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Best Seattle Nightlife

AOL PICK from our Editors
As the birthplace of grunge, hometown of Jimi Hendrix and countless aspiring garage bands, Seattle has a justifiable reputation for its lively music and nightlife scene. Each neighborhood draws a different type of late-night crowd. Pioneer Square, south of downtown, has a reputation as a rough-and-tumble late-night area catering to bar-crawlers; this isn’t the safest part of town after dark. Belltown is filled with trendy dance clubs and lounges that attract the well-heeled. One of the top venues, the art deco Showbox at the Market, packs in as many as 1,000 patrons, several nights a week. Capitol Hill has edgier establishments offering hard rock, hip-hop and alternative music; Neumos and The War Room are among the standouts here. Fremont draws a young, eclectic crowd to its bars and pubs, including the uber-popular High Dive and Nectar, with its indie-rock and world music. Ballard draws couples and girlfriend groups to its swanky wine bars, and folkies to its pubs and folk-music venues.

Baltic Room (The)

Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Glowing Lucite tables and cherry walls lend this party-house a Manhattan lounge atmosphere. Sit on the mezzanine, so you can gawk at the crowded dance floor and bar below—then when the mood strikes you, plunge in yourself. DJs spin everything from old-school jams to R&B, hip-hop and pop. The nightly happy hour offers $2 domestic pints and $3 well drinks.

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Triple Door

Neighborhood: Downtown
This sleek, gorgeous nightclub, tucked beneath Wild Ginger—one of Seattle’s best Asian fusion restaurants—attracts an older crowd. The venue’s Mainstage has half-moon banquette seating (that means no bad sight lines), a high-end sound system and a world-class mix of artists, from jazz to world music. The focal point in The Triple Door’s Musicquarium lounge, one of the city’s best happy-hour spots, is an immense lighted fish tank. Local bands regularly perform here.

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Neighborhood: Downtown
The historic 1926 Skinner Building holds this sleek, contemporary slip of a bar whose cocktails are its signature. Imbued with handmade syrups and house bitters, mulled with seasonal fruits and herbs, these colorful concoctions draw wide acclaim. The bartenders are exceptionally knowledgeable and personable, making a seat at the bar one of the best spots in the house.

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Dimitriou's Jazz Alley

Neighborhood: Downtown
Jazz Alley has long drawn internationally famous, Grammy-winning jazz artists. But there’s no red carpet here—just casual, cozy tables in one of the city’s most intimate concert venues. If possible, reserve a few months in advance to avoid the poor sightlines of the back corners. The Northwest-inspired dinners are an ideal complement to the stellar music.

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Tractor Tavern

Neighborhood: Ballard
High ceilings and wood trim give The Tractor a barn-like feel, ideal for its roots and rock music. The ticket price is remarkably low for high-quality music. Since the space is small, the sound system creates a nice resonance, and the main floor is big enough for dancing.

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