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It takes a lot to impress Seattle’s discerning happy-hour goers these days. But 50-cent oysters at Flying Fish should do it.

The 5 o’clock crowd — downtown suits and business super-casual Amazonians — all jockey for the 14 precious seats at the bar, with a few standing-room spots squeezed in between. The timid hang back, nursing martinis while waiting their turn at the bar.

The chance to slurp cheap oysters, endless plates of them, is a love affair for the Flying Fish faithfuls. (The savvy ones know to come before 5 to claim a seat before the madness.)

The oyster-of-the-day varies — plump Calm Cove last week, some sweet Sister Point the week before.

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But don’t stop at oysters. Look around. The regulars are ordering miso-glazed steelhead and slathering crabcakes with lemon-grass mayo. Come happy hour, appetizers and small plates — the most refined seafood dishes in South Lake Union — are half price.

The thick chunk of halibut, dusted in flour and fried? Let it soak in the yellow curry before digging in. And the smoked salmon cake, moist and sweet, may be the best in the city.

Now you’re done. Get up. Move on. There are people behind you. And they are losing patience.

The Details

Flying Fish, 300 Westlake Ave. N., offers happy hour daily 4-6 p.m. with 50-cent oysters and half off on small plates ($4-$7), $3 draft, $6 wine and cocktails. The 50-cent deals end when the oyster season ends in mid-April (206-728-8595 or

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

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