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We go to the vaunted mailbag this week to answer queries about Capitol Hill happy hour and some bar dude named Murray. Questions were edited for brevity or clarification. Feel free to email me with yours. (For readers emailing with a complaint about a bar or service, let’s go easy on the exclamation marks and “Caps Lock” key, eh?)

Q: I’m new to Seattle and I’ve heard so much about the great happy-hour scene on Capitol Hill, but I’m kind of disappointed. It’s all the same: Tex-Mex or just wings and sliders.

A: For something different on the hill, check out Le Zinc, the new gastropub from the folks behind the popular happy-hour joint Maximilien at Pike Place Market.

For happy hour, there’s seared foie gras over brioche, golden shoestring fries and Moules au Fenouil (a bowl of mussels with fennel, pork belly, onions, tomato and Pernod). Get some baguette to mop up that juice.

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There’s a solid cocktail menu, heavy on the absinthe with many $5-$7 cocktails during happy hour, one of the best drink deals on Capitol Hill. The Calvados cocktail is one of my favorite cold-weather drinks, and it’s offered here for $6.

Le Zinc: happy hour offered daily 4-6 p.m. and again 10 p.m. to close. 1449 E. Pine St., 206-257-4151 or

Q: I love that Murray Stenson is back. I know he stepped away from the bar for a year, but as a Murray fan, his hiatus felt more like five years. What days is he behind the bar now?

A: Stenson works every Sunday and Monday at Il Bistro at Pike Place Market. For Murray fans, and for folks who want to meet this legend for the first time, it’s an ideal set up. Murray works on slow days at this cozy, intimate bar, an ideal setting to chat with Seattle’s favorite bartender. Lots of parking nearby late at night.

Il Bistro, 93 Pike St., 206-682-3049 or

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

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