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The Stranger's Guide to Seattle's Happiest Happy Hours

Time:2017-10-12 11:56wine - Red wine life health Click:

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The Stranger's Guide to Seattle's Happiest Happy Hours

Ba Bar Geoffrey Smith


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Ba Bar

550 12th Ave, 206-328-2030; 500 Terry Ave N, 206-623-2711; 2685 NE 46th St, 206-328-1112

At this Vietnamese street-food restaurant (where the happy hour runs 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, and 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. every night), the bar makes the rare decision to offer not only discounted drinks, but also an entirely different cocktail menu. The happy hour list offers ingredients and combinations that fit well with daytime drinking: some lighter, some brighter than the dinner cocktails.

The Ginger Pop floats basil seeds—think oversize chia seeds—in vodka with house-made ginger syrup, Dolin Blanc vermouth, fresh lemon juice, and soda. It's the kind of easy-drinking refresher you want when the sun still shines in the sky. Similarly, the Old Pal twists Canadian rye into a negroni-style drink, and the Angus Stinger plays like a mature mojito with Scotch and mint. Both make time slow down as if you are escaping from a hot Hanoi afternoon.

Food discounts vary from a few cents to a few dollars depending on the dish, but the best deal is the deep discount on Ba Bar's incredible pho: A bowl is just $8, down from $12, for the long-simmered rich broth, high-quality meat, and fresh-made noodles.


The Stranger's Guide to Seattle's Happiest Happy Hours

Suzi Pratt

927 Ninth Ave, 206-397-4053

Vito's specializes in ambience. Big leather booths, low lights, and the lounge look—befitting for a bar that's been around since 1953. Signs on the way in advertise live jazz music, and on the way out warn, "What happens at Vito's stays at Vito's." The old-school cool is interrupted only by the flash of reddish lights bouncing off the improbable disco balls and the thoroughly modern cocktail list.

The happy hour here is from 4 to 7 p.m. Drinks like the Panther Dash, a murky, savory mix of bourbon, Meletti amaro, sherry, and lemon, come fairly cheaply on the standard menu ($10), convenient since cocktails don't qualify for Vito's happy hour. Well drinks, "bubbles," beer, and wine do, but the real savings come from the food. During happy hour, garlic bread and a grilled Caesar salad come in at $3 apiece, each providing a Tuscan villa worth of Parmesan and garlic. The sliders, filled with meatballs, marinara, and mozzarella ($4), are a bygone style but a timeless taste. Eating little sandwiches at the big, dark bar is transporting. You might pay full price for the cocktail, but that's the fee to enter the time machine back to the 1950s.

Rob Roy

2332 Second Ave, 206-956-8423

Inside this dark Belltown bar resides one of the most lighthearted happy hours in town (4 to 7 p.m. every day). Billed as "ridiculously" happy, its snacks are snarky but its drinks are serious. Five of them, all up to Rob Roy's standard as one of the city's best spots for craft cocktails, come at a steep discount: Here's the place to find $14 drinks for $8 and similar deals.

Among the five, there is something for every palate. The spirit-forward Fancy Vesper brings elegance to the classic cocktail with Absolut Elyx, Beefeater 24, and Lillet. The Monolith spices things up with Ancho Reyes, an ancho-pepper-infused alcohol, before cooling it down with pineapple and mint. And tiki lovers will find their paradise with the Ted Shackleford: whiskey, orgeat, pineapple, and lemon. But most intriguing, perhaps, is the Daily Punch! (exclamation point theirs). On a recent afternoon, it was basically a negroni punched up with sparkling wine—a fun, smart twist on an old favorite. And fun is the operative word at this happy hour, where the free goldfish crackers flow with as much ease as the smiling bartenders' ordering advice, and the "faux pho ramen" doesn't cost anything at all. Of course, if you ask for one, you might learn it's just a cup o'noodle soup fancied up with lime and herbs.

Bathtub Gin & Co.

2205 Second Ave, 206-728-6069

You could call this speakeasy-style Belltown bar a bargain basement during happy hour (5 to 7 p.m. daily), when the drinks sink from $11 to just $7. Built in the former boiler room of an old hotel, it's a literal basement, and from the minute you enter through the alley (instructions on their website: "Look for the wooden door"), you're Alice in Cocktail Wonderland. Exposed brick, low ceilings, and small, creatively carved-out spaces create an intimacy with either the bartender and/or whomever you're with, depending on where you sit.

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