The fastest growing major city for the better part of a decade starting in 2010, Seattle has seen its share of growing pains associated with an influx of new residents. And though the city’s growth has cooled from its red hot pace, with new residents comes redeveloped neighborhoods and upscale dining options. Thankfully, Seattle’s dive bar scene is alive and well despite the natural ups and downs that come with changing city dynamics and a global pandemic.
Pacific Inn Pub
is one of the city’s best dive bar examples, a diner-like dive bar equally famous for its unassuming drinking environment and its Anthony Bourdain-approved fish and chips. Under the ominous, watchful eye of a giant, painted fish, Pac Inn embraces the nautical theme and blue & white color palette that is easy to associate with a prototypical Seattle dive bar.
Equally revered in Seattle dive bar circles, Sloop Tavern
takes its inspiration from a British pub named The Sloop Inn discovered by original owner Ole Olsen during his service in World War II. Opened in 1952, fish and chips are of course sold here as well, the dive bar sandwiched between two epic murals on either side of the aging building. Be sure to “Sloopersize” your draft beer, upgraded to a 32 ounce poor in a frosty glass.
Hyper growth can create a few dive bar casualties, unfortunately, Thunderbird Tavern
one such loss in 2013. The 1959 Ballard original was revived, however, in 2014 by owners thankfully committed to preserving the divey authenticity of a Seattle classic. One welcome addition is the Secret Sausage food menu, the signature item a cream cheese-covered hot dog.
And though the city has benefitted from its recent history of rampant growth, mercifully that growth has yet to claim the city’s dive bar scene, preserving a host of classics that more often than not come with a side of fish and chips.