In the summer, Eastsiders crowd this bar and outdoor patio for its stunning backyard view of sunsets over the water. The advantage of coming during the winter is you don’t have to deal with crowds and can actually carry on a conversation without having to yell across the table. Here’s an additional reason to come: Como rolled out a new happy hour under talented chef Gabriel Chavez, who makes his own pasta. Cacio e pepe, rigatoni with fennel sausage and gnocchi cost $14 each during happy hour. For the carb-conscious, there is the discount $18 hangar steak. Or, just to nibble, arancini and antipasti ($10-$12) are offered along with $7 prosecco and other vinos.
Happy hour 4-6 p.m.; 1270 Carillon Point, Kirkland; 425-484-0787, comousa.com
Castilla Restaurant and Tapas Bar
This 146-seat Spanish restaurant runs arguably the largest food happy-hour menu in Bellevue Square, with almost 30 small plates (patatas bravas, croquettes, tortilla espanola and lamb stuffed piquillo peppers) offered during its early and late night happy hour ($3-$10). For something more substantial, order the large $10 Catalan coca flatbread topped with grilled steak along with roasted grapes, Valdeón blue cheese and arugula, or for vegetarians, the caramelized apple flatbread that’s topped with brie and pecan. Selected vodka, gin and whiskey cocktails go for $11, and beers and wines range from $5 to $7. Located by The Lodge, Castilla is headed by executive chef Clara Gutierrez Carroll, who also runs Tablas Woodstone Taverna in Mill Creek.
Happy hour daily 3-6 p.m. and again 9-11 p.m.; 504 Bellevue Square; Bellevue; 425-625-2931, castillarestaurant.com
Smoke & Shine
The Southern-themed bar menu — jalapeño cheddar hush puppies, chili and cornbread, Frito pie — ranges from $4 to $8. You can wash down the wings and rib tips with a $5 beer (for $3 you can make it a bourbon or tequila shot with a beer).
Happy hour Mondays-Fridays 3-6 p.m. and again 9 p.m. to closing; 11516 124th Ave. N.E., Kirkland; 425-968-8206, smokeandshine.com