ICONIC DUOS

Our Favorite Seattle Combo Shops

Beer and books. Coffee and bikes. Plants and tattoos. The more the merrier.

By Zoe Sayler

Eyeglasses and succulents come together at Coopers Optique and Rori Blooms.

Fast food restaurants have long taken advantage of their combined power. What is an A&W root beer float if not the ideal pairing for a bucket of KFC? What is a Baja Blast if not the perfect thirst quencher for stuffed-crust pizza?

But clever combo shops don’t just solve the problems of a bunch of stoned college students. They’re a place to take shoppers who are reluctant (plop them at the beer counter) or incompatible (one peruses a plant shop, the other an eyewear store). They’re a place where errands become a little less excruciating.

And Seattle’s full of them. So full, in fact, that we had to lay down some parameters. At the combo shops listed here, each component has more or less equal standing (coffee in a bookstore probably doesn't count); the pairing has to elicit some level of intrigue (we love cafes with wine shops, but that’s kind of just a beverage store, no?); we didn’t list every single bike cafe in town (an article in and of itself). 

That said, if you know of a combo shop we should consider, please reach out to style editor Zoe Sayler at [email protected]. For science.

Mox Boarding House

Ballard

Board game shops can tend toward the esoteric—a dream for enthusiasts, a bit overwhelming for folks who stumble in looking for a party game. Mox’s clearly organized selection and bevy of welcoming employees preclude any awkwardness. Add in the allure of a cozy, lightly themed restaurant and cocktail bar and you’ve got destination shopping for nerds and novices alike. Bonus points: Pick a game to play while you eat and get it for 15 percent off if you like it enough to bring it home.

Rori Blooms / Coopers Optique

Lower Queen Anne

Kevin Cooper knew he, like his designer-eyeglass-obsessed husband Zac Cooper, would find his niche someday. He just didn’t know it would be so…well, niche. Both businesses in the brightly lit space across from Climate Pledge arena cater to hyper-specific sensibilities: Rori Blooms exclusively carries cactuses and succulents (including some collector varieties); Coopers Optique brings high-fashion eyewear (including Zac’s own recently launched line) to the table.

Kevin and Zac Cooper pursue their passions together.

Agua Verde Cafe and Paddle Club

University District

Ever found yourself in the middle of Lake Union with a hankering for tacos and margaritas? Agua Verde offers a miraculously simple solution to this only-in-Seattle problem with its dockside location and occasional boat pickup option. No dingy? No problem: Rent a kayak or paddleboard at the adjacent Paddle Club.

Drink Books

Phinney Ridge

Chardonnay pairs well with salmon. Cabernet pairs well with steak. But did you know that Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi pairs well with Celler 9+ Cantaperdius? Kim Kent combines her master’s in fiction with the oenophilic knowledge of a longtime server to create inspired novel and natural wine pairings, including through the monthly Book Cru subscription service. Fitting for a shop that pairs so well with itself.

Our kind of wine pairings.

Sip and Ship

Ballard and Greenwood

A sidewalk sandwich board advertising adventurous coffee shop specials belies the practicality housed within: In addition to wildflower lattes and a case full of homemade baked goods, Sip and Ship offers mailbox rentals, notary services, and even wine shipping. If only all of our errands could be accomplished in combo shops.

Everything, including passport renewal, is better with coffee.

Lika Love Boutique / In the Heart Speakeasy

Alaska Junction

As if we need to be plied with In the Heart’s sazeracs and prosecco to spend our paychecks on Lika Love’s flirty fashions. Bring a crew of friends for a shopping party fueled by classic cocktails and refueled by New Orleans–style appetizers and desserts.

Nightshade Tattoos and Plants

Lower Queen Anne

The skylit hole in the wall that once hosted Queen Anne Psychic couldn’t be a better spiritual fit for Nightshade Tattoo and Plants, opened during the pandemic by a couple pursuing complementary dreams. Aleisha Tilson brings intergenerational expertise to the plant side—her grandma was a Master Gardener—while fiance Joseph McSween rounds out the operation with traditional tattoos. Both sides of the business trade in houseplants and florals aplenty. 

Joseph McSween and Aleisha Tilson, partners in life and in business.

Beats and Bohos

Phinney Ridge

When you think "vintage shopping," do you think funky, decades-old clothing, or decades-old funk albums? This Greenwood Avenue vintage shop provides ample opportunity to sift through racks of bygone fashions and boxes of mostly used vinyl, which tend toward rock, jazz, and soul.

Third Place Books / Chuck's Hop Shop / Muriel's

Seward Park

Put this at the top of our list of Places to Hunker Down When the Apocalypse Hits. Whether it’ll take longer to make it through the selection of books or beer (or the tables at which to enjoy them), TBD. If we could make just one request to the forces of good and evil—make sure Muriel’s is open when you head to Armageddon. We prefer our doomsday with a side of lox.

The holy trinity.

Image: Zoe Sayler

Bebop Waffle Shop / Flower Lab

Admiral

"Waffles in the front, flowers in the back." The best mullet ever, or a Mother's Day brunch fever dream? The odds of spontaneously deciding to sit down for a plate of breakfast sweets while booking wedding florals feel low—until you see fruity pebbles baked into a belgian waffle, or muenster grilled between two waffle squares.

Ada's Technical Books and Cafe

Capitol Hill

It may seem counterintuitive for a shop built on two identities to know so steadfastly what it stands for. But Ada's—15th Ave's technically minded bookstore and vegetarian cafe—leaves no room for interpretation. (That's what the scientific method is for.)

Ada bookstore cafe sstsrh

The cafe at Ada's Technical Books ensures you never have to leave.

Peloton Cafe Bike Shop

Central District

For bicycle enthusiasts who use two wheels as their primary form of transportation, pausing for a repair makes for a severely limited travel radius. Peloton customers needn't leave the building—here, a 9am–8pm menu packs all-day options for meat lovers, vegetarians, and vegans alike.

Lynnwood Bowl and Skate

Lynnwood

United by their reliance on rental footwear and their uncanny ability to make adults feel like kids again (albeit, kids who can order 20-ounce cocktails), neither member of this dream team gets short shrift: The long-separate skating rink and 24-lane bowling alley were joined by a common owner and a glass doorway in 2006 after nearly half a century in business.

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