Working alongside a partner or spouse is challenging in any scenario, let alone the service industry. Some couples, however, are lucky enough to survive — and even thrive. Seattle’s Anu Apte and Chris Elford are one such duo. The husband-and-wife team co-owns bars No Anchor, Navy Strength, Vinnie’s Raw Bar, and Bar Bazaar. Anu owns Rob Roy as well. Together, they are becoming synonymous with Seattle’s growing drinks scene.
Here, Anu and Chris take a break from managing their combined five properties to explore the best Seattle has to offer.
Zig Zag Cafe
“I like Zig Zag Cafe. Honestly, you can order any classic cocktail there. Their hummus plate is delicious, too.” — Anu Location.
Vinnie’s Raw Bar
“Our natural wine bar Vinnie’s has one of my favorite wines, Sparkle Motion, which is a sparkling Pinot Noir that is insanely delicious next to a seafood tower. It’s really fun to go there and explore since we offer half pours of all the wines. And on Saturday nights from 9 to 10 p.m., we do Tina Turner power hour, where we pour every open bottle half off by the glass and crank Tina Turner tunes.” — Anu Location.
New Luck Toy
“I love New Luck Toy in West Seattle. It’s a funky little Chinese spot that has skee-ball, karaoke, and bangin’ food. Get the colada to drink and their honey pecan prawns.” — Chris Location.
“My buddies own a dope dive bar in the neighborhood called Screwdriver Bar, and that’s my home away from home. They don’t have food but I’ll grab a High Life and a nerdy mezcal and sit down in their subterranean temple and just people-watch or shoot the breeze with the bartender.” — Chris Location.
“I love the wines at L’Oursin, and they have a cocktail called ‘A Stranger in the Alps,’ an herbaceous wine-based punch with Cognac, kirsch, and thyme that’s amazing. Order whatever fresh seafood they have in; their menu is constantly changing.” — Anu Location.
“Hitchcock is Chef Brendan McGill’s legendary restaurant out on Bainbridge Island. Their half chicken is so amazing.” — Anu Location.
“Of course, in Seattle, Canlis is still king. We can’t afford to go there often, but every time we do it is such an experience. Just let them style you out.” — Anu and Chris Location.
“I have to include my baby, No Anchor, which is our beer bar, but the food is insane — we’ve gotten two James Beard nominations in the three short years we’ve been open! Get anything from local favorite Holy Mountain to sip on, and don’t miss the beetroot vereniki (our homemade dumplings) to snack on. We color the dough with clarified beet juice and fill them with potato and homemade cheese, and dress them with something creamy and something acidic. Right now, it’s nutritional yeast foam and fennel sauerkraut. — Chris Location.
“The original Ace Hotel (location) is just around the corner from our bars, and a creative spot to stay. We have stayed at the Palladian (location) for staycations, and our friends just opened the State Hotel (location). Both of those are dope and beautiful, and have strong bar and restaurant concepts in them.” — Anu
“Belltown (location) is our ‘hood where all our bars are, the Seattle waterfront (location) is currently being rejuvenated and redesigned, and West Seattle (location) is fun because you have Alki Beach (location). It feels like I’m on a mini-vacation when I go out there.” — Anu
“Get a beer at Machine House Brewery (location) in Georgetown, hit up a baseball game in SoDo (location), go paddle-boarding in Lake Union (location), or visit Golden Gardens Park (location) in Ballard.” — Chris