It could be because of the Emerald City’s wealth of precipitous and overcast days which are generally celebrated by locals indoors. These indoor-activities are more often than not accompanied by good bottles of wine to both honor good company and enjoy the rainy season in a more upbeat manner. So, Seattle wine bars aim to please.
Top Seattle wine bars have high standards to meet as set by their regulars. Local wine enthusiasts generally prefer savoring high-quality wines in relaxed yet sophisticated venues, and they demand many things: knowledgeable wine servers, stimulating scenery, delectable food offerings, great service and of course, a compelling but well-priced wine selection. In other words, they want establishments that serve world-class wines without the super-formal atmosphere of private clubs and ultra-luxe restaurants.
If you find yourself in Seattle and want to savor offerings from around the world in a relaxed and comfortable ambiance, seek out one (or all) of the tried and true, award-winning wine hot spots on this list. And don’t worry, they’re all indoors so you can stay out of the rain.
Photo courtesy Lorenzo Pasqualis via Flickr/CC
Great Wines at Unbelievable Prices
Not too far from Greenlake, one of Seattle’s most beloved parks, sits the aptly-named Greenlake Wines and Wine Bar. Owner Richard Kinssies, a 39-year veteran of the wine industry, professes his passion for great wine and food daily. All meals are handmade, even the bread is made from scratch every morning.
Greenlake Wines doesn’t serve anything but wine, unlike many other wine bars that carry beer and hard liquor. There is good reason for the specialization: Kinssies is a deal wizard when it comes to wine. His “street cred” that has built up over nearly four decades allows him to purchase large amounts of wine at prices big-box stores like Costco can’t even touch. His proprietary business model allows Greenlake Wines to carry superb selections and offer them for wholesale prices.
These savings are eagerly passed on to customers, a fact not overlooked by Greenlake’s ever-growing following of loyal patrons. The combination of frequently changing wine stock, excellent price value and highly-knowledgeable staff keep customers happy and returning frequently. The friendly neighborhood feel also adds to the flavor of the wine.
Thursday is the night to go to take advantage of their popular and quite regular wine tastings. Larger groups should call ahead as the venue is small, but it's well worth the effort.
Greenlake Wines and Wine Bar
1400 North 80th Street Suite 101
Seattle, WA 98103
206 524 6909
Wine Watering-Hole for Late Night Hipsters
Conveniently located in the nightlife area of the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle is Black Bottle, a wine bar defined by its lively and young professional crowd who keep coming back for more. The white wine and bubbly list are limited yet intelligently put together. The more substantial red wine list on the other hand includes local Washington favorites plus choice California and European regional options. The wines are offered at fair prices and the service is informal.
The food menu is not standard bar fare, this stuff is good even if you’re not drinking. Black Bottle focuses on thoughtful culinary delights like Seven Spice Shrimp, Prosciutto and Béchamel Flat Bread and Gruyere Emmentalier Beet Gratin with Mache/Rocket. These are dishes meant to be talked about almost as much as the attractive people stealing glances from each other.
Black Bottle has enjoyed a faithful following despite the lower number of people frequenting higher-end establishments in the Belltown area. The careful wine selection, great fare and people-watching makes for a winning combination not to be missed.
2600 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
206 441 1500
High-Quality Wine Plus Caffeine? Yes, Please!
That’s what you get when you mesh a successful coffee micro-roaster with an essential list of wines and tasty bistro fare. Fonte Café and Wine Bar, located at the base of the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle, strives to please their clientele by plying them with specially designed “Flights of Fancy.” These feature 2.5 ounce pours showcasing local as well as international wines. Then, Fonte adds scrumptious artisan meat and cheese boards from Salumeria Biellese, a family-owned salumeria that’s been making Old World style meats since 1925.
The experience isn’t over yet. Finally, the micro-roaster allows you to finish off your meal-experience with a top-notch selection of gourmet coffees. The coffee offerings are often hailed among the city’s best. In Seattle, where coffee culture runs deep, that is saying a lot.
Fonte Café offers a European bistro style experience just steps from the Pike Place Market. Wine tastings are held every first and third Wednesday and reservations are encouraged.
Fonte Café and Wine Bar
1321 First Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
206 777 6193
Choices, Choices, Choices!
Ranked as one of Seattle’s best wine bars and restaurants, the Purple Café and Wine Bar has much to be proud of. The legions of patrons waiting for service are tell-tale signs that Purple is doing several things right. A Thursday evening (after work) can fully-pack the 225-seat capacity of the Purple Café Downtown Seattle location with energetic-customers and still leave others waiting for 30 minutes or more.
Purple attracts the masses because of their commanding wine list. The list includes everything from tried-and-true wines like local Chardonnays to the more exotic Carmeneres and hard-to-find Bordeaux. The current Purple wine list is a staggering 69 pages long via pdf.
The ambiance is comfortable and mellow despite the elegant and luxurious feel from the architecture. A giant pillar inset with cases and cases of beautifully displayed wine dominates the center of the space, reminding onlookers that Purple is fully focused on its product.
Purple Café also allows you the first BYO bottle without a corkage fee, as long as they don’t carry it. Reservations are highly recommended during peak times and many of their selections are available for retail sale at 40% off the listed price.
Purple Café and Wine Bar
1225 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
206 829 2280
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