Perfect Summer Boozing

Getting soused in the sun is so much fun.

Drinking indoors when it's hella nice out can be depressing. Granted, there are times when you're too blue to face the outside world, but on balance, libations and rays are meant to mingle.

Hence, when I think of summer in Seattle, I think of two places: Alki Beach and Shilshole. As for the former, unless you're a Harley-straddling Alki Tavern regular, the bar scene on the shores of West Seattle is so insufferably antiseptic that you'd be best served ordering a bacon cheeseburger to go from the sumptuous Pepperdock (2618 Alki Ave. S.W., 206-935-1000) and brown-bagging a 40 on the beach. To be sure, plenty of people sneak hooch down to Golden Gardens in Shilshole, but for those who're more comfortable consuming on the "legal" side of the law, nearby there's that granddaddy of summer deck spots, Ray's Boathouse (6049 Seaview Ave. N.W., 206-789-3770, Major problem: Ray's lovely Olympic view deck has been pimped ad nauseam in just about every publication from here to Tel Aviv, which means it can get obnoxiously crowded and tend toward long waiting lists. How wonderful, then, that Anthony's Homeport (6135 Seaview Ave. N.W., 206-783-0780, boasts a less-packed, equally stunning shoreline patio right next door, replete with 99-cent oysters on the half shell during happy hour and tap handles sure to include nearby Maritime Pacific Brewery's finest ale.

For those who prefer a more active seaside view, Bainbridge Island's Harbour Public House (231 Parfitt Way S.W., Bainbridge Island, 206-842-0969, is but a 20- minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle. Within walking distance from the terminal, on a clear day, you get the moored ships of Eagle Harbor, nine miles of Sound, and the downtown Seattle skyline—all in full view from the pub's ample hardwood deck. And while Magnolia's posh Palisade gets tons of hype for its brilliant Elliott Bay sight lines, frugal romantics can do just as well for a whole lot cheaper one story down at Maggie Bluffs (2601 W. Marina Pl., 206-283-8322), which boasts a full bar despite giving off the appearance of a Coke-only family fish joint. Upstream a bit, downtown Edmonds' workaday Rory's (105 Main St., Edmonds, 425-778-3433) miraculously blends roadhouse scruff with yacht club views.

But there are only so many shoreline seats to be had in this town, which is where inland al fresco areas come into play. Ozzie's (105 W. Mercer St., 206-284-4618) on Lower Queen Anne, whose wacka- doo interior is freakishly reminiscent of Applebee's, boasts a quaint, little-known deck that's actually situated on top of an adjacent nail salon. For buckets of cold Coronitas, hit the sidewalk patio at Luau Polynesian Lounge (2253 N. 56th St., 206-633-5828, ); and if sangria's your bag, you can do far worse than Madame K's (5327 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-783-9710) in Ballard.

Finally, there is simply no finer purveyor of specialty drinks on the planet than little Sambar (425 N.W. Market St., 206-781-4883) in east Ballard, where a handful of tables adorns a tranquil, gravelly garden off Market Street next to Le Gourmand. They have heat lamps here, a cozy accoutrement that more establishments should get hip to on the double. San Diego we're not, y'know.

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