Is anyone else feeling cooped up this winter? Lately, I’ve found myself craving a good wine bar outing. These cozy little restaurants usually have tons of wines to choose from - which means there’s a wine for everyone! - as well as picture-perfect charcuterie boards and small plates. I wrote an Instagram post on this subject back in September, but to summarize, there are three ways to get the most out of your wine bar experience:
With that in mind, here are my suggestions for the best wine bars in Seattle!
1. Purple Café and Wine Bar
This modern wine bar in the heart of downtown Seattle has a wine tower - yes, a wine tower! One of my favorite parts about Purple is that each food item on the menu has a suggested wine pairing. If you’re new to food and wine pairings, this is the place to go!
Another reason I love Purple is that they give you the option to order two half-pours of “duo wines” to compare and contrast. This is a great option for people who want to understand how one grape can be made in different styles or different methods (such as sparkling wine made in the traditional method and the tank method). If you go, be sure to order the vegan calamari!
This Capitol Hill restaurant and wine bar is a foodie’s dream. It’s the perfect spot for date night or an amazing evening out with friends. The coolest part about Surrell? Every single wine on the menu is from the state of Washington! If you want a more casual experience, go with their wine bar area. For a more formal dinner, their tasting menu experience is hard to beat. The food is all sourced from local farms and rotates seasonally. Plus, the wine bar setting couldn’t be more adorable in their outdoor, covered garden.
When I went, I tried their King Salmon Crostini with Lebnah and Dill. It was incredible, and paired beautifully with JM Cellars Louisa Cabernet Franc, with its notes of cherry, green pepper, herbs, and cedar. Who says fish doesn’t pair well with red wine!?
3. Barrel Thief
I love Barrel Thief so much that it was a stop at my bachelorette party! This wine bar in Fremont is also a whiskey bar, so it’s a great place to go in a group since there’ll be something for everyone. Their wine list is extensive, but remember the advice from before! Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance from your server. If you go to Barrel Thief, be sure to get the truffle popcorn. Happy hour is Tuesday through Friday from 5-6 pm. You can get a glass of wine for $6 and truffle popcorn for $4 - can’t beat date night at $10 a person!
*photo courtesy of The Infatuation
4. Mr. West
Mr. West is a modern-chic wine bar in University Village. I went here last fall with my friend Hannah, and we had the best experience. I loved the food and wine pairings. The food menu draws on inspiration from France and the Middle East, with options like marinated feta, muhammara (a roasted red pepper and walnut dip), and truffled egg salad. Mr. West also has a great happy hour where you get $2 off your glass of wine, or you can grab a bottle from their wine shop with just a $10 corkage fee!
5. Le Caviste
Le Caviste is your Belltown go-to for all things French. In the words of The Infatuation, “Le Caviste is not the place to bring your friends who own super-jumbo wine glasses or shirts that say It’s Wine O’Clock!” In other words, this place is where you go when you want to talk about terroir and use your best French accent to pronounce names like “Jura” and “Beaujolais Cru.” And while the menu is mostly in French, don’t be intimidated. The wait staff are highly trained and know how to walk you through the menu without any pretension. If you go, be like me and branch out! I got the chicken pâté, which I had never had before but ended up really liking!
6. Pop Culture Champagne Bar (Bonus!)
This one is a bonus because it’s not really located in Seattle - it’s in Kirkland! It’s totally worth the drive. Pop Culture is a Millennial/Gen Z hang out. The lounge area is adorned with neon lights and Instagrammable posters. In short, the decor is spot on. And the wine! Oh, the wine. During my visit last October, I decided to go for the Big Poppas Wine Flight which included tasting pours of three different Champagnes. My favorite of the flight was the Louis Nicaise Brut Réserve. It was decadent, with notes of baked apples. If you go, be sure to try the grilled cheese or the charcuterie plate with fig jam.