Downstairs at Unicorn, 1118 E Pike
Web / Yelp
I'm a big fan of cool, dark basement bars, mostly because I am not a fan of heat and bright sunlight. That's why I left the desert for Seattle in the first place. Almost immediately after Unicorn opened, there was talk about a dance club eventually opening downstairs. Instead, we have Narwhal, which is an excellent lounge space with a large bar, video games, pinball, and a skill claw game with lots of naughty surprises inside.
I'm glad it's a lounge instead of a dance floor. It's sad that we've seen such a decline in the dance scene, but it's just as much my fault as anyone else's. I get up at 4am now instead of staying out until then, so happy hour is my favorite time to go out. Especially somewhere dark and interesting.
I could swear I sent a friend into the ladies' room with my camera on my birthday, but now as I review the photos, I don't see any pictures from in there. Sad. But I'm there all the time, so I should be able to get more soon. And that's not an exaggeration. I was at Unicorn three days in a row a few weeks ago, and I was also there last night and four nights ago.
My only critique of the bathrooms downstairs is that they're quite bright. That's not normally an issue, but if you're hanging out in a dark room, going into a bright bathroom and back out into the dark is pretty disorienting. But, of course, dark bathrooms are a little sketchy if they're for more than one occupant. The men's room looks great, though. Love the stripes and the color choices. Makes me want taffy.
One thing you should know before you choose where to sit is that they currently don't take food orders downstairs or bring food downstairs for you. It's not a huge deal to me to have to go up and get it, but if that's a dealbreaker for you, sit upstairs. Also, keep in mind that Unicorn opens at noon (11am on weekends), but Narwhal doesn't open until 4pm. Follow them on Twitter, though, sometimes they open early.