Slideshow: Where to Drink Cocktails in West Seattle

Shadowland
Shadowland

The most classic cocktail bar in the neighborhood, Shadowland's basic black interior keeps things simple, while the cocktail list covers huge swaths with its variety. Vegetables come into play in both the Pickletini and the Jalapeño Margarita, there’s a Fruit Loop rim on the Toucan Sam, hot drinks abound (try the Campfire Cocoa), and there’s a whole section of sparkling cocktails. A little something for everybody makes this a valuable neighborhood bar.

Shadowland 4458 California Avenue Southwest, Seattle WA 98116 (map) 206-420-3817; shadowlandwest.com

Frances Farmer at Shadowland ($10)
Frances Farmer at Shadowland ($10)
Named for one of West Seattle’s most famous former residents, star of stage, screen, and Western State (psychiatric) Hospital. The troubled actress, born in the area, was known for a love of drink and being less than sound-of-mind. The strong Eagle Rare Whiskey lays down the path for the off-the-wall addition of B and B (a liqueur made up of Benedictine and cognac), and a fruity lift from Lillet Blanc. A beautiful drink made up of many crazy flavors—a great homage to its namesake.
Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky
Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky

In transitioning from fancy-food Spring Hill to casual fried chicken joint, Ma’ono found a way to draw attention to the excellent collection of whiskies it had amassed, and the bar program rolled over easily to the new concept. Well-known bartender-around-town MiNan Ahn developed the menu, and embraces the wise words of Ma’ono’s website: “Fried chicken is pretty good. But it’s a helluva lot better with whisky.”

Ma'Ono Fried Chicken and Whisky 4437 California Avenue Southwest, Seattle WA 98116 (map) 206-935-1075; maonoseattle.com

Benbow Room
Benbow Room

A Midwest themed restaurant owning a vaguely tiki-themed dive bar might seem odd, but with the closure of Shipwreck Tavern, the folks at Heartland knew better than to kill off the fish under the floor and let the pirate-ship-shaped room go waste. They’ve embraced the theme by serving classic tiki drinks along side Minnesota classics like the Hot Dish and a Juicy Lucy.

Benbow Room 4210 Southwest Admiral Way, Seattle WA 98116 (map) 206-922-3313; heartlandcafeseattle.com

Pirate Booty Juice at The Benbow Room ($8)
Pirate Booty Juice at The Benbow Room ($8)
It seems logical to drink Pirate’s Booty Juice in a pirate-ship-shaped room. With four kinds of rum (Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Malibu, and Meyer’s) and three kinds of juice (orange, pineapple, and cranberry), amaretto does the heavy lifting of smoothing out the alcohol, and it does the job well.
Feedback Lounge
Feedback Lounge

Feedback is so comfortable that it’s come to operate as a sort of living room for bar and restaurant industry folks, offering couches along with tables and bar seating, and pinball for when you feel like standing. The décor is black and metal, dark in color, but only in the happiest of ways: red highlights and shelves of home-made concoctions keep it bright.

Feedback Lounge 6451 California Avenue Southwest, Seattle WA 98136 (map) 206-453-3259; feedbacklounge.net

West 5
West 5

Entering West 5 is a little like walking into a pinball game. It’s dark, long, and narrow, and at the end is a giant lit-up crown. Sure enough, the myriad of drink options will make you want to bounce back and forth between the many types of cocktails: the menu includes classics, martinis, giant rum drinks, thirst quenchers, warmers, and dessert drinks. The crowd here is similarly varied, with kids climbing on tables, regulars glued to the same stool since the place opened, and a boisterous post-work crowd at the bar.

West 5 4539 California Avenue Southwest, Seattle WA 98116 (map) 206-935-1966; westfive.com

Chartreuse Martini at West 5 ($7.50)
Chartreuse Martini at West 5 ($7.50)
Like many of the drinks here, this cocktail is big, strong, and simple. Seagrams vodka bites down hard and is only mildly mellowed by herbal Chartreuse, which the menu highlights as the "house elixir." The cool glass—and a little dilution—smooths out some ragged edges and a light touch of a mint leaf brings things together. By the bottom of this double-sized doozy, you might question your ability to drive home, which, I suppose, is what makes West 5 such a great neighborhood bar—hopefully you’re walking.