Typically, when a bar is loud, that’s a good thing. But sometimes you just need a place where you can sit and talk to someone without having to scream. That’s what these bars are for. All of these spots tend to stay pretty quiet, and they’re perfect for when you need to discuss things like your work life, your current relationship, or your various Felicity conspiracy theories.
Mr. Darcy’s is a dark little cocktail spot with a lot of seating arrangements that make it pretty versatile for different kinds of conversations (we would probably break up with someone on the vintage sofas, for instance). The drinks here are incredible - especially the passionfruit “Love” cocktail topped with foam made from chickpeas instead of egg whites. But if you really are breaking up with someone here, maybe don’t order the one thing on the menu called “Love.”
You might recognize this bar as that place next to Rock Box, the rowdy karaoke spot where you can openly laugh at the people butchering “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It) in the front window.” While its neighbor is a glorified fraternity party, Cure is a calm cocktail spot with maybe only a dozen seats inside, and it’s a cozy spot to start or end a night out. Drinks range from classic palomas and gin rickeys to mint martinis and flutes of rose with cotton candy on top. Also, a big charcuterie board is a must.
The Sexton is a folk album personified as a bar. It’s OK if your knowledge of folk goes as far as approximately one and a half Bob Dylan songs - we won’t judge. But even if that’s the case, you’ll probably still appreciate that the counter is made of cassette tapes. Grab a table here when you need to catch up with someone you haven’t seen for a while over spicy margaritas or stone fruit juleps.
If you’re planning a trip to Paris, you could save a lot of money by cancelling it and going to Le Caviste instead. It’s a candle-lit wine bar filled with wine barrels and the menu is written entirely in French. Order some meats and cheeses and get into deep conversation over some really good chevre and a glass of champagne.
Left Bank is another wine bar, but aside from the low noise level, it couldn’t be more different than Le Caviste. It’s kind of like what would happen if Jack Black’s character from School Of Rock opened a chill wine hangout - there are vinyl records playing in the background, wines that are equally as inexpensive as they are interesting, and you can bring in your own food (we highly suggest taking out a pizza from South Town Pie across the street).
Bar Vacilando is typically pretty empty. This works to your advantage when you actually want to have a conversation, and when you’d rather not wait 20 minutes for a gimlet. The cocktails are very good (get the Honey Badger) and priced reasonably. We also recommend the hidden back patio that looks like some kind of “desert chic” photoshoot just waiting to happen.
Stampede Cocktail Club is like a cross between a Victorian estate and a well-decorated museum. Sit at the bar among the chandeliers and ornate furniture, (where your conversation might even include the friendly bartender), or grab a private table in the adjoining room decorated with floral wallpaper and a “taxidermy” T-rex head. All of the drinks here are fantastic, from the gin Old Fashioned to the fresh blueberry mule.
On the weekends, Pike/Pine is usually overrun with a zombie apocalypse of twenty-somethings looking for well vodka sodas. Bar Melusine, a calm oyster bar with a surplus of delicious cocktails and the color seafoam, is your escape. Consider it as a safe house from the people looking to have wild Friday nights, and also your place to grab drinks made with things like pear and walnut liqueur. They have a great burger, too.
We like coming to The Dray during the day with our laptop to get work done with an espresso or three (this guide had to be written somewhere, after all). But this little treehouse-type spot also is great later in the day or night when you want to drink a couple of beers.
Slow Boat Tavern doesn’t get a ton of foot traffic, but it’s still one of our favorite spots to grab a drink. It’s a quiet little beer bar with peanut shells all over the floor, dollar bills thumb-tacked to the ceiling, and a sign that says, “f*ck yelp.” Come here to catch up with friends or have a (very) low-key date over peanuts and pints of Belgian sours.
Pike Place is kind of a crowded mess, but Jarrbar is a little cocktail bar removed from all of the craziness. It reminds us of a galley-style kitchen in a studio apartment, but we can’t think of anywhere else we’d rather drink a gin fizz alongside some jamon Iberico and crackers. We also really like the smoked salmon rilettes.