Seattle's amazing musical legacy is well-known, but there's more to the arts and nightlife scenes than live music. In fact, these days, there are far more swanky bars and inventive pubs than music venues in the city.

To put it bluntly, Seattle's a dynamite place to drink. You can sip overly ambitious and ridiculously named specialty cocktails in trendy lounges, get a lesson from an enthusiastic sommelier in a wine bar or restaurant, or swill cheap beer on the patio of a dive bar. Though some places have very specific demographics, most Seattle bars are egalitarian, drawing loyal regulars of all ages.

The music scene is still kicking—there's something going on every night of the week in nearly every genre of music. The city's dynamic theater scene is a highly regarded proving ground for Broadway, and the Seattle International Film Festival draws the finest in world cinema. The ethereal Marion Oliver McCaw Hall is a first-class venue for opera and ballet, and Benaroya Hall, with its outstanding acoustics, is an elegant premier symphony hall. Families enjoy the Children's Theatre, the Northwest Puppet Center, and the many summertime folk art and music festivals.

In addition to its bars, Downtown and Belltown in particular have notable restaurants with separate bar areas. Most restaurants have impressive bar menus, and food is often served until 11 pm, midnight, or even 1 am in some spots.

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  • 1. The Crocodile

    Belltown | Music Clubs

    The heart and soul of Seattle's music scene since 1991 has hosted the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Mudhoney, along with countless other...Read More

  • 2. Conor Byrne Pub

    Ballard | Music Clubs

    You might actually hear an Irish accent or two at Conor Byrne Pub, along with live folk, roots, alt-country, bluegrass, and traditional Irish...Read More

  • 3. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley

    Downtown | Music Clubs

    Seattleites dress up to see nationally known jazz artists at Dimitriou's. The cabaret-style theater, where intimate tables for two surround...Read More

  • 4. Egan's Ballard Jam House

    Ballard | Music Clubs

    A neighborhood spot rather than an overpriced tourist trap, this small jazz club and restaurant is devoted to music education for local high...Read More

  • 5. Nectar Lounge

    Fremont | Music Clubs

    Reggae fans—and, really, any music fans—should pay attention to the event calendar at Nectar Lounge. The club regularly hosts big-name stars...Read More

  • 6. Neumos

    Capitol Hill | Music Clubs

    One of the grunge era's iconic clubs (when it was Moe's) has managed to reclaim its status as a staple of the Seattle rock scene, despite being...Read More

  • 7. Owl N' Thistle Irish Pub

    Downtown | Music Clubs

    This affable pub near Pike Place Market presents acoustic folk music on a small stage in a cavernous room. It's often loaded with regulars,...Read More

  • 8. SeaMonster Lounge

    Wallingford | Music Clubs

    With its low lighting and wall of very secluded booths, SeaMonster makes the tame Wallingford neighborhood just a little bit sexier. The space...Read More

  • 9. Showbox

    Downtown | Music Clubs

    Just across from Pike Place Market, this venue—which turned 75 in 2014—is a great spot to see some pretty big-name acts. The room's small enough...Read More

  • 10. Sunset Tavern

    Ballard | Music Clubs

    A Chinese restaurant-turned-bar, Sunset Tavern attracts just about everyone: punks, college students, postgrad nomads, neighborhood old-timers...Read More

  • 11. The Little Red Hen

    Green Lake | Music Clubs

    Bring your cowboy boots and hats to this honky-tonk, which is inexplicably located in one of Seattle's most gentrified and generic neighborhoods...Read More

  • 12. The Triple Door

    Downtown | Music Clubs

    Despite its reputation as a rock club for thirty- and fortysomethings, the Triple Door has an interesting lineup that often appeals to younger...Read More

  • 13. Tractor Tavern

    Ballard | Music Clubs

    Seattle's top spot for roots music and alt-country has a large, dimly lighted hall with all the right touches—wagon-wheel fixtures, exposed...Read More

  • 14. Tula's

    Belltown | Music Clubs

    Less of a production (and expense) than Dimitriou's, Tula's offers a similar lineup of more traditional favorites as well as top-notch local...Read More

  • 15. New Orleans Creole Restaurant

    Pioneer Square | Music Clubs

    Don't let the fact that this is a restaurant turn you off—the stage dominates the room, and blistering nightly sets of traditional jazz, Dixieland...Read More

  • 16. ToST

    Fremont | Music Clubs

    ToST, pronounced "toast," is a swank-looking but super-laid-back martini bar that just happens to have great live music many nights. This is...Read More

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