Al’s Tavern

While Al’s has a killer jukebox and plenty of hipsters, the regulars still rule the roost.

Two of Seattle's busiest recording studios, Jupiter and Avast!, are right down the street from Al's Tavern, a geographical convenience that partially explains why the place usually has a handful of musicians milling about the bar nursing schooners of Rainier (which cost just a quarter whenever a hometown team hits a home run or scores a touchdown) or huddled over the vintage Ms. Pac-Man tabletop game (as members of Schoolyard Heroes, Siberian, and the Cops are on the night I'm there). The jukebox is a boon for music fans as well, with selections ranging from McLusky to Yo La Tengo, plus a decent sprinkling of lounge crooners like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Shooting pool or finding fellowship with the unpretentious crowd are the most appealing items on the menu, but you can also order a serviceable two-topping pizza and a pitcher for $14 or a Husky dog for $1.50. Beyond the rockers, it's comforting to know that Al's remains first and foremost a blue-collar, neighborhood watering hole with a loyal cache of regulars who appreciate the fact that the mural of Shilshole shows the establishment's hometown roots (the doors first opened back in the '40s). That vibe is most evident during happy hour, from 5–7 p.m., when 50 cents is knocked off all well drinks and beer. Loyalty has even more rewards: Clientele who wear their Al's T-shirts on Saturday are treated to half-priced bottles of Rainier all night long. 2303 N. 45th St., 545-9959. WALLINGFORD

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