We go to our mailbag this week to answer queries from readers who aren’t your typical happy-hour revelers: families and teetotalers. No worries. I got your answers. (Questions were edited for brevity or clarification.) Feel free to send me your questions, but for those emailing me with complaints about bad service, let’s go easy on the exclamation marks and “Caps Lock” key, eh?
Q: With the kids being out of school for summer, my husband and I wouldn’t mind taking them along for happy hour if there’s a kid-friendly place. Is there one?
A: South Lake Union is your best bet. There are lots of spacious restaurants that need to be filled during the down time between the Amazon lunch crowd and the 5 o’clock martini rush. Tutta Bella on Westlake, 2200 Westlake Ave. (tuttabella.com), and Serious Pie, 401 Westlake Ave. N. (tomdouglas.com), offer happy hour throughout their restaurants. (It’s the same deal for the Serious Pie, 316 Virginia St., in the Belltown/downtown area). Another Tom Douglas joint, Cuoco, 310 Terry Ave. N. (tomdouglas.com), the Northern Italian restaurant, has an outdoor area that’s available to children. All those places either serve meatballs or pizza, or both, which pretty much guarantees that kids will love eating there — and more importantly be well behaved.
Or how about Ivar’s, 1001 Alaskan Way, Pier 54 (www.ivars.com), on the waterfront? There’s a separate dining area where families can take advantage of the happy-hour prices on such popular standbys as the clam chowder and fish and chips. Your kids will want the cheeseburger and fries. Maybe you can steer them to something healthier, like the blackened Alaska cod tacos with lime cilantro crème fraîche, Napa cabbage, avocado and roasted tomato salsa.
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If you park farther out along the street to save money, that stroll along the waterfront offers a killer view.
The best kid-friendly joint, though, is Village Wines, 14450 Woodinville Redmond Road N.E., #111 (myvillagewines.com), in Woodinville. Families hang out at this wine bar (there’s also beer), located less than a mile away from Chateau Ste. Michelle winery. It’s a cozy, neighborhood spot, with a kids menu.
Q: I usually grab a drink with my colleagues. But now that my wife gets off work early, I meet up with her, though she doesn’t drink. Is there a cocktail bar that serves good mocktails?
A: Many bar restaurants and cocktail lounges have mocktail menus now. Rob Roy, 2332 Second Ave. (robroyseattle.com), the excellent cocktail bar in Belltown, has a whole page devoted to mocktails. Bartender Erik Carlson of the new Ballard Inn house bar, Stoneburner, 5214 Ballard Ave. N.W. (stoneburnerseattle.com), has a good mocktail list, including a shrub drink (vinegar-based cocktail) and a refreshing house-made ginger beer, which despite its name contains no alcohol.
But really, you can go to any craft cocktail bar for a mocktail. Most bartenders have a few good nonalcoholic drinks in their repertoire these days, for couples just like you. The mocktails are usually sparkling, with citrus or floral notes. Some bartenders may add a dash of bitters to give some depth. But bitters have a bit of alcohol, so tell the bartender not to include any if that slight drop is going to be a problem.
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle