A Beer Lovers Guide to Holiday Shopping Survival

Hey guys, want to know a secret about women? Something that most men might not know? Not all women like to shop.  Shocking, I know.  But I know that to be true because I’m one of the women who would rather do anything but wake up early for 4 a.m. doorbusters, circle the parking lots, scavenge through racks or wait in line to pay. Sure, occasionally I get a whim to browse at U. Village, but it’s usually on an off day, not the middle of the holidays.

In our consumerist society it’s hard to escape the crush of holiday shopping, even if you get an early start, and shop mid-week from a strict list. Shopping online is an option, but if you must go to the mall, is there anything to make it more bearable?  Yes, the answer is — Beer.  Diving into a pub for a cool beer between fighting off throngs of recreational shoppers in crowded stores makes the whole experience so much more agreeable. So much more likely to finish your shopping and maybe even bring some holiday spirit to the process.

The trick? Plan ahead and shop where the beer is.

University Village

Gifts for them: Apple, books, boutique clothing, jewelry, shoes, housewares, Eddie Bauer, kids toys and furnishings.
Beer for you: RAM U. Village  is in the shopping center so you won’t have to repark your car.

Downtown Seattle

Gifts for them:  housewares, art, jewelry, high-end boutique clothing, department-store clothing or “Made in Washington” gifts from the Pike Place Market.
Beer for you: Taphouse Bar and Grill, Rock Bottom Seattle, Buckleys in Belltown.

Bellevue Square

Gifts for them: Microsoft Kinect, anything and everything for label-conscious fashionistas.
Beer for you: Rock Bottom Bellevue, Pumphouse (not downtown, but worth a short drive if you’re in for a long shopping session).


Gifts for them: practical stuff, with everything from Nordstrom to Target within the mall or a couple blocks from the mall.
Beer for you: RAM Northgate.

Kitsap Mall

Gifts for them: another practical place to shop for practical people, it’s the biggest mall on the peninsula.
Beer for you: Silver City Brewery, Hale’s Alehouse.

Shopping (and Drinking) Local

As an alternative, consider skipping the mall for shopping at locally owned neighborhood boutiques and stores. The experience will likely be less crowded, you may find a more unique gift, and you’ll be doing a local shop owner good. And there’s usually even better beer to be found. Neighborhoods with great boutique shopping paired with good locally-owned pubs include:

West Seattle Junction

Gifts for them: records, paper goods, crafts, jewelry, art, womens clothing, housewares.
Beer for you: Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub.


Gifts for them: art, antiques, records, clothing, custom cosmetics, chocolates.
Beer for you: Brouwer’s, Fremont Brewing.


Gifts for them: outdoor wear, art, housewares, boutique clothing, shoes, records.
Beer for you: The Noble Fir, Maritime Jolly Roger Taproom.

Queen Anne

Gifts for them: mens and womens boutique clothing, housewares, art, jewelry.
Beer for you: Hilltop Ale House.

U. District

Gifts for them: youthful clothing and accessories, Husky merchandise, books.
Beer for you: Big Time Brewery and Alehouse.


Gifts for them:  antiques, art, toys, boutique clothing.
Beer for you: Naked City, Pillager’s Pub, 74th Street Alehouse.


Gifts for them: Scandinavian products (great for Grandma).
Beer for you: Tizley’s Europub.

Downtown Tacoma and 6th Avenue

Gifts for them: antiques, museum shop, art, vintage clothing.
Beer for you:  Downtown – The Swiss, Harmon; 6th Avenue –  Red Hot, Parkway.

Winslow (walk on the ferry from Downtown Seattle)

Gifts for them: boutique clothing, wine, housewares, custom cosmetics.
Beer for you: Harbour Public House.

Why not choose your shopping destination based on where you can stop for a refreshment?  If you have other favorite beery ideas for escaping the holiday shopping crush, share your secret in comments.


  1. Of course, downtown Seattle also offers Pike, and Collins Pub.

    And, for those shopping downtown Redmond, let’s shout out for Malt & Vine, or a short drive over to the Raven.

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