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30 Day Countdown- Day 18: Let’s Talk Tailgating

Parking lots, bars, and sailgating.

NCAA FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Boise State at Washington Photo by Joshua Weisberg/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images

For many college football fans tailgating is an integral part of the game day experience. No doubt many fans may even put more time and effort into their tailgate plans than they do actually attending or viewing the game. Regardless of your personal level of dedication to tailgating, no one can deny that Washington Husky fans know how to tailgate not just well, but on a nationally notable level (see sailgating below).

Given the significance of this game day ritual that thousands of us participate in ever year, it seemed worthy of attention as we head into the 2019 football season. In the following sections, we’ll review some of the options that Husky fans have for their pre and post-game tailgating rituals. While many fans throw awesome in-home tailgates or have a favorite bar in Yakima/Puyallup/Sequim that hosts one hell of a game day party, we’ll be focusing on options in and around Husky Stadium in Seattle. I also encourage all of you to share your personal game day rituals, experiences, recommendations and tips in the comments section following this post.

The Parking Lots

North lots (E1). South lots (E12/15). There are even middle lots (E 8 & 9) and upper campus lots (see the C and N lots). Under a tent, next to an RV, or sitting on a literal tailgate, this is where most Husky fans find themselves when attending a game at Montlake. Old school Seattle culture thrives here, with folks grilling up (or smoking) salmon and serving a million and one classic and local eats for their friends, or sometimes even just friendly passersbys to enjoy. Lawn games, speakers blasting music, and even satellite TVs with the day’s other games can easily be found in these lots. I haven’t even mentioned the booze, but yeah, there are plenty of those too. There’s almost too much to touch on here as everyone pretty much has their own spot that they’ve been going to for forever. Regardless of which lot you tailgate in, this is where you’ll find the heart and soul of a Husky fan’s tailgating experience.

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 08 UCLA at Washington Photo by Joshua Weisberg/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

Local Bars

With the still relatively recent addition of the Montlake light rail station, the fact is that you can get from a ton of bars in the city to Husky Stadium in a very short period of time. However, for the sake of this blog post, we’ll be sticking to bars in the U-District and Montlake area.

The Duchess Tavern- My personal favorite and a local institution. This bar is for the diehards and the faithful. Get there early because it fills up fast.

The Ram- A regional favorite with locations all across the PNW (and now even in the Midwest!), their University Village location is within walking distance to the stadium and can provide a good meal and some solid local beer. Also, the Ram is family friendly!

Ave Bars- So many to choose from. Some notable (or notorious) favorites include Big Time Brewery, Shultzy’s Bar & Grill, the ancient College Inn Pub (it’s in the basement!), Finn MacCool’s Irish Public House, and of course Earl’s on the Ave. There are a ton I haven’t mentioned that you no doubt frequent, but those are most of the heavy hitters.

Agua Verde Café and Paddle Club- Grab a burrito and a margarita and enjoy the views of Portage Bay as you hang out on their patio. While there, if you find yourself really enjoying the views, you can rent a kayak to check out the surrounding waterways.

Northlake Tavern- Do it. You’ll love it. Go for the UW themed David Horsey cartoons that cover the walls but stay for the pizza.

Ivar’s Salmon House- The Seattle seafood classic is home to a large dinning room and a big bar. On game day, Ivar’s partners with Argosy to offer a brunch or dinner buffet, free on-site parking and a round trip boat cruise to Husky Stadium.

BARlamos Pizzeria- For those in the know, I know I got the name wrong. Varlamos, owned by a UW alumnus, is home to football sized calzones and “real dawgs eat calzones” t-shirts. It recently underwent a remodel and now includes a dedicated bar area in addition to its family friendly seating area. This place rules and is located just a short, beautiful walk through the Union Bay Natural Area over to the Laurelhurst neighborhood.

“The Zone”

A pay-to-play in-stadium tailgating experience. If you’re in it, you love it. If you’re not, you’re probably pretty bitter that you have to stand in line to get into one of the beer gardens. I’ve experienced this feeling many times.


We’ve saved the best for last! Perhaps one of the most unique fan experiences in the nation, sailgating on Lake Washington (specifically Union Bay) for a Husky game is a time-honored Washington tradition. Maybe you have a boat and host your buddies for a fun September day in the sun before a game. Or perhaps you hop on the Argosy boat that leaves from Ivar’s Salmon House on Lake Union. Maybe you convinced your cousin to haul their boat to a public launch point on the Lake, just so you could embrace the opportunity. However you sailgate, it’s just really awesome that you’re sailgating.


What’s your favorite way to tailgate for Husky football?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    The Parking Lots
    (205 votes)
  • 10%
    Local Bars
    (38 votes)
  • 2%
    The Zone
    (9 votes)
  • 32%
    (121 votes)
373 votes total Vote Now