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Bird cages, mismatched stools and random reclaimed objects — I swore I must have taken a wrong turn and stumbled into an antique shop.

That was my introduction to the gastropub Brass Tacks earlier this year. But I do have a soft spot for this place, or should I say places.

About 18 months ago, this Georgetown spot was just a cramped diner called Ground Control. In January, the owners of Ground Control knocked down a wall to add a more ambitious sibling, Brass Tacks.

As it turns out, it’s a cozy enough relationship that I could order happy-hour food from Brass Tacks (the better food option of the two) while sitting at Ground Control, where I like to schmooze with locals.

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The dudes at Brass Tacks are clearly not vegans. Happy-hour noshes include a plate of candied bacon strips seasoned with nutmeg and other holiday spices and deep-fried shredded pork belly. The latter was battered and shaped like a mozzarella stick, to be washed down with a cold one.

But patrons come for the happy-hour cheeseburger, a juicy half-pound Painted Hills patty, cooked textbook perfect — charred crust, pink inside and smothered with caramelized onions and coated in sharp cheddar. At $8, it’s a real bargain. Note: to request anything more than medium-rare would be a travesty.

Drinks are big and stiff to match the autumn chill of late. Cocktails ($6) are a good happy-hour deal, but hardly any locals go that route. It’s all about the $1 Rainier tallboys.

Hang around long enough, and the locals will tell you about the faux speak-easy in the back, where a fake brick wall doubles as a door to a corner lounge.

But I prefer the gritty soul of Ground Control, a taste of old Georgetown. It’s where all the characters (with their salty language) and the cheapskates order endless rounds of $1 beer until happy hour ends at 6. I don’t know the record for most Rainiers consumed in an hour, but I’m pretty sure it must have been set here.

Ground Control and Brass Tacks, 6031 Airport Way S. (Georgetown), offers happy hour 4-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday with $1 off on snacks, $8 cheeseburger and fries, $4 house wines, $3 well drinks and $1 Rainier beer. The happy hour on Saturday (4-6 p.m.) is for discounts on drinks only (206 397-3821,,

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or On Twitter @tanvinhseattle

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