Smith Tower is a true icon on the Seattle skyline, and in 1914 it became the first skyscraper in the city, and the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. For more than one hundred years, it has remained a cultural icon of the city, offering breathtaking, panoramic views and spectacular architectural beauty. Beautiful from the outside, things get even more impressive if you head up to the top of the building. Travel the original Otis elevator to the 35th floor, and arrive at the Observatory and Bar, where you are surrounded with stunning 360-degree views of Seattle and Puget Sound.
Brooke and Kyle, of The Emerald sales team, recently shared a trip to nearby Smith Tower to share some festive cocktails and show us around as part of our DITL series.
“The cocktails offered at Smith tower include the classic favorites, but the bartenders are craft mixologists. I got to try one of Adam’s (the bartender seen in the video) creations; “Elise’s Old Fashioned.” This is a refreshing take on the original, made with new oak cask finished gin rather than bourbon, and some lime bitters. Delicious, dangerously-easy to drink”, said Kyle.
Brooke also decided to lean towards something refreshing with her choice of a “Martina-Rita” featuring Milagro Silver and lime with a hint of Siete Doba-Yej mezcal to give it that holiday-smokey finish. If you’re really yearning to taste some coal, Smith Tower offers an impressive collection of limited offerings aged in a charred oak barrel.
“The architecture is unique, as are the interior designs bringing in a wave of memories from another century. Gold-barred original Otis elevators are the only way up to the 35th floor 360-degree observation bar. Dubbed “The Chinese Room” as the bar was rumored to be furnished by the last Empress of China as a gift to the owner L.C. Smith, Brooke and I couldn’t stop gazing at the carved teak ceiling.”
Try buzzworthy cocktails like the aptly named Catch the Buzz (Michter’s Small Batch Bourbon, Montenegro, Amaretto, and honey syrup), or the Oaxacan Old-Fashioned (Xicaru Mezcal, Resposado Tequila, and local honey, finished off with chocolate and grapefruit bitters).
Smith Tower says, “You can’t rush art, as they say. That’s why we barrel-age liquors in house to add new layers of flavor and depth to our cocktails. Because if there’s anyone who knows about getting better with age, it’s us.”
Have you heard the latest buzz? The historic Smith Tower is home to a thriving colony of bees, known as an apiary, on its rooftop. Honey harvested from the 22nd floor beehives goes straight into the cocktails served in the Observatory Bar. The Observatory Bar (with some of Seattle’s best panoramic views) has an enticing fall menu that showcases the sweet liquid gold honey in its dishes and cocktails.
Shane James, Director of Food & Beverage for Columbia Hospitality, explains that the Smith Tower apiary began as a collaboration between the building’s property management company and the Observatory & Bar team. The project is a delicious teaching tool for guests. James said, “Honey-inspired additions to the fall menu will help bring awareness to the essential role bees play in our ecosystem.” There’s a viewing area in the lookout lounge so building tenants and special event guests can get up-close peeks of these essential pollinators as they come and go.
“The Smith Tower is a must visit. The history and the architecture are absolutely incredible. The bar upstairs gives you an amazing 360 view of Seattle and a wonderful view of Mr. Rainier. Service is excellent.” – Sandy A., Yelp
The views are best enjoyed at the outside and breezy Observatory deck, while drinks and bites are served at the speakeasy-style and prohibition-inspired interior bar. The rooftop menu includes in-house barrel-aged liquors for added smoothness and character (try the Old Fashioned Flight that includes a 1 oz pour of each of the old fashioneds), classics and Smith Tower signature cocktails like the Dullahan (Jameson Black Barrel Irish whiskey, Borghetti coffee liqueur, chocolate bitters) and Seattle Freeze (Rainier Gin, blueberry liqueur, cranberry simple and lemon), craft brews and a locally inspired selection of shareable plates.
“Amazing cocktails, beautiful view, and fantastic staff. Highly recommend the Rum Combra and Last Word cocktails if you fancy rum and gin-based cocktails!” – Erin H., Yelp
“Smith Tower isn’t just a bar, it’s a whole experience. From the moment you arrive you’re taken back several decades. As far as the ambiance, it feels like a rooftop speakeasy from the Gatsby era. I got an espresso martini but next time I’m definitely going to try their Old Fashioned sampler. Cheers!” – Emily H., Yelp
Keep it classy all year long with a Rum Runner Membership Card and enjoy swanky perks all year long. Purchasing this membership includes unlimited access to the Observatory, Legends of Smith Tower Exhibits, and Bar year-round (plus one complimentary guest per visit, per card), 20% off all gifts, souvenirs, food and beverages, and a celebratory cocktail of your choice during your birthday month.
The Emerald enjoys a location in downtown Seattle, steps from iconic Pike Place Market and reimagined waterfront. Visit Brooke and Kyle this season to learn more about Seattle’s defining address at Second and Stewart and to tour the model residences. Now 70% sold with studio prices starting from $399,000 plus year-end specials, don’t miss this opportunity to call The Emerald home.