Locals to Know: Zack Bolotin

Today we’re talking to Zack Bolotin, a graphic designer, the founder of Porchlight Coffee & Records and all around man about town. The born-and-raised Seattleite designs stamps, cold brew labels, concert posters, menus and all sorts of other projects you may have spotted around Seattle. You may have even checked out the “62 Souvenirs” book that he and his dad collaborated on, telling the story of the Seattle World’s Fair. All that without mentioning that he has a record and coffee shop in Capitol Hill. Let’s find out what fuels his creative mind! Take it away, Zack.

Who are you? What do you do?

I own Porchlight Coffee & Records and I’m also a graphic designer.

Wax poetic for a minute and tell us: what brings you most alive about this city?

My grandpa, dad and mom all grew up in Seattle, so I’ve always felt a personal connection with places they (and I have) lived, especially the Central District and Wallingford. On a daily basis, I find myself interacting with parts of the city where a number of my relatives spent time way back in the ‘30s through today.

What’s your favorite Seattle memory?

I’ve lived here my whole life, so there’s an endless supply of great memories, but one of the best and most wholesome was being inside the Kingdome with my dad while the Mariners were in the 1995 playoffs. I just remember looking up at all the adults bouncing around and high-fiving while the whole stadium seemed to shake with thundering noise.

If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Either the butter and sage pasta at Spinasse or the veggie pho from Than Brothers.

Outside of the obvious stop above, share your other top three destinations for where you’d go on your perfect Seattle day.

When it’s hot, I love swimming in Lake Washington. The Pacific Science Center courtyard is one of the prettiest pieces of architecture in the city. Volunteer Park and the conservatory are both absolute gems as well.

What’s your favorite local social media account (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or etc.) to follow and why?

I mostly just follow friends and other small businesses, but I will say that the Mariners Instagram is wildly clever and entertaining–especially for a professional sports team.

If you could give any one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?

Making friends is awkward in every major city, but don’t blame the “Seattle Freeze”. Also learn to zipper merge on the freeway.

How does Seattle help you do what you do/influence your work?

I use Seattle and Pacific Northwest themes in a lot of my designs, especially when local clients ask for just that. But as someone that is very interested in Seattle history, I’m often photographing architecture around the city for Mid Seattle, an annual publication I started that documents the still-standing mid-century architecture in town.

What’s an unpopular opinion you have about the city?

The only Seattle stereotype I truly believe in is that we have some of the absolute worst, hesitant drivers in the country.

What are you looking forward to this year?

Even though I’ve lived in King County my entire life, I really prefer warm weather, so I’m always looking forward to summer and swimming in Lake Washington. For the first time in my life I actually bought an air conditioner, so being able to sleep in the heat will be pretty sweet too.