White Horse sells books, but it's not a bookstore. It serves drinks, but it's not really a bar. It's the best basement lounge you could ever hope to have, disguised as an English bookseller. The rotating booze selection includes beers by the bottle and no hard alcohol, but the Pimm's Cup-a wine-based cocktail-is where you want to be.
Pike Place Market during tourist season can sometimes feel like a bad dream, a frantic and claustrophobic jumble of shuffling people and their giant bouquets of dead flowers asking for directions to Starbucks and cackling on about cheese curds. There are few respites from the out-of-town horde, but White Horse Trading Company hides in plain sight, on a stretch of Post Alley between a tea shop and Kell's. Entering White Horse, you may feel anxiety about not being wise to the secret handshake. There is none, and the affable barkeeps will quickly put you at ease on that score, as well as assure you that you have not entered a wormhole and come out in a basement in Cornwall. The place looks like Grandpa's little corner of the basement, if Grandpa liked to read and was a kleptomaniac. Just pick a category from the limited menu (beer, mead, sometimes Pimm's) and savor this curious little oasis—barely wide enough to accommodate a game of regulation darts—until the throngs have passed.—Maggie Dutton