the shambles

Neighborhood Guide: Maple Leaf

We may be a bit biased on this post. We do live in Maple Leaf after all. We roam these streets and drink in these bars on the regular, so when we give a recommendation you know it is based on years of experiences. Our little neighborhood isn’t as bustling as some of the other big ones (Ballard, Fremont, etc.), but where we might be smaller, we have some mighty little businesses that make it a great place to come visit!

Maple Leaf Water Tower

Where to Eat

Cloud City Coffee

Nine times out of ten this is the coffee shop we head to in Maple Leaf. They have a wonderful selection for breakfast, lunch, and coffee and have a really genuine and kind feel the second you walk in the door. Also, they have Oatly for your lattes!

Cloud City Coffee

Blue Saucer CAFE 

Another coffee shop in the neighborhood that pulls us in every once in a while is Blue Saucer. And why do you ask? Their bagel sandwiches are To. Die. For. They also do great specials for their coffees. Plus it’s also a little quieter since this is a smaller cafe and some mornings you just can’t beat relaxing with a nice bagel while you do the crossword!

Cafe Javasti

We are lucky that we have so many great coffee shops in the area, and we definitely can’t leave out Cafe Javasti. They have the best selection of crepes you could ask for (sweet and savory!) while serving Olympia’s Batdorf & Bronson Coffee.

The Maple

This neighborhood pub has a great happy hour and is located in a great converted house, so what couldn’t be there to love? While we usually don’t go there for dinner, we love to hit it up for their brunch (mimosas anyone?) or happy hour (burrata + wine specials!). Bonus points for all the outdoor seating and cute garden you can access in the warmer months!

Rainy Art in Maple Leaf

Rainy Art in Maple Leaf

The Shambles

This is a relatively new spot to the neighborhood, but it immediately stole our hearts. They are a butcher, so they source incredible meats from local farmers and they also craft an awesome beer list from local craft breweries. We love getting their meat and cheese boards, sharing one of their amazing sandwiches and getting a side of the crushed potatoes with beers to top it all of. Boom.

Judy Fu's Snappy Dragon

This is probably Maple Leaf's biggest claim to fame. Judy Fu is famous in the city for her delicious dumplings and homemade noodles. This restaurant has won best Chinese in Western Washington by King5 like a million times. Get the dumplings and noodles, plus whatever else catches your eye on the menu - it's Chinese food at its best! The restaurant fills up fast on weeknights and weekends, so if you don't feel like waiting order it to go or for delivery and enjoy at home! 

Flying Squirrel Pizza 

This is our neighborhood pizza joint. Everyone has one, but we think ours is the best. Flying Squirrel has a few locations around Seattle and all of them are equally great, but we frequent this one the most. We always start with the castelvetrano olives and meatballs then move on to any of the pizzas. They source the best meats and veggies so really you can’t go wrong. Their pepperoni is classic, the pulled pork is something different and delicious, and their seasonal specials are always unique, too.

Kona Kitchen

This place is a beloved Hawaiian and Japanese restaurant (owned by film actor Yuji Okumoto!) and has a wonderful family feel. We highly recommend the Katsu Loco, which is a more delicious version of the Loco Moco made with fried rice and a panko breaded chicken thigh. And on the weekends there is karaoke because duh.

Where to Drink

Old 5th Avenue Tavern

The greatest dive bar in the history of dive bars (our blog, our opinion!). It has everything you could want…stiff drinks, cheap food, fun locals, pull tabs, pool, a jukebox, and you can find the owner, Tara, slinging drinks most nights. We love to come on Tuesday for their tacos (2 for $1) that are old school style with Old El Paso hard shells and ground beef like your Mom used to make. Spaghetti Wednesday is in stiff competition where you get a big plate of spaghetti and slices of garlic bread. Can’

5th Avenue Tavern

Growler Guys

This spot has like 1 million beers. Ok, their website says 60, but we always feel a tad overwhelmed when trying to choose. For those of you who don’t suffer from decision anxiety this place will be beer heaven! They also have good beer food (pizza and wings, duh) and food trucks on site often. We also love keeping tabs on their events - they do a great job of having unique events to bring the community together.

The Reservoir Tavern

Slightly more seedier and smelly than the Old 5th Tavern, this dive bar wins points for its location. It sits right across from the Maple Leaf Park meaning you can easily grab a drink after your Frisbee game. They also have a back patio and pool if you feel up for a bar game, but we highly recommend getting an order of fries, which they make with duck fat and shake with some sort of seasoning that takes them to the next level. Truly the best fries in town.

Things to Do

Maple Leaf Park 

Maple Leaf has an incredible park right smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood and you can’t miss it because it has a ginormous water tower with painted maple leaves right next to it. The park has a paved running track (about .5 mile = 1 lap), some pickleball courts and what is basically the coolest kids playground ever (it has a zipline!). When you visit on a clear day you can see views of downtown Seattle and also Mount Rainier.

Bead World

Okay, so maybe you need to be a jewelry maker to fully appreciate this shop, but even we get joy out of browsing all the cool beads here. They have too many types to count in every style you can possibly imagine. Need a Buddha head bead? They’ve got that. What about sparkly beads? Hundred to choose from. They even offer classes for jewelry making including basic bead stringing all the way up to 3D etching. Check out the full schedule here.

Reckless Video  

We saved the best for last here - Maple Leaf is home to one of the last of the dinosaurs - a real, live, video store. For such a tiny house, they have managed to convert it into a space that holds a crazy amount of movies! If you want to support a local business and have a walk down memory lane we definitely recommend heading to Reckless and hunting for a few videos to watch on a rainy night. Grab some Red Vines on your way out.

The best place to grab a movie in the city of Seattle!

The best place to grab a movie in the city of Seattle!

Alright - come visit us in Maple Leaf and let us know what you think!