No matter where I go, I try to find a local hangout. I’m a greasy spoon connoisseur and have long loved the many dives to be found in Seattle. It’s one of my favorite cities, and I really enjoy the crowd that gathers each year on New Year’s Eve around the Seattle Center to watch fireworks, listen to bands, and enjoy the company of other revelers.
I’m not a big people person, so hanging out in crowds is not my normal behavior. But every once in a while you find a great spot that makes the crowd enjoyable. And that place for me on NYE is The 5 Point Cafe in the shadow of the Space Needle. It’s pure Seattle grunge at its finest. It harkens to the dives of old with tiny bathrooms (no ADA here!), walls covered in stickers, loud music, and snarky comments in its menus. And they mix a killer long island iced tea.
The eclectic crowd is a blast, and the hours fly by with friendly patrons and lots of people watching. And guess what? No cover. While other bars and pubs in the area jack up the rate on New Year’s due to location, location, location, The 5 Point Cafe stays true to its roots. And the best part? Awesome fireworks at midnight.
A few hours before midnight, the cafe turns on the patio heaters and the crowd starts spilling out onto the street. The real rush out begins with the countdown, where all are rewarded with amazing views of the fireworks. This year, it was getting a bit cloudy as midnight came around, and the fireworks created even more smoke. The effect was both eerie and beautiful, and made for a wonderful memory.
For those from out-of-town, there are tons of chain hotels within walking distance, many of which had availability on award nights right up to a few weeks before New Year’s. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Seattle – Downtown, which was a refreshing 15 minute walk from the Seattle Center and just a few blocks away from the monorail that runs from the Seattle Center to the Westlake Center.
What are your favorite destinations and hangouts for New Year’s? While I love Seattle, I’m hoping to try out new and exciting experiences each year.