September 2015

27 Best Nights Ever

From karaoke bingo to underground comedy. Plus, restaurants with fantastic views

From this Issue

Calling all first-date flirters, karaoke kings and queens and tranquility seekers—the sun has set and this is your invitation to a whole new side of the city. From classic soul jams and comedy clubs to trivia nights and bingo, there are countless ways to celebrate staying up as the lights go down.

You never know what you’ll find at Westlake Park—a protest, a preacher, a person you wish would stop playing bagpipes. Even with recent splashy improvements, it’s a two-block petri dish swabbed with disparate strains of human culture. This month, add to the urban science experiment a 40-foot-tall geodesic-dome theater, courtesy of Portland’s Umpqua Bank.

From dance about Carl Sagan to photography about the black experience to theater about The Simpsons, this season’s lineup isn’t afraid to go there. Step out of your comfort zone and explore something you've never considered. We've divided up the best of the best this season into six categories for your arts-enjoying pleasure.

With iron gray siding and ultramodern facades, the three town houses on 18th Avenue and E Spring Street, designed by architect couple Tiffany Bowie and Joe Malboeuf (Malboeuf Bowie Architecture;, initially read more contempo condo than eco-friendly.

Wayne Horvitz turns 60 this month, and he’s celebrating the way any jazz musician worth his salt would—by playing an epic ton of gigs.

Lynx Vilden walks down a dusty trail through a field of shrub and balsamroot. She wears a vest and shorts made of buckskin. A tangle of short dreadlocks frames her tan and weathered face. An arrowhead and a medicine pouch hang from leather thongs around her neck. Her belt buckle is fashioned from an antler, and tiny bone earrings pierce her earlobes.

Growing up on Mercer Island, fashion illustrator Blair Breitenstein was inspired by artist Ruben Toledo’s campaigns for Nordstrom. “I remember looking at his Christmas shopping bags, and wishing my drawings could someday be printed like that,” Breitenstein says.

Above: Lafayette 148 New York jersey stitch turtleneck in “rock,” $268, Schai “Vita” snood in “granite,” $280, Baby & Company (Belltown, 1936 First Ave.; 206.448.4077;

The Seattle indie filmmaking scene is currently thriving, thanks to locally based filmmakers such as Lynn Shelton, Megan Griffiths, Mel Eslyn and Lacey Leavitt, who make it a priority to film in Washington state. (Follow the Keep Film in WA campaign at

YOU THINK YOUR LIFE IS COMPLICATED? If you find that your every hangnail has become cause for a meltdown, may we gently suggest attending one of these productions—talk about drama!—all of which offer a sense of perspective.

This season’s wealth of literary proceedings
Makes clear that Seattle is a hot spot for readings.
We’ll start things off with the surfeit of memoirists
painting impressions with a skill that’s Renoir-ish.

Pae White
Los Angeles–based installation artist Pae White has a thing for threads, which she stretches in sharp lines across huge gallery spaces, creating new planes, perspectives and frames. 10/24–1/24/16. Times and prices vary. Henry Art Gallery, 15th Avenue NE and 41st Street; 206.543.2280;

Growing up on the Port Gamble S’Klallam Reservation, Jeffrey Veregge spent a lot of time on his own, drawing and reading pulp novels and comics. The stories that spoke to him were wildly uncool to his peers. “Being a geek in the ’80s was not fun,” Veregge says.

If you need a break from Seattle’s unfailing earnestness, let your irreverent side fly free at Laugh Riot, the monthly alternative comedy showcase that takes place at Capitol Hill’s Chop Suey (9/2. 9 p.m. $5. 1325 E Madison St.; Facebook, “Laugh Riot”).

There I stood on the rooftop of an industrial building in Portland’s Pearl District, at the second after-party of the inaugural Feast Portland festival, starstruck. The man, the myth, the legend Fergus Henderson—chef at London’s St.

Haute cuisine fans of MistralKitchen have a new reason to raise their glasses. Partnering with acclaimed glassblower Michael Schunke, chef/owner William Belickis has debuted a custom stemware collection as the crown sparkler in the restaurant’s newly redesigned Jewel Box Bar.“Our cuisine is designed to be refreshing, to elevate,” Belickis says. “The glasses really grab that.”

It’s easy to find stats that prove Seattle is a literature-loving city—we always land in the top three in the annual ranking of America’s Most Literate Cities, which doesn’t even take into account our many writing programs, reading series and independent word nerds writing books and creating literary magazines.

Vancouver, British Columbia–based Meat & Bread offers four lavish sandwiches for lunch, but it is the heavenly porchetta ($10)—a menu staple, thank goodness—that wooed my taste buds at the deli’s first American outpost.

I have no intention of ever entering the political arena as more than an observer. Still, I sometimes fantasize, “If I were dictator of Seattle, what would I do?”

Self-taught illustrator Kyler Martz started selling screen prints in local coffee shops just three years ago when one of his pieces was purchased as a holiday gift for Whale Wins’ chef-owner Renee Erickson. She liked Martz’s work so much, she commissioned him to create the 13-by-20 foot mural that decorates the exterior of the Ballard restaurant.

Steven Han’s fourth restaurant, a high-end Korean steakhouse in Pioneer Square’s new Stadium Place complex, is named after a divine creature in Korean culture that marks the arrival of good luck.

Let's face it, there aren’t enough bars in stores—shopping can wear you down, and cocktails pick you up, so it’s a perfect match.

In the waning hours of last December, David Heller had dinner with friends at a neighborhood Thai restaurant. Over shared plates of pad kee mao and panang curry, they drank red wine and talked of plans for the coming year. Spirits were good. Yet Heller’s friends were worried about him. He looked pale, walked with a limp, complained of sores on his legs and general fatigue.

It’s a late spring morning at West Seattle Elementary and as usual, morale is running high. Counselor Laura Bermes high-fives students as they walk through the door. Principal Vicki Sacco greets teachers while cradling Bingo, her watchful Chihuahua.

Until recently, a pet emergency in Seattle meant a stressful drive in the black of night to a veterinary ER in Wallingford or Lake City—or to Shoreline, Lynnwood, Renton and beyond. But with the opening last month of Seattle Veterinary Specialists (SVS) (First Hill, 805 Madison St.;, South Seattle residents can breathe a little easier.

When 2008’s economic downturn forced then graphic designer Mark Dellplain to reassess his career, the Bellevue resident made an unusual decision: He bought a boat. “Growing up on Vashon Island, I watched my father build wooden boats,” Dellplain says. “He died when I was 7, and I wanted to see what it was about working with wood that made him tick.”

Any day now, grapes from the 2015 vintage in Washington will be harvested from vines, placed into bins in temperature-controlled rigs, hauled over Snoqualmie Pass and trucked to Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, where a team, likely dressed in black, will receive them at a 32,000-square-foot refurbished former Dr Pepper bottling plant.

It took years of self-reflection and culinary-ladder climbing for Anacortes native Brian Clevenger to open his first restaurant, Vendemmia, in Madrona. Vendemmia is the Italian term for a season’s grape harvest, a reminder of the chef’s devotion to seasonality and quality ingredients.

Once a year, everyone is invited (for free!) to enjoy tranquil vistas and participate in a little fall cleaning at our parks, canyons, rivers and streams during National Public Lands Day (9/26;

The libation you hold in your hand says a lot about you. Hold off on drab and dull standards (the Sazerac and French 75 are so 2014) and accessorize with a new class of cocktail.

Just as a potential partner needs to be vetted, a good bit of thought should go into where and how you decide to spend an evening with someone you just met. These spots offer the benefits of immediate discussion topics, a “shared experience” kick-start and, if you are not necessarily feeling it, the opportunity to sit back and let a few other complete strangers entertain.

It was the wrong house. Or at least Emily Trittschuh wrote down the wrong address to check out on her weekly, Sunday-afternoon house hunt. The 1953 pea-soup green, 2,520-square-foot, ranch-style residence in West Seattle’s Admiral District was over her budget, but, since she had already driven out, she saw no harm in a quick walkthrough.

Seattle photographer Ernie Sapiro has a remarkable ability to capture the essence of local dancers, athletes and musicians—the last of which have been his special focus over the past two years.

WHERE:Port Townsend, a picturesque maritime city on the Olympic Peninsula.

WHY: Because Port Townsend is great anytime, but even better when there’s a boat show or film fest.