‘Tis the season for desperately needing to escape the house and laugh at absurd things. Gathering a few friends to wear silly outfits and do a bar crawl accomplishes just that — with the bonus of entertaining anyone you pass on the way. Whether you don a hand-knit one Grandma made in her “puce” phase, a favorite find from Goodwill, or a brand-new BACARDÍ Christmas pullover, ugly sweaters slay Grinches and bring cheer back to Whoville (or, in this case, Seattle). Take your train of woven hideousness on the run: This itinerary will help you find the best bars for your ugly sweater crawl of Seattle — ones full of tasty drinks, good cheer, and bartenders with an appreciation of woolen fashion faux pas.Read More
Where to Go on Your Ugly Christmas Sweater Crawl
1. Bait Shop
Start at the north end of Capitol Hill, where Linda Derschang, queen of taxidermy bars, takes a nautical turn in her ode to the intersection of dive bar and tiki. Start the night with a group cocktail — maybe something in a pineapple, because you can’t look any more ridiculous than you already do. The Pineapple Dream Team will amp you up with coffee liqueur and get you ready for the long crawl.
2. Barrio Mexican Kitchen & Bar
Barrio masquerades as a classy Mexican restaurant, but don’t be fooled: The flatteringly low light hides a cocktail menu full of treasures. Sidle up to the mosaic-tiled bar that snakes through the center of the room to try the Veladora, featuring BACARDÍ Superior and crème de cacao — even an ugly sweater deserves a fancy drink in the candlelight.
3. Hula Hula
Since it’s Seattle in winter, there’s an overwhelming possibility that your sweater is soaked from the rain, so dry off in the indoor sunshine of Capitol Hill’s tiki karaoke bar. Slurp on a Tourist Mai Tai and maybe a pile o’ tots to soak it up while you wait your turn to belt out a tune.
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4. The Tin Table Restaurant & Bar
Climb the stairs to this stashed-away spot, where the hardwood floor and brick walls invite your crew to come in for drinks away from the neighborhood crowds. As the side bar to a salsa (dancing, not food) club, the lounge area offers a comfy place to relax with one of their spins on classic cocktails — try the Smoking Gun, which incorporates a lapsang tincture for a warm, smoky sip.
5. The Backdoor at Roxy’s
Seattle, WA 98103
Leave the chaos of Capitol Hill behind and start the north half of the crawl at this cocktail bar hidden behind a Jewish deli. You enter through a plain door in a parking lot, but once inside, this spot is all class: Light from the chandeliers bounces off mirrors, and giant murals dominate the walls. The centerpiece is a curvy bar with a lengthy spirits list and bartenders who know what to do with it — and free corn nuts while you wait.
6. Brouwer's Cafe
Tall ceilings and an endless taplist make this Belgian beer bar a Fremont favorite, but the secret is that they do a darn good cocktail, too. Don’t worry about your sweater looking too out of place among the Game of Thrones-esque décor (to be fair, it looked like this long before the show aired) and rev back up for the crawl’s homestretch with the 145 Days of Darkness, made with vanilla-bean-infused BACARDÍ rum, Frangelico, and coffee.
7. The Leary Traveler
If your sweater is a bit furry, you’ll fit right in at this unassuming Fido-friendly spot with plenty of room for the whole crew (and their pups, too). Classic cocktails and their offspring are the way to go here, but tack on an order of some of the best fries in the city — served with a choice of excellent dipping sauces (or head next door for a slice at Big Mario’s).
8. Shelter Lounge
The one thing your ugly sweater crawl was missing up until this point — something you didn’t even know you needed — was s’mores. Luckily that’s totally fixable when you grab a big booth here and take turns indulging in the free s’more fixings and roasting your marshmallows over the indoor firepit. Just watch your sleeves on the open flames!
9. La Isla
Absorb the island vibe at this Puerto Rican bar: The red walls and cool blue accents evoke the beach life, even without any tacky tiki themes or nautical décor. Here, the feeling comes from the Boricua tunes, the sweet smell of tostones frying, and a whole slate of amazing rum drinks.
Half the fun of this crawl is getting fancy in your fugliest duds, so finish up at this sweet neighborhood French bistro that retains enough of a sense of humor that it won’t mind your tinsel-flecked shenanigans as you slip along the checkerboard floors into a booth or snag the giant communal table in the center while you order a drink like the Fan Fan La Tulipe —BACARDÍ rum meets pineapple, lime, and celery bitters.