In Lower Queen Anne, there’s Toulouse Petit and then there’s everyone else. No one can pack a crowd like Toulouse for happy hour, or come to think of it, any hour. Heck, folks even line up for breakfast happy hour.
But in the last three months, the newly opened Agave, two blocks away, has been drawing what you would call Toulouse-size crowd — with folks spilling out of the bar area. It’s been years since any bar on Lower Queen Anne has created this much buzz.
Agave is the much-loved Mexican bar restaurant in Issaquah that earlier this summer opened a second locale near Seattle Center, trying to duplicate the mojo that has made it so popular with Eastsiders.
The music is loud. The waitresses are pretty and dressed in black. It’s a less rowdy crowd thanToulouse, but you don’t want to see how packed the bar gets when there’s a concert nearby. The crowd gets younger on weekends, and often so tanned they looked braised.
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Maybe you’ve never stepped foot into this Agave bar, but you’ve seen this get-up before — some generic Southwest décor, sort of a mall version of Barrio, without the copious mescal selection.
Their back wall, though, is studded with more than 150 tequilas, one of the largest selections in the region. The food portions are generous. The prices are reasonable. The happy-hour margarita ($5.50) is cheap, though too sweet — but that seems just fine to all the young partygoers here.
The best of the happy-hour menu are the overstuffed grilled steak tacos and some bacon-wrapped jalapeño peppers stuffed with leeks, goat cheese and cilantro lime-crème, a perfect beer sponge.
But mostly, the cheap bar menu is filled with crunchy, creamy and cheesy snacks that seem indistinguishable from one another. But it will all go down easy.
Agave, 100 Republican St., Seattle, 206-420-8195; and in Issaquah, 1048 N.E. Park Drive, 425-369-8900; both offer happy hour 3-6:30 p.m. daily and again 10 p.m. to closing with $5.50 margaritas and wine, $3.75 beer and $5.50-$6.50 bar food; www.agavecocina.com. (The review is based on visits to the Queen Anne location.)