Best Blends: Raising a Glass at Seattle Area Wine Bars

Whether you prefer your wine with light fare, a small meal, or just the wine alone...a casual atmosphere, trendy and energetic, a neighborhood bistro, or a more formal ambiance, or a hidden find that's yours-all-yours, Seattle has great ways to savor old favorites and try new-to-you vintages. The Tasting Room is a wine-cave setting tucked away near Pike Place Market, Bin Vivant offers elegant surroundings and a gorgeous lakeside setting. Poco is a welcoming neighborhood wine bar in Capitol Hill. Purple has locations in Seattle, Woodinville, Bellevue, and Kirkland.

10 Crepe Cafe and Wine Bar
For those of us who think that breakfast is the perfect time to add a light wine or a splash of champagne, Crepe Cafe and Wine Bar is the prefect brunch spot. It's a cozy, comfortable neighborhood cafe with stunning breakfast, dinner, and dessert crepes. The staff is friendly and attentive, and the food is delicious. Go on Tuesdays for half-price bottles of wine. ((206) 527-7147)

9 Portalis Wine Shop and Wine Bar
Portalis offers a wine club, wine consultations (to find the perfect food-and-wine pairing for your event), a wonderful and rotating seasonal menu of food and the recommended paired wine, and local artists' works on display on the walls. Ballard is a great neighborhood for walking, looking in the various shops, enjoying the sidewalk cafes and book stores...and topping it off with dinner and its perfect wine complement at Portalis. (206-783-2007)

8 The Sitting Room
A delightfully intimate setting in lower Queen Anne neighborhood, The Sitting Room is a perfect stop before - or after - an event at the nearby Seattle Center. Its close quarters, comfortable-couch seating areas, and funky decor are a nice change of pace from the sleeker, uber-modern settings in so many newer downtown bars and bistros. (206-285-2830)

7 Purple Cafe and Wine Bar - Seattle
Lively, casual, welcoming. Wrought iron fixtures, poured concrete floors, and old-brick walls. Over 70 wines available by the pour or in flights. It's an excellent destination whether you're on a date, meeting with friends, or holding a business function. There are four locations in the Seattle metro area, and you can reserve your table at their web site - so no matter where you're closest to, you're close to an excellent afternoon or evening with wonderful food and amazing wines. Every day from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Bellevue, Kirkland and Woodinville locations (not downtown), the happy hour menu means $2 off drinks. Yet, more exciting news? Diners can snack on discounted, deletable dishes like gorgonzola-stuffed dates, calamari and steamed Manila clams. (2068292280)

6 Bin on the Lake
Also known as Bin Vivant, this stunning location offers wine-food pairings and wine flights with an emphasis on local vintages. The main attracting factor here could easily be the wines, the views of the Seattle Skyline and the Olympic range beyond, or the delicious menu with its emphasis on Northwestern-inspired cuisine. ((425) 803-5595)

5 Black Bottle
Black Bottle boasts a "full bar and hard-working wines," complemented by "unfussy, rustic food to be shared." Upscale, contemporary digs and an interesting variety of wines, beers and cocktails give this bar (in Belltown) an instant appeal. The adults-only wine bar has a wonderful menu (from 4 p.m. until midnight), offering choices from grilled lamb and sumac hummus, to roasted tomato and spinach flatbread, ceviche, bacon-wrapped scallops, pork belly and kimchi plus Southern dishes like crispy fried chicken and collard greem. Shared plates are encouraged! Take out is available, and this venue opens its patio, when the weather is warm enough. (206-441-1500)

4 The Tasting Room
Hidden away in Post Alley, with an entryway-roof of wine-casks, is the Tasting Room. Definitely a hidden treasure, The Tasting Room Seattle (and its sibling location in Yakima) features artisan-crafted hard-to-find wines from all over Washington in a wine-cave-like setting. The Tasting Room is Washington's first cooperative wine cellar, and features vintages from winemaker-owned wineries such as Cameraderie, Harlequin, Latitude 46, Natches Heights, and more. Their site offers a listing of available bottles and vintages, and a calendar of events - currently, they host wine hops every Thursday and "Pie Day" every Friday, with Pagliacci Pizza alongside their favorite wines. The Tasting Room Seattle is open seven days a week beginning at noon, and also welcome private and corporate events. ((206) 770-9463)

3 Smash Wine Bar and Bistro
"Where wine and food collide", as the site proudly proclaims. With over four dozen wine-glass pours (including smaller 3- and 6-ounce tastes) Smash's selection focuses on Northwest wines, but includes vintages from France, Argentina, Italiy, New Zealand, ane more. Smash offers ten different wine flights (3 tastes per flight). Ask questions, sample their offerings, and build your own wine flight tailored to your personal tastes. Along with the wines are cheese sample flights, which are either available from their own pre-set menu or you can build a custom platter to accompany your personalized wine flight! Care for something a little more filling? Try an entree from Smash's outstanding menu. (2065473232)

2 Ram Restaurant & Big Horn Brewery
Locals and visitors alike flock to RN74, Michael Mina's downtown outpost, known for its "creative, modern, yet simple interpretations of regional French cuisine." In the chic lounge area, visitors enjoy delectable treats like duck fat fries, bacon-flavored popcorn, jazzed-up deviled eggs, sliders and beef skewers. Main dishes include locally-sourced, seasonal highlights like house-aged steaks, vegetables from local organic farms and Puget Sound seafood (like Michael Mina's Ahi Tuna Tartare). But perhaps, most importantly, patrons return for RN74's extensive wine list that highlights the Burgundy region of France plus boutique wine producers from Washington and Oregon. In addition to pouring at least 40 wines by the glass (priced from $6-$32) and 1,300-plus wines by the bottle, RN74 currently features Champagne and sparkling wine from around the world. Try them by the glass, half-glass or as a flight representing five different countries. Those heading to one of the many nearby theaters and performance halls enjoy three-course "Pre-Theatre Menu," nightly from 5 to 6 p.m. ($44). (206-525-3565)

1 Poco Wine Room
Don't just find a night spot in Capitol Hill - visit a wine bar! And if you've got a large group, don't just go to this wine bar - rent it out!! (Yes, seriously.) The upstairs level holds 40-60 people and makes a great place for enjoying wines and a light dinner with a few dozen of your best friends. ((206) 322-9463)

Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's backpacked around Australia, taught English in Argentina and explored (so far!) countries from Cambodia and Egypt to Turkey and China. Corinne served as associate editor at Where magazine for five years; as a freelancer, she now writes for publications like National Geographic Traveler and Amtrak's Arrive. Here in the lovely Northwest, she's  attempting to debunk the rain myths, up her coffee and live music quotient and find her Zen near/on the water.

Read more about Corinne Whiting here.

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Maps and Directions

The Sitting Room 10Best List Arrow
Type: Wine Bar
Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Black Bottle 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: BELLTOWN
Poco Wine Room 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Late Night / After Hours, Wine Bar
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill