Grand Central Casino
24 Hour Party People
No, Seattle isn't particularly known for its wealth of all-night happenings, but as our team of astir, alert writers recently discovered, there's more going on out there than you might imagine. So next time the bartender cries, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here," grab this guide and go—all night long.
• After-hours gone wild in Pioneer Square. MORE
• From the diner to the dance floor and back again. MORE
• Driving thru the late-night landscape. MORE
• Pit stops and creepy haunts. MORE
• Going from underground to urban lounge. MORE
• Midnight-movie madness. MORE
• Is there after-hours fun outside of the dance club? MORE
You can toss your hard-earned dollars down the toilet any old time, but there's nothing like losing half your paycheck on blackjack in the fog of 4 a.m.—in Tukwila, no less. Visiting the strip mall–esque, New York City–themed Grand Central Casino (14040 Interurban Ave. S., 206-244-5400) in the wee hours of the morning (the mini- megapolis closes at 6 a.m., and then reopens at 10 a.m.) is about as surreal an experience as one can hope for. Play a couple games of Caribbean stud, stumble into a "lifelike" rendering of an N.Y.C. fireman, then head to the Ripe Tomato Bar and Grill for one of their famous burgers; you'll feel dizzy at the sound of billions of busy slots machines being piped through the speakers. Unless the initiative allowing slots in nontribal casinos passes, there won't be any slot machines anywhere within Grand Central's four casinos anytime soon, but ah, who needs reality? The sun has started to rise on another day, friend. Let it ride.
The adage "Liquor before beer, never fear" got many of us through our college years. It was tough to remember the dos and don'ts of drinking, and one wrong move meant your new best friend was a porcelain bowl. There's a reason there isn't a mnemonic device for combos involving liquor or beer and coffee, though: Coffee is always good. Always. Coffee after beer? Always feeling sincere! Coffee after liquor? Never gonna bicker! Coffee after beer and liquor in a real big hurry not to upchuck? Never quicker than via the 24-hour drive-thru Starbucks (12001 Lake City Way N.E., 206- 364-2490)—with, of course, a designated driver handling the navigation. Not only can you purchase a latte—and a scone—at 4:30 a.m., but you don't even have to get out of your car to get it. What a country! Oh, and by the way, study after study has shown that caffeine doesn't actually do a damn thing in terms of getting you sober. Still, what a country.
Awake at 3:57 a.m. and yearning for that transcendent thrill of sending a large, heavy, three-holed ball down a gleaming alley? You're in luck—and quite lucky to live in a city that can support an always-open bowling alley. Actually, we're unsure how our mostly sleepy city sustains Sunset Bowl (1420 N.W. Market St., 206-782-7310), but we're not going to tempt fate by asking any direct questions. Let's just focus on the facts: around-the-clock lanes, around-the-clock molded plastic benches, around-the-clock pull-tab machines, around-the-clock funny shoes with your size in a circle on the back, and the around-the-clock funny smell to go with them. Around-the-clock fun.
It's 1:55 a.m. on a Saturday night, and no one at Galerias (611 Broadway Ave. E., 206-322-5757) is the least bit aware that, all over town, they're shoving people out doors and into the street. Come 2 a.m., on the dot, the bar closes up shop, but the dancing keeps on going. As a Latin dance hit pulses through the speakers, a man and woman in the middle of the floor mouth the Spanish lyrics to each other and, with his hand placed on the small of her back, she arches backward and slides upward as he strikes a lionhearted, triumphant pose. She snaps the fabric of her black skirt and stomps and twirls in time with the beat. A handsome gay couple to their left pause to kiss, and then one of the men takes off his shirt. Yeah, that's right—it's getting hot in here.