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Seattle Bookstore and Diner

Melbourne, Australia
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Seattle Bookstore and Diner

Hi all,

My girlfriend and I are heading to Seattle next month and she has a request. To visit a great bookstore that she can spend 1-2 hours in browsing and to visit a quintessential american diner that you see in the movies, booths down one side and waitresses wearing aprons with pots of coffee etc (the experience is the key here not the food, so we don't really care if the food is rubbish).

I was thinking of the Elliot Bay book store and the lost lake cafe. Are those appropriate choices? Can anyone suggest anything else?

Thanks in advance :)

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Seattle
Seattle
Washington
8 replies to this topic
Snoqualmie...
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1. Re: Seattle Bookstore and Diner

Hi Pontiff007,

You are spot on with the choice of Elliot Bay Books. It would be easy to spend an hour or two there without a problem. However, If you are staying in the Pacific Northwest for more than a few days, I'd actually recommend a trip down to Portland and go to Powell's in downtown Portland. It's an out of body experience for the bibliophile. I could spend all day there. You could see Mt. St. Helens or Mt. Rainier National Park on the way down.

Now the issue of the quintessential American diner is a bit harder to pin down. Those are seen more on the east coast. I've never been to Lost Lake Cafe, so I am hoping other folks will chime in! I know you are after the experience and not the quality of the food - so I am not sure what I can do to help (Sorry!)

Edited: 07 June 2018, 13:05
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Mount St. Helens
Mount St. Helens
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2. Re: Seattle Bookstore and Diner

Definitely Elliott Bay books. As noted above, the diner question is a good one, but it's hard. Diners are a very nostalgic thing for Americans, too, and you don't see as many here. But I think Vera's in Ballard would be a very good choice. Plus, Ballard is an interesting neighborhood you might want to go to anyway. Salmon Bay Café and Varsity Inn are also possibilities. All three of these are very much diners in the modern Seattle sense of the word, but they probably aren't going to look exactly like you see in the movies, because, well, it's the movies…

Planet Java in Pioneer Square is a newer place that's made an effort to look like a 1950s diner.

Note that today's diners might not have all the details your girlfriend is thinking about, which like I implied above, kind of sound out of the 50s or out of the movies. I'm not sure anyone wears uniforms anymore for instance.

Edited: 07 June 2018, 19:36
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Hotel Ballard
Hotel Ballard
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3. Re: Seattle Bookstore and Diner

Add the Bay Café at Fisherman's Terminal.

Seattle, Wa
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4. Re: Seattle Bookstore and Diner

One more--Luna Park.

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5. Re: Seattle Bookstore and Diner

Wow... Thank you so much for the tips everyone...

Yeah I thought that the issue would be in relation to the diner as the movies are.... as you say... the movies. I'll get onto google and work them in. The book store is the more important of the two anyway so the fact that I've nailed that down is a good start. Is there another one in the vicinity that would be worth a checkout after work? This would be for a Saturday night, i should have probably said that first, so any that are open late night would be good (as Elliot bay is)

seattle
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6. Re: Seattle Bookstore and Diner

what about the Mecca Café near the Space Needle? its sort of dinerish….

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Space Needle
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7. Re: Seattle Bookstore and Diner

The closest to the decor of the 50’s style diner that comes to mind here in this region: Johnny Rockets. It’s a chain - and is burger focused (plenty of non burger options). Uniforms ... shiny metal trim and plenty of white & red decor ... a snippet of bygone Americana. This Johnny Rockets is in the Pacific Place Mall downtown.

Luna Park, Planet Java, Skillet, Geraldine’s Counter ... all are diner inspired. But they all lack the atmosphere you seem to be seeking.

If willing to travel a bit - there’s the Triple X near Issaquah. It’s one of two remaining restaurants left from a great national chain of diners (the other is in West Lafayette, IN - and is MUCH better). Triple X was a root beer - and was the uniting feature of the diners. The Issaquah Triple X is very kitschy- with a dining room jammed with diner type memorabilia - maybe TOO jammed with it to fit the classic clean lines of the old times diners. Looks kinda junky to me - but aside from that, it’s a classic diner.

If a chain doesn’t bother you - then Johnny Rockets may come the closest to what you’ve described. Triple X would be next. Then Skillet (Capitol Hill), Luna Park (W Seattle), and Geraldine’s Counter (Columbia City). My $.05.

Edited: 08 June 2018, 11:39
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8. Re: Seattle Bookstore and Diner

Unfortunately even on the east coast (where there are many times more such than in the west - it's a cultural thing) the movie-cliche diner is a disappearing thing. Too many TV foodie shows have had their impact.

Seattle DOES, however, still have some diner-ish places, a couple of which are bona fide "dive bars" selling pretty good food. One such is the 5 Point Cafe - http://the5pointcafe.com/ - close to Seattle Center. It's been there forever, is open 24/7, and has pretty good food as well as booze.

For bookstores, Elliott Bay is still probably the best, but remember you're in Amazon's headquarters city. 'Nuff said.

Edited: 08 June 2018, 21:17
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