It’s hard to want to be anywhere else but Seattle in summer. Mild, beautiful weather, long days and water in every direction provide abundant opportunity to relax outdoors without overheating, while the rest of the country languishes in high temperatures and humidity.
But then, some summers we really swelter, and those who have become acclimated to more temperate weather are miserable. No amount of water is enough and the lack of air conditioning in many buildings becomes a major liability. This is one of those summers.
While you wait for the sun to set and the air to (eventually) cool in your home, consider kicking back with a frozen drink at bars around town. We have picked out 9 restaurants and bars with frozen boozy options. There’s something for every palate, and we start with three on Capitol Hill and hit other neighborhoods before circling back.
The Italian-influenced bistro Artusi sits on the corner of 14th and Pine in Capitol Hill and is known for a range of small-plate options, enjoyed by casual and formal diners alike. It also has the most sophisticated frozen drink options in town. Think of them as craft cocktail slushies, with ingredients frequently including apéritifs that make for truly refreshing adult bevvies, to be enjoyed in the swank interior or on the streetside patio.
Like all of the bars owned and run by Linda Derschang, Bait Shop on the north end of Broadway has become another Capitol Hill favorite watering hole, due in part to its popular frozen drink options. The classic, rum-based Painkiller so beloved in the British Virgin Islands is cooler than ever in slushy form and a permanent part of the Bait Shop menu. Other flavors come and go, too, so repeat visits may be called for.
Also on Broadway, Nacho Borracho is popular with late night diners craving casual Tex-Mex food (including popular drunk food, tachos—tater tots heaped with nacho toppings). Again, the frozen drinks are the main draw for many guests. The passion fruit margaritas, frozen moscow mules with pink guava, and frozen avocado margaritas all come strong, but the flavors mask the cheap tequila enough that you will definitely want to pace yourself when drinking one, or else you may end up with worse than brain-freeze.
Tom Douglas’ Japanese-inspired Tanaka-San serves pan-Asian comfort food for lunch and dinner…making it a good bet for all you day-drinkers. True to the restaurant’s theme, the base liquor is sake. The original keeps it simple, while the ruby red adds a float of Aperol and Giffard Pamplemousse, and the Kircumber is especially refreshing with Crème de Cassis and cucumber. Kanpai!
Sangria meets slushie. Amazing! Come try it. pic.twitter.com/mkBOpe7Ojl
— TanakaSan (@HEYTanakaSan) July 19, 2014
This Belltown institution has a Coney Island theme, with arcade games and divey decor. It’s small patio is frequently crowded with bohemians and rockabilly types day and night. It’s limited kitchen offers a few hot dog options, but the real attraction is the full bar and drink specials, which include boozy slushies. After a casual, hot day checking out the waterfront and downtown, it’s a good place to relax that isn’t sleepy.
Brave Horse Tavern is one of two Tom Douglas restaurants on Terry Ave in South Lake Union. It’s a relaxed, shared seating environment (21+ only) with upscale bar bites. The pretzels and dipping sauces are the specialite de la maison, and on the drink menu there are a couple slushy options, including a frozen Moscow Mule. Bonus round: They also offer jello shots in three flavors: blue hawaii, strawberry lychee margarita and root beer float.
Fremont has plenty of options for beer drinkers, but cocktails are a little more limited. After a walk by the canal, if you want a quirky spot for dinner (or later) and cold booze, Red Star is a great option, right on 36th street. The margarita slushies come in a range of fruity flavors: lime, mango, peach, strawberry, raspberry and pomegranate. (There are also plenty of craftier versions on the rocks.)
Hotel Albatross is a recent newcomer to the Market Street strip in Ballard. The food is an eclectic mix of Tex-Mex and Asian, complemented by Tiki-bar beverages. (This includes the massive Volcano Bowl, which comes with a flaming centerpieces and is meant to be shared by 4-6 drinkers.) The bar’s frozen specialty, however, is the Missionary Downfall, which blends rum, peach schnapps, lime and pineapple juice, and a bunch of fresh mint into a sweet, refreshing, green slush to get you sloshed.
This 24-hour diner in the heart of Capitol Hill isn’t making slushies, but they do make milkshakes (chocolate, vanilla and strawberry) which you can have spiked with your favorite tipple for a more decadent frozen treat. Kahlua with vanilla? Whiskey with chocolate? Grand marnier with strawberry? Choose your own adventure!
Do you have other favorite frozen drinks in town? Share them below.