Girls’ night out is hardly a new concept. Medieval noblewomen probably gathered over wine and roast mutton to gossip about who smelled the worst. This eventually evolved into chocolate egg creams and cheeseburgers at the soda fountain…which brings us to today, when we all get together to eat, drink, and look at our phones.
For a successful girls’ night out, you need a few things: great cocktails, a menu that can please all types, and a dining room that’s not completely impossible to get into. If your pick can easily be used as a launching pad for a night out, even better. (And obviously, these work for any friend group - they aren’t just for girls.)
This place is a strong contender for the most attractive restaurant in Seattle, with its big marble bar, gold accents, and seafoam green chevron tile floor. We’re not saying that’s why it’s perfect for girls’ night out, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Mix and match French small plates, cheeses, and oysters for an overall great meal - just be sure to get the frites no matter what.
Gracia is a colorful Mexican restaurant in Ballard where you’ll find some very tasty tacos and cocktails we’d consume any day of the week. There are plenty of big booths you can reserve, which are ideal locations to pass around stiff strawberry margaritas and delicious enchiladas suizas. We like the rockfish and lamb barbacoa tacos, but the chicken tinga steals the show - kind of like Elaine’s karaoke performance of “Forever Young.”
If you work downtown and need some frozen prosecco in your system before you start clawing at the office window while whispering “I’ll quit tomorrow” to the tiny people down on the street, count to 10, gather your friends, and step inside the air plant-filled oasis that is Mr. West. It’s an all-day cafe from the team behind Bottlehouse, so you can count on some relaxation and interesting bottles of fermented grape juice you wouldn’t be able to find at other places in the city. The snacks here, like charcuterie, cheese, and toasts with lots of toppings are perfect if you’ve all agreed that you’re going to “graze for dinner.”
Sometimes, you need a big bowl of pasta and nothing’s going to stand in your way. Not even if the restaurant doesn’t serve pasta. Luckily, Grappa, an Italian/Greek wine bar in Queen Anne, understands this (and they do serve pasta). Grappa takes reservations, serves somewhat affordable burrata and pesto gnocchi, and it’s just dark enough for the mood to feel special but it’s light enough so that you can still show off the balayage that Rochelle just did for you.
So, you put on the new blazer thing from All Saints that makes you look like a secret agent-CEO hybrid, but the inner you really just wants to eat a great burger or a pile of ribs. We don’t think that’s too much to ask. Sawyer is a nice American restaurant in a renovated sawmill that serves upscale comfort food like braised oxtail nachos and rotisserie porchetta. Sure, you can wear those pinchy shoes that Dr. Scholls himself would shake his head at, but you’ll still get to tear into a double burger with mint-spiked special sauce.
Maybe you’re getting married, and you take your bridesmaid/man selection very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that your apartment is covered in photos and notes tacked to the walls connected by lines of yarn like a crime investigation. When the time comes to actually ask your friends if they’ll be in your wedding party, do it at Dead Line. It’s a fancy cocktail lounge with awesome drinks and delicious Latin snacks. Spend some time in here for dinner, and then head to the adjoining champagne bar, where you can have some bubbles and chocolate truffles.
2120 is in the Denny Triangle, a.k.a. that weird vortex where you’re kind of in South Lake Union, Belltown, and Downtown all at the same time. This makes it perfect for a weeknight girls’ night out if everyone works in the area. This place is part classy restaurant, part Amazon employee team dinner HQ, and you’ll love it if you’re willing to spend a lot of money on your meal. A massive sangria punch bowl with edible flowers floating on top is pretty much mandatory, and the upscale menu is fantastic across the board. For the ultimate girls’ night out one-two punch, head to Lady Yum next door afterwards for macarons and $4 champagne.
Well, Trina screwed up planning the tropical retreat this year - you thought no one fell for those “you won a cruise” calls, but apparently she did. Thankfully, Stateside is a pretty fantastic consolation prize. The palm-patterned wallpaper and string lights make you feel like you’re on vacation, and after a round of sparkling passionfruit bourbon sours accompanied by bowls of Vietnamese vermicelli, you can go back to laughing with Trina, not at her.
When someone helpfully announces that she wants to “do something different!”, suggest Joule. The shareable Korean menu here was practically designed for big groups, and there’s a very good chance someone will eat something they’ve never tried before. Trust your server and split a bunch of small plates and steaks.
When you want your girls’ night out to feel like an adult pizza party, The Independent Pizzeria is the place to go. If you weren’t able to make a reservation (which you need to do by email), get there right at 5pm, because you’ll never get a table in the tiny dining room otherwise. Then, split a few insanely good pies, some charcuterie, and a couple of caesar salads, and wash it all down with tallboys of hard cider. It’s everything you’d ever want in pizza night, without the annoying younger siblings, lack of alcohol, and Costco cake you remember from your youth.
Single Shot is perfect if you want a last-minute dinner that feels like you actually put effort into planning it. They take reservations, the mirror-backed marble bar is beautiful, the small plates are great, and the servers are super friendly. You really can’t go wrong with sparkling wine and margherita flatbreads.
You originally intended to do girls’ night in, but the friend who was supposed to host is in a fight with her passive aggressive roommate over dishwasher duty. Come to Bottlehouse. It’s a wine bar and shop in a renovated home, so it’s easy to get comfortable spending some quality time with a few bottles and a meal’s worth of nuts, cheese, cured meats, and baguette sandwiches. And there’s a 99% chance no one will notice that you’re wearing slippers.
If it’s looking like your night will end with six hours of dancing, you might as well start with dinner at List. This spot is an LED light show and wooden dance floor away from actually being a nightclub - the light bulbs are red, it’s so dark you almost can’t see, and there’s a good chance your flirty friend will exchange a phone number at the bar before the check hits the table. The kind-of-Italian food is surprisingly pretty good, too - get the ricotta gnocchi with truffle cream.
Barrio’s front doors look like the threshold of a temple, and inside, it’s dark, with candles everywhere. So basically, it’s perfect for the very sacred ritual of taco-eating and margarita-drinking with a group of your best friends. If you don’t get a table, the bar is so big that you could also grab seats there. Make sure a round of frozen guava sangrias hits the table.
Jenny and her partner just bought a new construction on the Eastside, and she wants you all to meet her on that side of the bridge for dinner. Luckily, Deru is well worth an evening schlep to Kirkland. It’s rather awkwardly wedged in the middle of a residential neighborhood, but the rustic barn ambience pairs well with excellent wood-fired pizzas, salads, risotto, herbal iced teas, and some wine. The Seattleites among you will find one more reason not to hate the Eastside, and Jenny can sleep easy knowing that her trip to Home Goods for meal prep containers wasn’t the most exciting thing she did this weekend. Everyone wins.
Where Italian food is concerned, San Fermo is the holy grail of girls’ night out dinners. The homemade pasta and inventive small plates are delicious, the whole place looks like one of the quaintest historic homes you’ve ever seen, and it’s in the heart of Ballard, so it’s perfect if you want to hit the bars there afterward.