Whole Foods on Westlake runs one of the area’s most popular happy hours: the 69-cent-oyster night, which is still one of the best deals around.
In the past, however, there’s always been a sensory disconnect. Something about drinking near the deli case and the checkout line doesn’t scream “after-work drinks.”
But in the past six months, Whole Foods has given its happy-hour program a face-lift to look more like your usual 5 o’clock watering-hole get-together. The Westlake store now features a more traditional bar setup, complete with flat-screens turned to ESPN and a dozen wines, hard ciders and craft beers on tap.
There are brewer’s nights with a local zymurgist dropping by to schmooze and give tasting notes. (It’s Fremont Brewing Co. this month.)
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It also has the little things that beer geeks care about: A big blackboard that details every beer’s style, including IBU (international bitterness units, measuring the amount of hops in beer) and ABV (alcohol by volume).
The bar boasts a Randall, a filter that you can connect to a tap to add more ingredients. Currently, Whole Foods’ Randall special is a Schilling hard cider infused with clove, ginger, orange and smoked black tea.
The pub-grub menu features poutine ($5), the trendy bar snack of the moment, along with a selection of $3 sliders (get the pulled pork; skip the dry smoked brisket).
And, of course, there’s the famous oyster night. Whole Foods doesn’t run this special much anymore, but the next one is from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21. It’s easily the biggest happy-hour event in Seattle, and the line starts as early as 4:30 p.m. They often sell out before 7 p.m. (They go through 180 dozen in two hours or less.) So, it may be worth skating out of work early to grab a spot.
Whole Foods doesn’t skimp. Their oysters are big and plump, not the small, castoff bivalves that often end up on the happy-hour menu at other seafood restaurants.
What makes this an even better deal is that you can pick up any beer or wine from the shelves to pair with your oysters. No corkage fee. Two dozen oysters and a bottle of sparkling wine may run you around $30, enough for at least three people.
Whole Foods Market, 2210 Westlake Ave., offers happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. daily with $1 off on pints. The next 69-cent-oyster happy hour is from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, or until it’s sold out; 206-621-9700 or wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/westlake. (Note that the 69-cent deal and happy-hour specials are only at the Westlake store.)
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle