The Lava Lounge in the Belltown section of Seattle, WA opened in 1995. Before it was called the Lava Lounge, another bar was in the same space. It was called Hawaii West, and is probably where the Tiki aspect of the bar comes from.
The Lava Lounge isn’t a true Tiki bar; it is mostly a beer place. However, they do offer cocktails and well drinks. One customer pouted that they don’t have slushies, though from their website, that seems to have changed.
The atmosphere of this dive is sort of punk rock. The lighting is dim and there is live music on offer. There is a nautical theme as well as some interesting Tiki items. The mural runs the length of the bar, and behind the bar is a collection of antique Tiki mugs. In fact, the bar is supported on both ends by two tall Tiki statues.
Some have said it was supposed to be a ship with the porthole at the front door. The mural of a Hawaiian Island.
The area of Seattle the bar is located was set to be redeveloped in 2015. A lot of the older establishments were demolished, but the Lava Lounge has remained, along with a few others. Several bloggers have posted that they are “glad to see the nightlife returning.”
The Lava Lounge has been considered a great single’s bar since it opened. While it is considered a little goth and sort of punk rock, it also showcases Reggae, Zydeco and other tropical music. There is a dance floor as well as a patio. Those who want to talk are best off sitting on the patio, as the music tends to be loud.
Some of the famous people who have visited this bar include Kevin Spacey and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains fame. The latter would bring his dog with him and play shuffleboard… by himself. That would have been interesting to see.
As of 2012, the owners of a nearby bar called Bathtub Gin bought the place. They promised not to change anything, and as far as we know, they haven’t changed much. They have added more Tiki drinks to the menu, though.
The draft beer menu offers several appealing sounding brews. One of them isn’t a beer, in and of itself. They have a draft cider on the menu. There are pilsners, stout and porter as well as more recognizable beer names. The prices aren’t bad, either. Regular price is five bucks, both for bottled and draft beer.
There is actually more whiskey and rum types than there are beers, and like the beer it isn’t all name brands. Numerous smaller distilleries are in the list along with name brands like Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker and Seagram’s.
The Lava Lounge might be a fascinating place to visit, but it is definitely not family oriented. For those who need this information, the bar proudly has a rainbow flag.
And as with all things – some must change. Lava Lounge will close December 31st 2021.
Another Belltown history going away. This sucks. “Progress”