Craft Cocktail Bars are Shaking Things Up

A neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to some of Seattle's best cocktail bars
A.J. Rathbun  |   August 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Canon seattle best cocktails in seattle seattle magazine
Canon’s Jaime Boudreau puts a modern spin on the classics

Zig Zag

Don’t forget about this busy lounge (on the Pike Street Hill Climb), because it’s been around much longer than most craft cocktail bars. Instead, go early enough to snag a coveted seat at the bar amidst the dim lights, red walls and chandelier, order a solid standard, such as the Manhattan, let whoever is carefully concocting your classic choose the whiskey (the price might range depending on the whiskey, but taste isn’t cheap), and watch the master mixologists, such as Ben Perri, go to work. Although the legendary Murray Stenson isn’t there anymore, his influence is felt in every well-made cocktail. The flatbread pizza and sandwiches aren’t bad, either. 21+ only. 1501 Western Ave., No. 202; 206.625.1146;

Oliver’s Twist

While the number of Dickens’ quotes heard in this artsy, top-of-the-ridge outpost is sadly low, the drinks made by creative bartenders, including Robert Rowland, are packed with a curious cast of spirited characters—such as the Duff & Blathers with rye, Averna amaro, maraschino, orange bitters and a black pepper tincture ($11)—that are delicious. And the garlic truffle popcorn served up hot and the grilled cheese with tomato cappuccino provide perfect snacking. 6822 Greenwood Ave. N; 206.706.6673;

Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor

Not much larger than a classroom—but with loads of amiable class—this spot manages to be both small-town-ish and urban modern all at once. Picture crazy-quilt plywood walls and furnishings out of an early James Bond lair. Pay close attention to the cultivated list of standard, well-crafted cocktails, such as the Rothko prepared by bartender Joe Sanchez (previously at Can Can), which features bourbon, brandy, Canton ginger cognac, lemon, orange, and orange and angostura bitters ($9). Though the name gives it away, this spot is also renowned for its oysters. 2616 NE 55th St.; 206.525.0220;

Feedback Lounge

Sometimes you just want a spot that can rock out. Decorated with old beer signs and trays, Feedback has a Cocktail Club every Thursday at 6 p.m., during which co-owner Matt Johnson (who previously worked in the world of finance) tries out new recipes (and noodles around with some classics) that can leave one saying “Gee whiz” in the best way. Take the Thousand Yard Stare, with its deliciously spiced combination of gin, house-made saffron liqueur, blueberry bitters and a lemon twist ($9). Have one while playing Ms. PacMan and nibbling on items from the wide-ranging food menu: everything from steak tacos to rigatoni with Italian sausage. 21+ only. 6451 California Ave. SW; 206.453.3259;