Ah, the happy hour. One of the work week’s little treats. I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of booze-serving establishments have them, but some have deals so sweet it almost makes up for the guilt you feel at cutting out of work/school/anything early for the day to get a drink. I certainly have my personal favorites in Seattle, and if you plan it right, you really can get a burger and a drink for < $10 including tax and tip. I swear.
HH1: Kate’s Pub
One of my favorite happy hours around is at Kate’s Pub, a great little dive right at the edge of Wallingford (near the University District). First and foremost, the details on the happy hour: Kate’s happy hour is every day (yes! weekends, too!) from 4:00-7:00 pm. All food (ALL FOOD!) is half off with a drink purchase. Some drink highlights include $3.50 microbrews and well drinks, $2 PBR if you’d like to harken back to your college days, and $14 pitchers.
Kate’s is kind of cozy (and is decked out for St. Paddy’s above), but it doesn’t care too much about appearances. It’s the perfect place when you want to just grab a drink with friends; no pretentiousness, no super hipster bartender you feel like you need to impress (oh wait, that’s just me?). There’s a pool table and two dart boards that are free to use, and usually some sort of sporting event is on tv (but perfectly ignorable if it’s not your thing). All in all, Kate’s is a wonderful spot for a relaxed night of some drinks and games with friends, and you can have it all for half price if you get there before 7!
HH2: La Isla
Another great happy hour with a totally different feel is La Isla in Ballard. La Isla is one of those cool restaurants that not only has happy hour everyday, but in fact has it TWICE a day (3:00-6:00p and 10:00p-1:00a)! It’s a Puerto Rican restaurant with pretty tasty food and drink, served at a steal of a price. For between $2 and $5, you can find an array of tasty appetizer-sized dishes that are the perfect dinner or late-night snack. (Let me take this moment to personally recommend their yuca fries and various types of mojitos!) Mojitos are a mere $4 and cuba libres $3 during happy hour, and other delicious cocktails are also heavily discounted.
La Isla feels bright and colorful, and has a fair amount of seating, which is nice and inviting. Not so hip as to be intimidating, La Isla has just the right amount of cool to make you feel like you’re having a fun night out if you stop in, especially for the late-night happy hour. There is much to recommend here, and my only warning is that you’ll probably want to try everything, so bring your appetite!
HH3: The Lookout
The Lookout is located in hip Capitol Hill, and, as its name suggests, has a really (really, really) amazing view.
Happy hour features include $5 appetizers (that are often appetizers in name only: the mac & cheese was plenty for a full dinner), $4 wells and house wines, plus $3.50 microbrews! They also have happy hour at some point EVERY day (4-7p on weekdays, 12-4p on weekends, and all day monday)! Aside from boasting a great view and a sweet happy hour menu, the Lookout is cozy and cool. It also has its oddities like both Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean pinball games. They also have a little patio, so when the weather’s nice you can enjoy the view and the glory of cheap eats at the same time. Dream life status: achieved.
HHBONUS: The College Inn Pub
The College Inn is the not-so-secret University of Washington grad student watering hole. It is dark, it is divey, it’s the perfect place to escape from that failed experiment, and, of course, it has a super happy hour. It certainly doesn’t rank on the list of Seattle highlights for tourists, but if you want to see grad students in their natural habitat, experience $4 pub nachos (delicious!) on mondays, drink $4 pints and wells between 4 and 7p, and have nightly specials 8p-close, this is the place for you. University District, under the College Inn.