Psst. Some of the city's best restaurants do happy hour. Or should we say hidden happy hour. Some don't post these menus online, or even in the restaurants. We reveal them here.
These days, you can find happy hour anywhere, including in some established and critically acclaimed spots that wouldn’t have been caught dead offering their food at a discount in years past. This includes some favorites below that you probably didn’t know have a happy-hour menu. Heck, some aren’t even posted online or even in their restaurants. But now you know.
La Carta de Oaxaca
This Ballard standby showed a generation that there was more to Mexican food than Tex-Mex. It made mescal and Oaxacan food popular before they became trendy. During happy hour, tacos are $2 each, but try the chorizo-potato morsels rolled in corn tortillas and deep-fried. There’s also Mescal Monday and Tequila Tuesday, when pours of some of their good stuff go for $10 or cheaper.
5431 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle; happy hour Monday-Thursday from 9-11 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 3-5 p.m. and again 10 p.m.-midnight; $4-$9 tacos and snacks, $7 margaritas and other daily specials; 206-782-8722, lacartadeoaxaca.com
Chef Shaun McCrain, who worked at Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York City, owns this eloquent French-inspired restaurant with his wife, Jill Kinney. Technically, there’s no happy hour, but that’s what its “bar specials” amount to. They’re affordable but refined snacks, available only at the bar during the slow midweek. There’s a plate of chicken fingers and wings, coated in a rosemary-batter. Or shell out $12 for the Wagyu Beef Tartare with quail egg, crostini and truffle aigre-doux.
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6460 24th Ave. N.W., Seattle; special bar menu ($5-$12) available Tuesday-Thursday from 5-9 p.m.; 206-258-2467, copineseattle.com
Scott Staples was one of the early big-name chefs who tweaked the burger-and-shake concept with supersized and fancy riffs such as the Monsieur Madame, a beef patty stacked with ham, a fried egg, Gruyere, Dijon-mayo and truffle shoestring fries. Now all those fancy burgers are discounted along with a new $10 happy-hour combo (classic burger, fries or salad, and a beer).
4302 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle; happy hour Monday-Friday from 2-5 p.m.; $4 off pitchers and $1 off all burgers and a $10 combo special; 206-547-2600, uneedaburger.com
A step up from the usual deep-fried bar grub, the seafood dishes here are studiously plated with Technicolor root vegetables and fruit. Manolin also started offering oysters for half-off from 4-5 p.m. and 25 percent off from 5-6 p.m.
3621 Stone Way N., Seattle; happy hour Tuesday-Sunday 4-6 p.m.; $2 off seafood items, $2 off house cocktails, $1 off draft beer and selected wine; 206-294-3331, manolinseattle.com
This Ballard amaro spot made Esquire’s list of Best Bars in America last year. While its next-door sibling, The Walrus and the Carpenter, does the heavy lifting on the food, Barnacle’s approach is more minimalist. Happy-hour cocktails feature some two-ingredient drinks like zucca and rye or cynar and rossbacher. Noshes are more tin snacks with a tweak such as anchovy tartine with pickled watermelon or sardines with a dollop of rose harissa, served with a side of saltines. They’re simple but elegant bites.
4743 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle; happy hour Wednesday-Monday 4-6 p.m. and again 10 p.m. to closing (closed on Tuesdays); $6-$8 snacks and $7-$11 cocktails and wine; 206-706-3379, thebarnaclebar.com
The hottest new restaurant in town offers happy hour on weekends during that lull between the lunch and dinner rush. It touts a moonshine-themed cocktail menu along with some Southern-themed snacks such as chicken gizzards with buttermilk dressing and pork crackling with pecan butter and barbecue spice.
2122 N.E. 65th St., Seattle; happy hour Saturday-Sunday 3-5 p.m.; $3-$11 snacks and $12 cocktails; 206-257-4470, junebabyseattle.com