The Smith Tower opened in Seattle July 4 in 1914 to fanfare and thousands of people eager to ride the ornate Otis elevator (still in use today) up to the 35th-floor Observatory for a breathtaking view atop Seattle’s first skyscraper. It was the tallest building west of the Mississippi until 1931 and until the Space Needle was erected and became the tallest on the West Coast.
More than 100 years later, the surrounding buildings may have gotten taller, but the Smith Tower remains a beautifully preserved piece of regional history as well as one of the coolest hidden-gem cocktail lounges with that same 35th-floor view.
In honor of its birthday month as well as a celebration of the season, Smith Tower’s Observatory Bar has released a new summer craft cocktail menu.
Along with drinks mixed with its in-house barrel-aged liquors, the bar’s new seasonal cocktails include the Citrus Garden made with rum, amaro, lemon juice, and simple syrup with a rinse of absinthe to prepare the glass with a herbaceous hint of licorice; or go totally tropical with the Upsy Daisy with coconut-flavored rum and simple syrup, fresh pineapple, and lime juice, rimmed with a spicy cayenne and cinnamon salt.
The Observatory Bar has a happy hour from 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays, with daily cocktail specials ($10); $2 off beer, wine, and well drinks; and a special bento box for two ($12). With the summer weather ideal for a patio cocktail hour, make it a weeknight outing in the city at the top of the (almost) tallest Seattle building, surrounded by history and breathtaking views.
The access to the Observatory requires a ticket ($16 on weekdays/$19 weekends). The self-guided museum exhibit remains temporarily suspended, but guests can still ride the famous Otis elevator to access the 35th floor. Tickets are purchased at the tower’s lobby; ring the doorbell to the left of the large golden doors to gain entry. On weekdays, the ticket price has a 20 percent discount with a valid Washington ID. Further details on tickets and health-related information are online.