This is the Seattle Beer News list of the Top 10 Beer Spots in Seattle. Many great bars, pubs, and breweries won’t make this list; that doesn’t mean they aren’t outstanding places. Check out the previous post for #6.
#5 Beer Spot in Seattle: Collins Pub
As we get into the top 5 of the Seattle Beer News list of Top 10 Beer Spots, we are entering truly special territory. The five top places on the list are all outstanding, in my opinion, and any of the four places not getting my vote as the #1 spot aren’t that far from the top. Collins Pub is located just on the outskirts of Pioneer Square in an area that isn’t exactly glamorous and isn’t bustling with potential customers every night of the year. But, they give beer drinkers plenty of reasons to visit.
The Beer: They do about as good of a job of rotating craft beers and imports here as anywhere else in town. The bar probably has around 20 t0 25 taps, but just about all of them rotate through various styles from breweries all over the map. Owner Seth Howard loves his beers hoppy, sour, or big (high ABV), and that preference often comes through in the tap list. It’s not uncommon to sit down at the bar and find five or more outstanding IPAs that you’ll have to choose from, or you could just have one of each. Collins Pub receives most special release beers being distributed to the Seattle market, and they rarely wait for a special occasion to put those on; they’ll hit the taps pretty quickly.
Collins Pub does also host some special events, like their REAL Strong Ale Festival, which should be coming up sometime soon. More importantly, they always have something interesting on tap, and more often than not they are pouring something I have never tried before. When you are in downtown Seattle, there is no better place for a well-thought-out tap list. Some places may have more taps, but Collins does more with what they have.
The Food: In addition to the beer, one of the reasons I make Collins Pub my most-visited hangout in town is their food. They offer some interesting dishes, while still having a nice selection of basic entrees. Their steak salad is my fallback order. On a visit a while back I had a veggie lasagna that was outstanding. Their burger (with peppered bacon, of course) is one of my favorites. The fried calamari has been perfectly cooked every time I order it. They have a solid cheese plate, and an even better charcuterie plate. Throw in some proteins (usually steak, salmon, lamb, etc…) with intriguing preparations and you’ve got a winner. It’s not as adventurous as, say Quinn’s, but they stay in their comfort zone and do very well.
I’ve also been to several amazing beer dinners at Collins Pub over the years, and my last visit in I remember seeing on their board that they plan on doing dinners with Russian River, Cascade, and someone else soon. I can’t wait for those…
The Atmosphere: The room itself is a beautiful spot. Big windows up front allow plenty of light to stream in. A long bar with a huge mirror and lots of hardwood. The back dining room has plenty of booths and room for groups to put tables together. They also have a small patio on the front sidewalk, making it one of the few places with good beer downtown where I can sit outside.
The vibe itself can definitely vary, depending on when you go. After work it can get crazy for happy hour, but by 8pm most nights the traffic has died down and the place can empty out by 10pm if there is nothing going on at the stadiums. That is one gripe you’ll hear from some people, if the place is empty they will shut and lock the doors well before the posted closing time of 2am. Not sure I blame them for that, but I feel for people showing up wanting some beer at 11pm. Another gripe you’ll hear about and read in Yelp! reviews is of inattentive service. My advice is to always sit in the bar area at Collins Pub, unless you don’t have the option because it is full. Service usually is better at those tables and it is much easier to grab a servers attention from there, if needed.
On game days, this place is just as busy as any other bar in Pioneer Square. Get there early if you want a seat.
Overall: I love this place. It’s no secret that Collins Pub is an advertiser on the site, but I hope no one thinks that has anything to do with me putting them in this ranking. In the five years I have lived in Seattle I have enjoyed more nights at Collins Pub than at any other bar, and I’ve sampled many great beers there along the way.
The Collins Pub
526 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104