Five o’clock on the main drag of Wallingford, the traffic sweats and grumbles. But you don’t have to.

Tilth is your new after-work sanctuary. Chef Maria Hines has started happy hour at her Wallingford joint, the certified-organic Seattle restaurant that was anointed by The New York Times as one of the nation’s top New Restaurants in 2008.

Nestled along the commercial strip of North 45th Street, Tilth looks more like your neighbor’s house, a century-old Craftsman with fir floors and a fireplace.

But be outside if you can, while you can — preferably under the overarching tree, with Pimm’s Cup in hand.

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It’s a romantic al fresco happy hour, a little arbor amid the exasperated commuters.

In the waning days of summer, lovebirds hang in the patio, drinking lemon shandys and sipping rosé under the shade. Aperitifs flow freely. French-onion dips and in-house chips are ordered.

But nearby taverns can serve you chips — you can do better. Hines is a James Beard award-winning chef. Grab her signature mini duck burgers and some steak tartare.

Fitzgerald, Simone and Ol’ Blue Eyes will try to drown out the honking and the cacophony of rush hour on the other side of this trellis. Order a negroni. This will help too.

Tilth, 1411 N. 45th St., offers happy hour daily 4:30- 6:30 p.m. with $4-$6 snacks, $4-$7 cocktails and $6 wines (206 633-0801 or

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