Known more for prostitutes and drug dealers than for erudite parley at classy bars, Pioneer Square's after-dark reputation precedes it. The truth is that Seattle's most notorious nightlife strip has a bit of fun for everyone, even if it does get noticed more for the ugly than for the good and the bad.
Check out the Nightlife in your neighborhood.
A Nightlife Worth Living
Airport Way South
Ballard Avenue N.W.
Fremont Ave. and 36th St.
Second & Bell
Around Occidental Park
There's plenty of awkward hip-gyrating at traditional clubs like Trinity (111 Yesler Way, 206-447-4140), the Last Supper Club (124 S. Washington St., 206-748-9975), and Tiki Bob's (166 S. King St., 206-382-8454), which have the biggest share of Pioneer Square's patronage because they appeal to swarms of newly emancipated singles and college students thirsting for booze and sex. For the more rugged palate, there's the newly refurbished Merchant's Cafe (109 Yesler Way, 206-624-1515) and the Central Saloon (207 First Ave. S., 206-622-0209), which boast the titles of Seattle's oldest restaurant and bar, respectively. New Orleans Creole Restaurant (114 First Ave. S., 206-622-2563) serves up spice with jazz, swing, cocktails, and down-home cooking. And, of course, bar-dancing, bull-riding ranch hands will love the Western shtick at Cowgirls Inc. (421 First Ave. S., 206-340-0777).
Bear in Mind...
Who you're likely to encounter: A mix of college students spending their parents' money and a few New Age dot-commers spending their investment capital.
Average patron, female: Underclothed and unavailable.
Where to soak up the booze: For cheap eats, try Taco del Mar (90 Yesler Way, 206-467-5940) or snag a hot dog from one of the stands at First Avenue South and Occidental Avenue South. For late-night Italian, visit Trattoria Mitchelli (84 Yesler Way, 206-623-3883).
2:30 a.m. stock tip from a blinged-out member of the pimperatti: Stick to essentials like toilet paper and toothpaste.
Heartening sight: A neighborhood resident and business owner taking the new captain of the Seattle Police Department's West Precinct to meet club owners at 1 a.m.
Where to go after 2 a.m.: Trinity and Tiki Bob's keep dancing till 3.
Overheard in the bathroom: "I'm the mother of a 3-year-old. Should I be wearing this?"
Survival tip: Have the presence of mind to not stumble like a drunken jerk through the sauced crowds at closing time and you'll probably avoid any unsavory souvenirs.