I never thought I’d be listing a nautical-themed bar as one of my all-time favorites, yet here we are. Octopus Bar is by far the best watering hole in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, and one I’ve been a patron of since I first moved to the city.
While sailor-themed decor in theory is tacky, at Octopus Bar it is effortlessly cool. Salvaged wood covers the ceiling, with diffused lighting hanging from old shipping ropes. A vending machine which dispenses oddities (from sticky notes to silly putty) and a decent-quality photo booth are to the side of the bar, and a back patio offers a wide-variety of seating options, cozy in the winter or summer months. The bar is also sandwiched between two, now abandoned, single-screen movie theaters, adding to its odd and slightly ridiculous character.
Octopus Bar’s drinks are what keep me coming back, from cheap and delicious house cocktails (all appropriately deep-sea inspired) to some of the strongest wells I can find. The bartenders, even when slammed, are super friendly and helpful. Their food menu also includes delicious thin crust pizzas, with many vegetarian and vegan options.
I always recommend Octopus Bar before a concert at The Neptune or Nectar Lounge. With its proximity to the U District, Fremont and Ballard, it’s ideal for any night out in North Seattle.