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Soberish Date Night: Canlis

A behind-the-scenes look at one of the most famous restaurants in the country

In Part III of my guide to restaurants with inclusive bar programs in the Seattle area, my girlfriend and I explored the most highly-acclaimed restaurant in the city, Canlis. A fine-dining landmark that still has a dress code and a rule that states, “children prone to draw attention to themselves should stay home” might not seem like a place Soberish Mom would visit. But it absolutely is, because I'm also trying to escape my children.

We had an exceptional night out which included free-spirited cocktails, incredible bites, and a behind-the-scenes tour with one of the owners, Brian Canlis. Now before you assume I come from generational wealth (I don't) or actually have some pull in the city (I definitely don't), I still don't know why he spent so much time with us. He's definitely never heard of Soberish Mom, nor did he know why we were there. He went above and beyond to make our night special as just regular guests in the bar. I'm guessing he does this for many patrons, regardless of their background, which is why Canlis is famous for being one of the most magical, never-know-what-could-happen, restaurants in the country.

Now on to the good stuff. While the waitlist for the dining room is months-long, they have one of the best kept secrets in the city: a small bar tucked in the corner that is open seating and welcome to all (as long as you adhere to the dress-code, which I think is one of the most fun parts). There is an inclusive bar program that caters to drinkers and "sober-curious" alike with several non-alcoholic options. I started with the Der Papierine, a mixture of grapefruit, rosemary and amaro soda. It was well-balanced and refreshing, a lovely way to start the evening.

Canlis in Seattle, WA
Canlis in Seattle, WA

There's really no need for little old me to review the food - all you need to know is that everything was beyond incredible, creative and surprising. Caviar served with a blooming onion? Not what I expected to see, and it was one of the best bites I've had all year.

I also enjoyed a glass of one of my favorite non-alcoholic wines, Blanc de Blancs by Leitz Winery, which you can grab online for only $15 at The Zero Proof. It's wonderful to see they have a couple options for non-drinkers, though it would be even more impressive if there were any zero-proof spirits on the menu to really elevate the mocktails. Regardless, it's a good start to welcoming the guests who might not be drinking, for whatever reason.

You can watch my Instagram to see the behind-the-scenes tour of Canlis, including a sneak peek at the "Treehouse," which is a rooftop spot available by invitation only from the incredible team at Canlis.

Private "Treehouse" on top of Canlis
Private "Treehouse" on top of Canlis

Highly recommend visiting Canlis for the dinner program at least once in your life. My husband and I went before we were getting ready to welcome our first son - one of our last breaths of freedom - and it was also a night I'll never forget, just like this one.


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