It’s a joke among parents that the day’s happiest hour is that brief window of solitude—preferably with a glass of wine and a favorite series from Netflix—between when the kids go to bed and adult heads hit the pillow.
And while that may be the norm, parents also need to have a social opportunity that doesn’t (necessarily) involve playgrounds and Little League. Happy hour, with children, is actually a brilliant idea: You get to eat early, save money and have an excuse to get a head start on that glass of wine. Here’s where we head for all-ages happy-hour fun.
Wallingford, 4411 Stone Way N; 206.633.3800 (also in Columbia City, South Lake Union, Bellevue and Issaquah); tuttabella.com
If you’ve got kids, chances are you’ve had a meal (or 10) at one of the five outposts of this ultra family-friendly pizzeria—after all, pizza is to toddlers what craft cocktails are to grown-ups. Each of the Seattle-area locations has a twice-daily happy hour—the one from 3 to 6 p.m. is all that matters to most parents—that includes a menu of 9-inch pizzettas, antipasti plates, cocktails, wine and beer, all with prices ranging from $4 to $8. Kids are given balls of stretchy pizza dough to play with at the table. Sundays at the Wallingford location are a particular treat: Go at 5 p.m. for a discounted margherita pizza and glass of Lambrusco, and stay past 5:30 p.m., when the live swing band starts (no cover). Dancing encouraged.
Chuck’s Hop Shop in Greenwood (shown here with rare open tables) fills up with families most nights. PHOTO CREDIT: Vanessa Ranney
Chuck’s Hop Shop
Greenwood, 656 NW 85th St., 206.297.6212; and Central District, 2001 E Union St., 206.538.0743; chucks85th.com
Young families flock to Chuck Shin’s two beer shops—the original in Greenwood and a second in the Central District—for a number of reasons. Kids love the Full Tilt ice cream by the scoop. Parents love the nearly 50 beers on tap (and hundreds more available by the bottle). Everyone benefits from the rotating selection of food trucks that set up each day at 5 p.m. Even Fido is welcome. A wise friend once said, “Every hour is happy hour at Chuck’s.” Which is to say that while technically, it doesn’t offer a late-afternoon discount, one could easily argue that the always affordable prices (as low as $4 a pint) make this the best deal of the bunch.
Belltown, 2234 First Ave.; 206.441.9360; local360.org
This restaurant, with its emphasis on local, responsible sourcing may not be an obvious choice for happy hour—particularly with kiddies in tow, due to its Belltown location and trendy vibe. But Local 360—as well as its sister restaurant, the gastropub Bell and Whete—has a sweet deal for foodie parents: free food for kids 5 and younger, and a daily happy hour that runs right through young families’ dinner time, 4–6 p.m. (4–7 p.m. at Bell and Whete). Sit anywhere in the classic, wood-decked dining room and snack on elevated bar food, such as bacon deviled eggs, poutine with lamb’s neck gravy, and fried pumpkin seeds, each for $8 or less. Tiny tots are sure to love the mini mac ’n’ cheese. Although the house red and white wines and draft beers are discounted, we recommend shelling out another few bucks and opting for a cocktail—such as its take on an old fashioned, or perhaps the seasonal shrub.
Central District, 1411 21st Ave.; 206.686.6684; central-cinema.com
When you factor in the cost of a babysitter, dinner and a movie now runs somewhere around $150—not a weekly kind of date night. Take your tykes with you to this Central District indie theater, where the weekday happy hour, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., offers a different theme each day. Our favorite, with or without kids, is Cartoon Thursday: an assortment of occasionally weird animation shorts that are even better after a couple of $4 pints. Kid-friendly noshes such as pigs in a blanket and mini calzones are $6 or less, but if you crave something more substantial, the entire menu (which includes pizza, burgers, gnocchi and a house-made meatloaf sandwich) is available. People come and go throughout the hour, so no need to rush—it’s delightfully informal.
With games and specials on burgers and beer, Two Doors Down in Madison Valley is fun for everyone. PHOTO CREDIT: Vanessa Ranney
Two Doors Down
Madison Valley, 2332 E Madison St.; 206.324.2337; twodoorsseattle.com
The subway tiles and shiny aluminum seating read like a hipster watering hole, but owner Erin Nestor (who also owns Bottleneck Lounge, the bar located two doors up) built this place as a family-friendly neighborhood joint. There are 20 regional beers on tap, plus a short but inventive menu of burgers that includes a banh mi burger topped with Sriracha-lime-ginger mayo and daikon slaw; and the signature Two Doors burger, featuring cheddar, bacon and a house-made jalapeno-peach barbecue sauce; plus options other than burgers, like the smoked salmon melt on toasted sourdough. Go between 4 and 5 p.m. on weekdays and a classic burger—like a beefed-up (excuse the pun) version of a fast-food burger, complete with secret sauce—will run you just $5 (junior burgers are $4). Kids can make use of the Etch A Sketches and Wikki Stix, while parents down dollar-off pints. Worth noting: The menu has both vegan and gluten-free options.