Look, there’s no way to make a list of all the great places to get tipsy on the sudsy stuff in the Seattle area without pissing off a few beer geeks. There are simply too many spots. Seattle is a straight up beer holy land for acolytes of the amber elixir. The city has the most breweries of any major city in the United States with over 175 — and that’s before you start counting bars.
Craft beer in Seattle stretches back well before the craft boom. Early brewers like Pike Brewing and Pyramid cleared a path for 90s heavy-hitters like Elysian, Mac & Jack’s. Today, new wave brewers and fresh upstarts have created an energetic, innovative scene — all carrying some piece of the rainy Pacific Northwest city’s DNA.
These are ten spots to hit right now. They all have great suds, great food, and a vibe that’s all Seattle.
THE MASONRY, LOWER QUEEN ANNE
The Masonry is a great place to start a beer tour of Seattle. The bar has 20 rotating taps of some of the best-curated kegs available today. The kitchen turns out delicious Neapolitan pizzas that lean local and seasonal. The atmosphere is laid back to the extreme. You can post up on a stool, order a delightful pizza, and sample beers for hours.
The beer list here is just outstanding. The taps focus on the big-hitting craft breweries from the region and the across the U.S. You’ll also find seven or eight “featured bottles” — expertly curated picks that are sure to thrill the palate. A trip to The Masonry is a trip to beer heaven, where you can take your time, strike up a convo with a cicerone, and dive deep into all things beer.
STOUP BREWING, WEST WOODLAND
Around the north-central neighborhoods of Seattle reside roughly a gagillion breweries and beer bars. Seriously, you could stay in this area and likely not hit every spot over the course of two weeks. If you want a home run right out of the gate, Stoup Brewing is the play.
The brewery has a convivial feel with big open garage doors in the summer, cozy outdoor seating, and fantastically brewed beer. Food trucks pull up in the driveway and sling some of Seattle’s best fare. There are generally at least a dozen beers on tap from the brewery. Right now, their Bavarian Hefeweizen and Berliner Weisse are offering up the perfect antidote to the summer heat.
Grab yourself a stool or lawn chair, order a great beer, buy some food truck grub, and make new friends. You’re sure to be glad you did.
THE NOBLE FIR, BALLARD
The Noble Fir has a reflective quality to it. The space feels a bit like a library of great beer — with green walls, dark wood, and a literary feel. You really do feel like you’re in someone’s study, where the beer is mind-blowingly good and the food is always deftly prepared.
The beer at The Noble Fir focuses heavily on Seattle and Washington state brews. You can order from any of the 18 taps and you won’t be disappointed. The food pairings are perfect for the high-end beer head — with wonderfully nutty cheeses, briny olives, and fatty cured meats all on hand. It’s a simple yet deeply complex food and beer experience in a homey setting.
REUBEN’S BREWS, BALLARD
Reuben’s Brews has a modern Pacific Northwest brewery feel to it. The large brewing space and taproom are made for the Instagram age but the beer is built to stand the test of time. Sure, there are goats in the yard. Hell, they even have a local (vegan) donut and beer pairing. But make no mistake, the craft is on point.
It’s the beer, after all, that should draw you to Reuben’s. There are generally 25 beers on tap. The selection leans very seasonal. At the moment, that means heavy-hitting Goses, Berliner Weisses, and sours alongside some delicately delicious IPA, porters, and a killer pilsner.
This is another spot that has a herd of food trucks on rotation, providing nourishing eats. If you’re flying solo, you’re sure to make a lot of new beer friends after a round or two.
TEKU TAVERN, BELLTOWN
Teku Tavern is a must stop for any beer enthusiast. This is a beer wonderland with a massive — and we mean massive — selection. There are 45 taps and literally hundreds of bottles. It may be one of the most complete lists of curated craft in the country. If you’re looking to try something funky, unique, or hard-to-find, Teku probably has it.
The Tavern is also a beer shop. One long wall is all windows looking out onto Seattle and across from it is a row of beer fridges with a crazy-wide selection. Locals post up at Teku to drink the best beer, eat funky cheese, and be merry for hours on end. Don’t be surprised if you see tables with Dungeons and Dragons or Magic the Gathering games in full swing.
In the end, this is — without hyperbole — one of the best selections of beer in a single place. Plus, they’re totally cool with you ordering pizza from across the street and eating it at the bar.
URBAN FAMILY BREWING CO., INTERBAY
Urban Family Brewing Co. makes some of the most satisfying beer in Seattle. Their focus is on tried-and-true traditional styles with a nice balance of experimentation and a keen eye on local products. Walking through the barrel room, you’ll arrive at a lawn covered with picnic tables, twinkling lights, and rotating food trucks. It’s pure Seattle.
The beer is always on point. There are usually 15 or so taps pouring unique and delicious brews. Right now, there’s a long list of sours and farmhouse ales with plenty of juicy funk. A real highlight is their tap-room-only Pilsner. It’s a gorgeous balance of Saaz hops and sweet malts that makes for a great summer thirst quencher. This is a place for beer lover’s and novices to gather, drink amazing beer, and enjoy the cool Seattle ambiance.
STUMBLING MONK, CAPITOL HILL
Stumbling Monk is a great all-around bar. It’s the sort place where you can while away the afternoon at a booth with your partner, playing game after game of backgammon and drinking excellent beer after excellent beer. Slowly, patrons will trickle in and fill out the place. A real sense of a beer-loving community is present here and will draw you in.
The feel to this place is very throwback with dark walls, small booths, an old wooden bar and chairs, and a serious beer menu. The focus is on the Belgian classics with a great tap list and an even better bottle list. You can take a deep dive into Belgian beer culture while contemplating a hand of cards. Likewise, there are stone-cold American classics cellared here from Pliny the Elder to local favorites.
This is another place that you’ll likely end up hitting two or three times on a trip to Seattle. The beer is that good and so are the vibes.
HOLY MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY, INTERBAY
Holy Mountain Brewing brews and pours some of the most interesting beers in Seattle. Their white-tiled taproom is a showcase for the funky sours and hop-head ales that their alchemists conjure up. Spending time at Holy Mountain is fun — the beers are well-crafted and fun to drink and the crowd is always in a good mood.
The bright space is the perfect reflection of the brightness of the beers. Expertly aged farmhouse sours stand tall next to spelt-infused Weisses and old-school Czech Pilsners. It’s like the best of all beer worlds with a little Seattle-area innovation thrown in for good measure.
We can’t talk about Holy Mountain without talking about their pizza. They do a pan pizza that’s a cross between deep dish and Detroit-Style and it’s absolutely fantastic. The doughy and crispy crust, the umami tomato chunks over the stringy cheese … it’s the perfect counterpoint to the beer. Arrive hungry and you’ll leave very happy.
THE 5 POINT CAFE, BELLTOWN
Okay, this isn’t a “beer bar.” It’s one of Seattle’s many dives — maybe even Seattle’s best dive. But the 5 Point Cafe is definitely a “must visit” destination for every drinking traveler. It’s an icon of bar culture and demands to be on our list.
5 Point’s big u-shaped bar, stacked jukebox, crazy good morning and evening happy hours, and cheap prices make this place shine. You can snag a $2 Rainier tall boy and a $3.50 burger and fries during the evening happy hour. Considering that you’re basically in downtown Seattle, that’s a huge steal. The locals know it and that’s who you’re going to see when you’re at the bar, in a booth, or out on the patio.
5 Point has a decent beer list (it’s almost impossible not to in Seattle). There are always at least six local brews on tap alongside national macrobrews. They also have a deep bottle list featuring some old-school craft brews from the region alongside plenty of newbies.
ELYSIAN TAPROOM, GEORGETOWN
Elysian has come to dominate the craft beer scene in the Seattle area. The love is well-earned — they’re brewing some of the best and most fun beers in the whole state. There are four spots to drink Elysian around Seattle proper but we had to go with one a little bit out of town in an industrial district, the Elysian Taproom.
This is really where the beer lovers go. The space is a storeroom for aging beers alongside the brewing facility. The tap room area has 20 rotating taps. There are also kegs and bottles to-go in case you want to take something back to the city with you.
What’s really fun about this place is that the brewers often grab a pint or two after work. There’s a really good chance you can strike up a convo with a local brewer and talk all things beer, Seattle — cannabis dispensaries, the Seahawks, Macklemore, and… more beer. It’s a great way to personally dive into the Seattle beer scene and get to know the people living in it.