Exceptional cocktails soar on their own. The last thing you want to do is bring them down with an order of flabby fries or hockey-puck-heavy meatballs—even if the food is a bargain. What you really want during a bar or restaurant happy hour is the same tasty, high-quality food that appears on the lunch or dinner menu—just at a fraction of the cost.
You’ll find it here. From bowls of lovingly prepared Painted Hills Farm beef pho to rich, duck-fat French fries (sans flab, we promise), we’ve provided a small offering of some of the best food the region has to offer at quitting time. Salud!
Downtown, 1433 Fourth Ave.; 206.456.7474; michaelmina.net/restaurants/seattle/rn74-seattle
Happy hours: Mon., 3 p.m.–close; Tue.–Thu., 3–7 p.m.; Fri., 3–6 p.m. Go here for: Elbow rubbing with other chic nine-to-fivers and Michael Mina’s bevy of French-inspired tasties for $4–$7. Plus, on warm nights, enjoy a spirit and mixer of your choice for $7 on the new front patio. Best bites: If duck-fat french fries ($7) don’t elevate your pulse, try the juicy RN74 Burgundy beef sliders with Brie and bacon marmalade ($7), or the Washington king salmon rillettes ($5!).Also tasty: five pretzel nuggets ($5) with Vashon honey whole grain mustard.
Green Lake, 7102 Woodlawn Ave. NE; 206.258.4523; Kirkland, 222 Parkplace, 425.889.0200; iheartlucia.com
Happy hours: Daily, 3–6 p.m., 9 p.m.–close Go here for: Reliable, hearty Italian eats ($5–$8) and wine ($5–$7) plus $5 well drinks and local as well as Italian beers for $4. We liked the zippy Primaterra Pinot Grigio with everything. Best bites: If beautiful, thinly sliced filet mignon carpaccio ($6) doesn’t make you feel royal, try the light and lovely caramelized pear and onion pizzetta ($7) with walnuts and Gorgonzola crumbles. Also tasty: white truffle and cremini macaroni and cheese ($6).
3. Daniel’s Broiler
Bellevue, 10500 NE Eighth Ave., 21st floor; 425.462.4662; Lake Union, 809 Fairview Place N; 206.621.8262; Leschi, 200 Lake Washington Blvd.; 206.329.4191; schwartzbros.com
Happy hours: Daily in the lounge, 4–6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.–close Go here for: A slashed price on the steak house experience, including $3 off wines by the glass and $2 off cocktails. Best bites: Australian lamb chops ($12) with a bright citrus fennel salad are a hit; so is the classic seared ahi ($12) with wasabi and ponzu vinaigrette. Also: Beer-batter-dipped jumbo onion rings ($11) with Sriracha barbecue sauce (Lake Union and Bellevue locations).
Capitol Hill, 1519 14th Ave.; 206.257.0312; nueseattle.com
Happy hours: Mon.–Wed., 4–6 p.m.; Mon.–Sat., 10 p.m.–close; Thu.–Fri., 3–6 p.m.
Go here for: The memorabilia-packed dining room and bonding with travels buffs while nibbling global street eats inspired by owner Chris Cvetkovich’s adventures (Slovakia, Japan, Morocco, Portugal). Sip house cocktails like the kat chai, made with triple-distilled vodka, lemon and lime juice, wild honey and salted plum, for $2 off. Best bites: A double order of the East Indies Brussels sprouts ($7), served with coconut and garlic chutney and house-made pineapple cornbread ($3).
5. Barrio Mexican Kitchen & Bar
Capitol Hill, 1420 12th Ave.; 206.588.8105; barriorestaurant.com
Happy hours: Daily, 3–6 p.m.; Mon.–Thu., 10 p.m.–midnight; Sun., 10–11 p.m.
Go here for: An upscale cantina vibe and off-the-hook tacos ($3.50), mini enchiladas ($5), and low prices on Mexican-inspired appetizers ($4–$11) and house cocktails ($8). Can’t beat: the Triple T ($10), one taco, a can of Tecate, and a shot of Casa Pacific tequila. Best bites: The chile-braised pork taco brightened with pickled onion ($12). Vegetarian? Sink your teeth into a kale and roasted corn enchilada or roasted beet taco ($6 each).
6. Ba Bar
Central District, 550 12th Ave.; 206.328.2030; babarseattle.com
Happy hours: Daily, 3–6 p.m. and 10 p.m.–1:30 a.m., in the bar only. Go here for: Seriously good Vietnamese street food, including pho ($7) and small plates ($4–$10), and refreshing (read: citrus- and herb-driven) cocktails ($6–$8) in a hip, industrial space. Best bites: Ba Bar’s spicy Saigon chicken wings ($7), slathered in caramel sauce and roasted garlic and chile. Also, the grilled skewers, especially the Carlton Farms pork belly (two/$5) and the personal-size bowl of pho tai nam ($7) with tender Painted Hills Farm brisket.
Want more suggestions on fantastic Seattle bars? Read our list of the Best Bars & Cocktails.