> Barca
Seattle's swank Barca has a separate vodka bar ensconced on the mezzanine, featuring more than 100 vodkas from Scotland to Austria. Flavored vodkas range from the familiar to the esoteric - fig or banana, anyone? - and a chocolate martini, made with local, legendary Dilettante chocolate, is among the top cocktails. "We're trying to challenge people to break away from the usual vodka and tonic," says co-owner Richard Hemsley. The full vodka lineup is displayed behind the bar, including bottles shaped like trumpets, rifles and artillery shells.
- Liza Zimmerman

Barca, 1510 11th Ave., Seattle, WA; 206-325-8263;

> Spur
Spur calls itself a gastropub but actually specializes in small plates paired with classic cocktails. Reflecting the décor, a seamless blend of wild west and techno club, bartender David Nelson fuses the classic and the modern in cocktails like the Broken Spur #2, a reworked Sidecar with Bourbon, Cointreau, lemon juice and amaretto sipped through a sweet citrus foam. Key to Spur's success is its understated ambitions: While dishes like black cod cooked sous-vide with mussels and English peas combine innovation and seasonality, Nelson's Foreigner combines rye with Ramazotti Amaro, Strega and peach bitters; a challenging ingredient list, yet it drinks smooth and easy.
—Jonathan Kauffman

Spur, 113 Blanchard St., Seattle; 206-728-6706,

> Suite 410
Suite 410 takes its cocktails very seriously. Owner Max Borthwick hired mixologist Ryan Magarian from Seattle's Kathy Casey Food Studios to put delicious twists on traditional cocktails, like a quince-mustard Margarita, a pear Sazerac and a Manhattan mixed from añejo tequila, sweet vermouth and bitters garnished with a slice of cured sausage.
- Kristina Shevory

Suite 410, 410 Stewart St., Seattle, WA; 206-624-9911;

> The Bookstore Bar
The Bookstore Bar's walls are lined with, well, books, but also with Scotch-the largest collection of its kind in Seattle. Located within the Alexis Hotel, this clubby room features 70 bottles of the good stuff, ranging from McCarthy's, an Oregon single malt, to Highland Park's 25 Year Old. There are also rotating Scotch flights, which might include a 10 Year Old, a 15 Year Old and a 17 Year Old Bruichladdich, or Glenmorangie's Sherrywood, Madeirawood and Portwood. This fall, the bar plans to add Scotch tastings for large groups and might offer dinners paired with it, too.
- Kristina Shevory

The Bookstore Bar and Cafe, 1007 1st Ave, Seattle, WA; 206-624-3646;

> The Met
The Met, the local nickname for the Metropolitan Grill, has been a downtown steakhouse legend since 1903. Past glass-enclosed cases of dry-aging meat, a fifty-foot black marble bar beckons. It holds a carefully selected list of a dozen Bourbons, reputed to include the city's largest single-batch assortment, from Old Ezra Rare to Booker's. "The nice thing about Bourbons is they have so much flavor and vary so much," says Beverage Manager Daniel Minjares. Most of the Met's guests take their Bourbon in a Maker's Mark Manhattan - Minjares sells upwards of 250 a week at $10.95 each - but Minjares prefers his straight. "A porterhouse or a smoked ribeye goes so well with a nice, caramelized Bourbon," he says.
- Liza B. Zimmerman

Metropolitan Grill, 820 Second Ave., Seattle, WA; 206-624-3287;