella

Far from a simple sun-blocker, this battery-powered umbrella comes with LEDs built into its ribbing (actually genius for late-night conversation) and a USB port. Ah, the great outdoors. *Pulls out phone.* Price varies

► Stahl Firepit

Portland-based Stahl crafts hefty steel firepits with clean lines and a modern shape, making your campfire a design element (rather than just a classical one). Add on a gas burner to stay above-board during summer burn bans. $1,200 with gas burner 


Chef Brendan McGill (of Hitchcock fame) designed his dream grill on a napkin. Now, serious chefs, home and otherwise, can work with him and Bainbridge Island metal studio Monkey Wrench to create their own—complete with plancha, roasting spit, smokers, you name it. Price varies

Multitasking, with flames.

No Yard? No Problem.

A few square feet of park space—and the right tool kit—are all you need.

Image: Jane Sherman

► Miir Wine Bottle and Tumblers

Tumblers shaped exactly like wine glasses may not be entirely discrete—but this sleek set from Wallingford-based Miir, built to hold an entire bottle of rosé or cabernet, precludes you from carrying a corkscrew. $75

► KAVU Swag Blanket

KAVU (Klear Above, Visibility Unlimited) has been making outdoor gear in Ballard since 1993, so its founders have likely done their fair share of park partying. Hence the first portable blanket that’s actually easy to roll back into its elastic loop. $80

► Leo Bamboo Bowl with Lid

Glass food storage feels (and sounds) dangerous clinking around in your bag on the bike ride to the park. Plastic is a bit inelegant for a legitimate fete. Bamboo, then, is a godsend, as is a lid that doubles as a plate. $33

Camp Time Roll-a-Table

For a bigger group, full-on meal, or particularly involved cocktail, a table is invaluable. And if you don’t plan to stake out a spot at 8am, you’re not likely to find one at a park on a hot summer day. Spokane-based Camp Time’s Roll-a-Table also rolls out local bona fides. $99

RovR IceRKeepR Combo, Evo

The inspired way to chill: Movable inserts keep booze bottles and mixers organized, while a center canister keeps up to three pounds of ice clean and ready to be scooped into cocktails upon arrival. Have a friend bring a separate cooling device for food, if you need it. Today you’re playing bartender. $150

JBL Clip 3 Portable Speaker

It’s impossible to set a perfect summer mood without perfect summer music. This waterproof Bluetooth speaker has a long-lasting battery and clips anywhere (so long as your lake floatie has an adequate strap). Let it live in your shower till you head out. $70

Image: Courtesy REI

Metamorphic Gear Marble Deluxe Tote

Now is not the time for canvas totes and Fjallraven: When you’re packing an entire party to a sandy beach, all you’ll really want your bag to be is expansive and easily cleaned. Made in Seattle from upcycled materials like sails, tarp, and climbing rope, these totes manage to look nice, too. $145

Those Summer Nights

Even the balmiest PNW day calls for a blanket soon after the sun goes down.

Image: Jane Sherman

Arrow throw in mustard ($168), the Phinery. Whispering Blossoms wool blanket by Michelle Lowden ($208), Eighth Generation. Down throw in marigold ($145), Feathered Friends. Marimekko Unikko wool throw ($195), Pirkko. Mackinaw wool blanket ($285), Filson.

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