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Here now are PTA moms and pretty people in Patagonia, slouching under the trellis and taking in the lambent sunlight at The Whale Wins. They’re sipping late-summer tipples and staring into the Wallingford distance, as if the patio were open to an ocean breeze.

Maybe you should join them.

There’s a well-considered whiskey list, and an even-better cocktail menu and for happy hour. Don’t forget charcuterie and jams from James Beard finalist Renee Erickson.

Erickson, whose new cookbook, “A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories” is the most talked about publication on the Seattle food scene right now, elsewhere runs one of the city’s most popular happy hours, the discounted oysters at The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard.

But her happy hour at The Whale Wins is more low maintenance, designed to allow the kitchen some prep time before the dinner rush.

But the noshes are refined all the same — crunchy, salty European-inspired morsels. Spanish sardine cut with curried tomato paste and fennel over toast. Pork-and-serrano-ham terrine slathered over crostini.

It’s all served by a remarkably attractive staff. (Has there ever been a group of men and women who look sexier in denim smocks?)

Bar manager Michael Getz and his four bartenders must be cocktail geeks. Or they get out a lot. His crew has a handle on what’s hip and a grasp of how to mingle exotic ingredients with gin and other standbys.

Trendy sherry and mescal get featured in a smoky drink with tobacco tincture. Aquavit, not the easiest booze to drink down, is smoothed out with blueberry syrup, lime and Parfait Amour, a floral liqueur.

The well-curated menu features three to four ingredient cocktails that are nuanced, clean and well thought out. At $8, it’s the best cocktail deal in Seattle now.

The Whale Wins, 3506 Stone Way N., offers happy hour 3-5 p.m. daily with $8 cocktails, $6-$7 wine, $2.50-$6 beer and snacks for $4-$12 (206-632-9425 or

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