22 Best Bars in Capitol Hill, Seattle

La Dive

Fodor's choice

In an area full of bars with themes, styles, and hooks, La Dive stand outs as simply an excellent and fun bar for absorbing the neighborhood vibes. A long, L-shaped bar opens the room for conversation, while the booths allow for small gatherings. The sidewalk tables in front are prime people-watching spots and give the feel of a popular Parisian bistro. The drinks menu focuses on natural wine, with a few classic cocktails, plus their signature alcoholic slushies. As the evening goes on, more customers turn to the Cham-bong to slurp their sparkling wine. Thankfully, a strong food menu, with late-night options, keeps things from getting too wild. Look for upscale bar snacks with a slight Eastern European tinge, as in the dumplings section.


Sit at the white tile bar—or on the patio on a sunny day—of this Italian cocktail bar and order delicious antipasti and desserts to go with expertly prepared drinks. Beer selection is limited, but Artusi has great wine options. Make it to the 5–7 pm happy hour.

Century Ballroom

This is an elegant place for dinner and dancing, with a polished, 2,000-square-foot dance floor. Salsa and swing events often include lessons in the cover charge. There's swing dancing on Tuesday and Wednesday, a bachata social on Thursday, and salsa on Monday and Saturday.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Chop Suey

Capitol Hill

One of the city's defining music venues of the early 21st century continues to put on terrific shows, book acts that will make headlines in the future, and support local artists. The eclectic mix of performers defies categorization, and nights without shows offer dance parties and DJs. The venue underwent a much-needed remodel in 2015 that improved the space and removed some of the questionable "Asian" decor, though the name, to the chagrin of many, remains.

Cuff Complex

The Cuff Complex is one of the city's oldest LGTBQ+ bars and also one of the broadest, with four bars, billiards, darts, and all sorts of events. It strives to be a manly leather bar but attracts all shapes, sizes, and styles. The loud, crowded dance floor is tucked away downstairs; the main-floor bar, with its patio, is the place to be on warm nights.

Life on Mars

Capitol Hill

Calm, classic, and inviting, this bar is like if one of the city's top radio personalities invited you into his living room to browse his record collection. Opened by KEXP Morning Show host John Richards, the bar sits in a room with walls covered in shelves of vinyl. The bar has cushy blue seats, while the rest of the room opens to big soft booths and a couch-seating area. The drinks include both alcoholic and non, each labeled with the ABV, and all of the food (typical bar apps, burgers, and sandwiches) is vegan. They serve brunch on weekends, and late-night tacos on Fridays and Saturdays.

Linda's Tavern

Welcome to one of the Hill's iconic dives—and not just because it was allegedly the last place Kurt Cobain was seen alive. The interior has a vaguely Western theme, but the patrons are pure Capitol Hill indie-rockers and hipsters. The bartenders are friendly, the burgers are good (brunch is even better), and the always-packed patio is one of the liveliest places to grab a happy-hour drink.

Madison Pub

Regulars shoot pool, hang out with groups of friends, and chat up the friendly bartenders at this laid-back, anti-scenester joint. In an area where gay bar often becomes synonymous with dance club, this sports bar and pub offers an inclusive, relaxed hang-out spot.


Lived-in booths and a welcoming atmosphere keep this place packed with everyone from couples on a first date to groups of old friends. As an anchor to the East Olive bar strip, it makes for excellent people-watching, either from the inside looking out or from the co-opted piece of sidewalk called a "parklet" that serves as the patio. The specialty is the cocktails on tap, particularly the Moscow Mule, owing in part to co-owner Rachel Marshall's other businesses, a ginger beer company. 


Neighbours is an institution thanks in part to its drag shows, theme DJ nights, and relaxed atmosphere (everyone, including the straightest of the straights, can feel welcome here). It's no longer the center of the gay and lesbian scene, but the dance floor and the rest of this large club is still usually packed all weekend. After-hours parties open the dance floor to ages 18 and up.


One of the grunge era's iconic clubs (then named Moe's) has managed to reclaim its status as a staple of the Seattle rock scene. And it is a great rock venue: acoustics are excellent, and the roster of cutting-edge indie rock bands is one of the best in the city. Their intimate downstairs venue, Barboza, often brings in great lesser-known acts.


The original and short-lived Pony, which got bulldozed along with the rest of the 500 block of Pine Street, was notorious for wild fun. The current incarnation, just a bit more polished and with an amazing patio, retains some of the former space's decorating touches (including vintage nude photos). There's a small dance floor and a mix of gays, lesbians, and their friends, and the patio is open year-round, thanks to a retractable roof and gas firepit.


Capitol Hill

Drag fans, assemble: for a very queer, very good time, head to this inclusive performance space and bar. Live drag shows feature local talent and nationally known queens up to five days a week, and other nights, the calendar fills with viewing parties for RuPaul's Drag Race, queer burlesque shows, and "queeraoke." Big name events can get crowded, so reservations are recommended for large groups, and smaller ones should plan on lines.


Capitol Hill's original gastropub has friendly bartenders, a large selection of beers on tap (with the West Coast and Belgium heavily represented), an extensive whiskey list, and a menu of rib-sticking food, which you can enjoy at the long bar or at a table on either of the two floors of the industrial-chic space. A pretzel and some French fries are good ways to start—then you can choose from beef tartare with pumpernickel crisps and perfect marrow bones with baguette and onion jam. Heartier mains, like the signature wild boar sloppy Joe, are available at dinnertime. A pared-down pub menu is also available from 4 pm to midnight or later. The folks here take their libations seriously, so chat up the bartenders about their favorites.


Revolver stands out from a row of bars on this crowded block of Capitol Hill with a vinyl-only music policy, classic cocktails, draft beer, and boozy snow cones. Laid-back and welcoming, this is as close to a neighborhood classic as a place with the occasional (analog) DJ on a bustling bar street can get (that's a good thing).

1514 E. Olive Way, Seattle, 98122, USA


Great for people-watching and very Capitol Hill, Smith is a large, dark space with portraits of ex-presidents and taxidermied birds all over the walls, plus a mixture of booth seating and large communal tables. A bit outside the Pike–Pine heart, and filled to brimming with tattooed hipsters on weekends, this is a super-friendly and inviting space with a solid food menu (including a top-notch burger and sweet-potato fries) and a full bar. Beer selection is small but good, and the cocktail list is decent.

Tavern Law

Take a trip back in time to the golden age of cocktails before Prohibition and the speakeasies that followed it. Tavern Law is dark and tucked away, and houses a "secret" upstairs area (accessed by picking up the phone next to the old bank-vault door). The drinks are impeccably made, often with surprising ingredients.

The Pine Box

The clever name is just one reason to visit this beer hall housed in a former funeral home. The churchlike interior is stately, with soaring ceilings, dark woodwork, and custom furniture made from huge Douglas fir timbers found in the basement—they were supposedly used to shelve coffins many years ago. The place is rumored to be haunted, but that doesn't stop a trendy crowd from congregating to sample from 30-plus taps of craft beer and a menu of wood-fired pizza (morgue-rita, anyone?), pickles ("embalmed veggies"), and plenty more.

The Tin Table

Upstairs from Oddfellows and across from Cal Anderson Park, The Tin Table is part of the Century Ballroom, a welcoming little lounge with lots of exposed brick and a long, glossy bar. Its three-course, $45 menu is very popular and so is the Chimay that's on tap. It's also beloved for its good à la carte food, like dynamite steak frites. Try the "floozy burger" (with caramelized onion, bacon, cheese, and shoestring fries) and a creative cocktail.


Capitol Hill

Welcome to the carnival... or at least the carnival-themed bar. Walking in feels like ducking into a flamboyant, chaotic big top: striped blue walls, an elaborate bar with plenty of flashing lights, arrows overhead, and an assortment of taxidermied animal heads. The drinks stay on theme, with plenty of colors and names like "Unicorn Jizz," "Capri Sun," and "The Cereal Killer," while the food goes all-in on childhood nostalgia. Corn dogs, chicken nuggets, and meatballs masquerading as "Unicorn Balls," hold down the savory side, while desserts include funnel cake and fruity fried ice cream. Narwhal, a sibling bar in the same location, holds events throughout the week, including karaoke on Monday and drag queen bingo on Tuesday.

Union Bar

Capitol Hill

Big, young, fun, and modern, it can sometimes feel like you need to be beautiful to get in here, just based on the crowds packing the indoor bar, dance floor, and outdoor patio. From the service to the security, everything here is super friendly and professional, leaving the crowd to relax and keep the party going, which it does almost every hour that this spot is open. Great DJs fill the dance floors, and partiers can take breaks at the firepits in front.


One of the last dedicated lesbian bars in the entire country, Wildrose draws a mob nearly every night. The crowd at weeknight karaoke is fun and good-natured, cheering for pretty much anyone. Weekends are raucous, so grab a window table early and settle in for perpetual ladies' night.

1021 E. Pike St., Seattle, 98122, USA
Nightlife Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon., Wed.