7 Unexpectedly Cool Hidden Hangouts


Daniel’s Broiler. Photos by Denise Sakaki

Evening menus
Our mornings and afternoons revolve around a caffeinated break and a snack at Starbucks, but did you know some have special evening menus to help you unwind after a long day? Available at select Starbucks locations, the Starbucks Evenings menu transforms the coffee house into an artisanal wine, beer, and small-plates bar. Swap the espresso with a glass of wine, paired with truffled mac and cheese, an assortment of flatbreads, or charcuterie platters. Multiple locations.

Bar within a bar
Prime 21 Spirits Lounge, Daniel’s Broiler
We’re accustomed to bars within restaurants, but how about a fine-spirit lounge within a bar? Cocktail “Inception!” Nestled off to the side of Daniel’s main bar is a cozy room complete with small tables, leather couches, and an amber-hued backlit bar with top-shelf bourbons and Scotch. What used to be the old cigar bar, Prime 21 is a mini getaway from the busy dining and happy hour crowds, more of a favorite with regulars who know about its speakeasy-like status, where you can peruse a specialty menu featuring classic drinks as well as house-made twists on traditional bourbon and whiskey cocktails. Bellevue.

Paint and sip studio
For those who appreciate art and wine, sign up for a painting session where all the materials — paint, canvas, and wine — are provided. Artistic skills are not required; these group studio sessions have a resident artist who guides the class, and any self-conscious art jitters are quickly relaxed with a glass of vino. A fun event to plan with friends for a holiday outing, or just something to look forward to during the week, it’s a unique experience where everyone gets to take home an original creation. Locations in Kirkland and Seattle.

Cork & tap wine and beer bar
When QFC’s Bellevue flagship store remodeled in the fall of 2014, it included a significant upgrade — a restaurant-style seating area and bar, serving full pours of wine and beer, appropriately named Cork & Tap. Not only is it a place to sample and savor a new wine or beer you may want to add to your collection at home; it makes grocery shopping way more fun. There also are 12 rotating taps for beer growler fill-ups, if you’re looking to bring a special local craft brew to your next party. Bellevue; call for details at 425-455-0870

Dine and play
Mox Boarding House
A gaming geek heaven, Mox is a toy store with beer. Both a retail game store and full-service restaurant, Mox provides the unique opportunity to sample-play board, card, and role-playing games, as well as participate in regular weekly tournament events posted regularly on the website’s events page. The menu ranges from snack-worthy dishes like poutine and nachos, to full-sized burgers and sandwiches. There are also private rooms with names like the Apothecary or the Speakeasy, available for groups to reserve. Bellevue.

Habitant in Nordstrom, Bellevue Square

Habitant in Nordstrom, Bellevue Square

Cocktails and small plates
Habitant in Nordstrom
A Carrie Bradshaw dream come true, it’s cocktails with couture on the second floor of Bellevue Square’s Nordstrom. The only one of its kind, Habitant is a lounge complete with a signature cocktail menu and small-plate dining. Sleek and urban-luxe, it’s a beautifully crafted concept bar that offers a chance to refuel with craft cocktails using top-shelf spirits, house-made syrups and infusions, or a quick, elegant nosh as you contemplate your next purchase. Bellevue.

Wine and beer tastings
PCC Natural Markets
Ever wish you could try before you buy when it comes to purchasing wine or beer at the grocery store? PCC’s commitment to organic products extends to the care provided to customers with weekly wine and beer tastings; they know buying something based on the label doesn’t always pay off! Held Fridays and Saturdays, from 4-6 p.m. at select locations, these informal tastings feature seasonal specials, and give people a chance to ask PCC’s beverage experts all their beer and wine-related questions. Multiple locations, select Fridays and Saturdays.

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