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A single experience in Olympia

Exploring Olympia's arts, entertainment and nightlife while flying solo

Dillinger’s Cocktails and Kitchen is a popular destination among young professionals and singles looking to enjoy Olympia’s nightlife. Photo courtesy of Dillinger's Cocktails and Kitchen

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Being single isn't always a bad thing. Am I right? A night out on the town is usually cheaper, more spontaneous and definitely more unpredictable when you're flying solo. So why shouldn't we embrace the untethered lifestyle when the opportunity presents itself -- especially when nearby haunts like Olympia offer an interesting and quirky nightlife scene that's perfect for singles.

Rhythm & Rye (311 Capitol Way) is a guaranteed good time for anyone looking for an evening of fun in Olympia. The spacious bar and live music venue is in the heart of Oly's downtown area and offers local entertainment nightly. Ping-Pong and pool tables in the back room bring a little variety to patrons looking for more activity. For bar hoppers, Rhythm & Rye is within walking distance of Brotherhood Tavern, McMenamins Spar Café, The Society and Oly Underground.

Dillinger's Cocktails & Kitchen (404 Washington St. SE) is another great venue for singles who enjoy quality food along with a stiff drink. The prohibition-themed bar serves classic craft cocktails and has a menu chock-full of creative Americana fare. Dillinger's is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Olympia, which adds a layer of historical interest and charm to the cozy establishment.

"We just expanded Dillinger's bar to make more room for everyone," said co-owner Sandra Hall, "and we have live music on Monday nights, from 6 to 8 p.m. There's all sorts of fun things to do (in Olympia), like dancing, art galleries and parks to visit."

Downtown Olympia is known for its abundance of arts and culture venues, especially when it comes to theater. Harlequin Productions, a nonprofit theater company founded in 1991, provides Olympia audiences with entertaining and unconventional renditions of classic plays. The theater company produces shows throughout the year, including original works, Shakespearean plays and musicals that'll keep you entertained all weekend.

Theater Artists of Olympia (TAO), a collective of local artists that produces unconventional, provocative plays, is another fun option for nightly entertainment in Oly. TAO performs out of The Midnight Sun Performance Space, an intensely intimate venue bound to make meeting and greeting other theater buffs as easy as pie. The theater troupe has been performing since 2004. The Capitol Theater, Olympia Family Theater, Olympia Little Theatre and The Washington Center also offer film and live theater experiences to patrons who are out on the town.

If you're looking for something a little more "spicy" after dinner, drinks and a show, head to one of Olympia's notorious burlesque shows by Rock Candy Burlesque. The neo-burlesque troupe is made up of a diverse group of women who perform in styles varying from "classic to comic, feminine to gender-bending, classy to raunchy, and sultry to energetic." Rock Candy Burlesque holds a monthly burlesque and variety revue called "Tassel Tuesday" at Rhythm & Rye, so be sure to check out Olympia event listings beforehand to sneak a peek of the troupe's performing lineup. Tush! Burlesque is another cheeky option for fans of dance and theater, with performances at the popular downtown café and concert venue Obsidian.

For a more low-key but still flavorful Olympia experience, try spending an afternoon browsing the storefronts of 222 Market (222 Capitol Way N.), an artisanal and open-air market that speaks to the handcrafted culture of Olympia. The market opened in September 2016 and houses the local bakery The Bread Peddler, an authentic French Creperie; the bone broth café Broth Bar; the floral design and gift shop Fleurae Floral; the Blind Pig Spirits craft distillery; and Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar, among others. 

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