A Local’s Guide to Pike Place Market After Dark

Yes, it’s open late 🌝

Lower floor of Pike Place Market

📸: Jupiter Images

Daytimes are what Pike Place Market is known for—it’s when the fish fly, farmers vend, and tourists mill. By the measly hour of 5 pm, the stalls shutter and the shops in the market’s depths get ready to close. But in the evening, a whole other market comes alive, one with drinks, dancing, and general revelry.

A second wave of businesses, mostly restaurants and bars, closes around 8 pm. But some of them stay open for the night owls, and each spot has at least a couple of nights when they’re open until 9 pm or later. Some don’t even open until 5. Unless you’re trying to buy beaded jewelry or an apple or something, there’s something for everybody: Ghosts! Soda bars! Cabaret performances! Bookish drinking! Forgotten screenplays! Bottle service! Coffee that’s on fire!

All of these places are officially part of the market, but honorable mention goes to the world-renowned cocktailiers at Zig Zag Cafe and the giant glass patio at Moroccan restaurant Shama, both located on the Pike Street Hillclimb just behind the market.

Alibi Room

85 Pike St, Seattle

The Alibi Room can be hard to stumble upon—its entrance is within the splash zone of the Gum Wall, which, in addition to being a little bit away from the action, many of us generally avoid looking at—but it’s a Pike Place classic, with an Old Seattle brick-and-lumber look. 

This spot opened in 1995 as a coffee and wine bar for Seattle’s film community, backed by local-turned-national treasure Tom Skeritt, who himself participated in regular film script readings. While it’s changed with the times, including many a Y2K-era DJ night, there’s still this genuine grungy element that’s harder and harder to come across, even during the after-work happy hour environment in the early evenings. The bathroom, for example, is a little creepy and down a treacherous set of concrete steps, which is as much of an accessibility note as a scene-setting one. The bookshelves lining the main dining area still contain some local screenplays collected during its days as a film community haunt.

These days, they have an extensive food menu centered around higher-end pizza, which is pretty decent—but it’s just as easy to pop by for a whole bunch of drinks, including fancy wines and $5 Rainier tallboys, and cocktails.

Open 4 pm to midnight Monday through Wednesday and 11:30 am to 1 am Thursday through Sunday.

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Radiator Whiskey

94 Pike St, Seattle

Just like it says on the label, Radiator Whiskey is a whiskey bar with a long, bourbon-heavy spirit list, barrel-dominant decor, and an extremely booze-forward cocktail list with barrel-aged classic whiskey cocktails like manhattans and boulevardiers. Located on the upper floor of the Corner Market, it’s also a solid locale for First Avenue people-watching.

Drinks are the main draw here, but they also have a very serious food menu full of meat-dominant dishes, including brisket and pork shank. If you order in advance, you can get a smoked pig head or the “beast feast,” which adds many other meats to said pig head. Even the tots come with a presumably meaty gravy by default.

While the vibe could easily descend into out-of-control masculinity—the emphasis here is on WHISKEY and MEAT, which, while not inherently masculine, could attract a more obnoxious brand of millennial axe-thrower whose personality is Just Bacon—it’s actually extremely chill in here. I am an anxious vegetarian and I enjoyed myself. The local section of the booze list is a nice touch, too.

Open 4 pm to 11:55 pm Tuesday through Friday, 4 pm to 10 pm on Saturday, and closed Sunday and Monday.

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Rachel’s Ginger Beer

1530 Post Alley, Seattle

In case you were wondering, yes, there exists an artisanal soda bar with no children allowed. Fitting with the 21+ age limit, Rachel’s Ginger Beer’s flagship location is heavy on the mules and other ginger beer cocktails like the dark & stormy, and you can even build your own mule with your spirit of choice if you’re not into vodka—or whiskey, in the case of the Montana Mule, a drink I first fell in love with at the bar Montana in Capitol Hill, also founded by gone-too-soon beloved community staple Rachel Marshall. They even have frozen cocktails to keep it extra tropical.

But the draw here isn’t just alcohol. You can access the full menu of flavors you might not find at your local bougie grocery store, including an exclusive blueberry flavor and rotating seasonals. Get a cup of soft serve ice cream with it, or make it a float, or tie it all together by making it a boozy float. The world is your ginger oyster.

While this place keeps pretty chaste weekday hours, you can party soft until 9 pm on weekends.

Open 10 am to 8 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10 am to 9 pm on Friday and Saturday.

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El Borracho

1521 1st Ave, Seattle

This spot’s name translates to “the drunk,” and, fittingly, they have margaritas for as little as $6. That’s for the “pink cheapo”—they have more interesting ones for $12—but after the first couple, do you really notice a difference? They have a patio right along First Avenue perfect for people-watching, too. In case you’ve got babies with you, it’s all-ages until 5 pm.

Its previously carnivorous menu went entirely plant-based in 2021, includes proteins like cochnitas with shredded orange-achiote jackfruit, Al Pastor with locally-made tofu, and adobo seitan steak. Those looking to get a little more meat-subby can go straight for some Impossible meat or soyrizo, though.

Open noon to 10 pm Monday through Thursday, noon to 11 pm on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 pm on Sunday.

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White Horse Tavern

1908 Post Alley, Seattle

This is, hands-down, the chillest place in the Market. Sure, it’s great for a late-night drink, but it feels even more refreshing to duck inside away from the lingering early-evening crowds. It’s dim, but with airy clerestory windows for sunlight and air. The seating is soft and arranged in living-room-like clusters. Service is fast and friendly. They’re enough of a dive that they, until startlingly recently, only took cash, but their shelves are full of antiquated books to delight quieter crowds. They’re modeled after a gentle neighborhood English pub and can serve you up a decently priced glass of whiskey or a Pimm’s cup. The menu is pretty small, but sometimes includes cask beers, which are lukewarm, so do not be alarmed!

Open 5 pm to 2 am Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday.


1916 Post Alley, Seattle

Multiple spots in Pike Place Market claim to be at least a little bit haunted—the Alibi Room, for example, has a ghost named Frank—but Kells, located in Post Alley, is like, ghost-tourism haunted. The whole building used to be a mortuary during a time of great local pestilence, and Kells is in the basement of that mortuary, which, according to a member of the family that owns it, used to be the embalming room. (It’s also a beautiful Beaux Arts-style building designed by renowned local architect John Graham, but does that really hold a candle to piles of anonymous diphtheria victims?)

It’s hard to talk about this place without mentioning the ghosts, but in a world that runs green with Saint Patrick’s Day beer, this Irish pub is the real deal. It’s run by a family from Belfast (the patriarch, who opened the bar in 1983, eventually returned to Ireland). The menu is full of corned beef, soda bread, pasties (the food, not the accessory, unless you get really creative), and sausage rolls, and describes a hot dog as a “potato farl wrapped banger.” Their produce is sourced from the family farm in Oregon. It’s worth visiting, even if ghosts aren’t your thing.

Open 11:30 am to midnight on Monday and Tuesday, 11:30 am to 2 am Wednesday through Saturday, and 11:30 am to 1 am on Sunday—unless there are soccer reasons to be open earlier.

The Can Can Cabaret and the Dressing Room Bistro and Bar

1530 1/2 Post Alley, Seattle

The Can Can Cabaret is an intimate, 120-seat dinner theater, serving up Pacific Northwest takes on French cuisine and craft cocktails as visitors watch performances that integrate burlesque, modern dance, music, comedy, and narrative, all with stunning costumes and creative setpieces. Shows, which are often tailored to the season, switch up several times every year and sometimes sell out days in advance. Showtimes vary, but performances often start at 9:45 pm or even later, providing something to do even long after many evening Pike Place haunts have closed. Admission’s not cheap—it’s around 50 bucks a pop for a matinee—but it does support a small arts venue with a rare in-house creative team.

If you’re not into committing to a whole show, The Dressing Room Bistro and Bar is open from brunchtime to closing time (unspecified, but Yelp says 10 pm), and has an outdoor patio.

Open Wednesday through Sunday. Bistro opens 9:30 am until 10 pm. Cabaret hours vary based on showtime.

El Callejon Restobar

1914 Post Alley, Seattle

If you’re looking to get lively, El Callejon serves Peruvian food until 9 pm and beats until close with a weekly lineup of DJ nights. They opened in 2021—what a time to open both a restaurant and a dance venue—so they’re relative newcomers to Post Alley. I’m pretty sure they’re the only place that offers bottle service, though.

Open 4 pm to 2 am Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and 4 pm to 9 pm on Thursdays.

The Pink Door

1919 Post Alley, Seattle

For a slightly different take on dinner with entertainment, The Pink Door serves up Italian food with ongoing entertainment throughout the night rather than beginning-to-end shows like the Can Can. The vibe here is a little more circus-y, focusing on aerial performances and jazz ensembles—some regular features, some just booked for the night. On Thursdays, they have a tarot reader going around doing tableside readings. True to its name, the entrance is through an abandoned-looking pink door in Post Alley, but inside, it’s lined with windows and Elliott Bay views.

Il Bistro

93 Pike St A, Seattle

Il Bistro is a renowned fancy-schmancy Italian restaurant that’s equal parts romantic and expensive, but not above a pepperoni pizza. I have never been here for dinner, though, because it’s also a great cocktail bar with a deep selection of seasonal cocktails and a reputation for mastering the classics. It’s especially known for its Spanish coffee, a sweet coffee drink that’s set aflame, which both looks really cool and caramelizes the sugar rim. The kitchen closes at 10 pm, but the bar’s open until rage-o’clock and has two happy hours a day, one from 5 pm to 6 pm and another one late at night. It’s kind of a pricey place to spend the entire evening, but they make a very delicious nightcap.

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Sarah Anne Lloyd

Sarah Anne Lloyd is a writer and lifelong Seattleite whose work has appeared in Seattle Met, The Stranger, Seattle Weekly, KNKX, and others. She lives on the outskirts of West Seattle with her partner, an absolutely perfect dog, and six terrifying chickens. Follow her on Twitter at @sarah

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