Some new happy hours launched in Bellevue and Seattle, from $2 noshes to $7 margaritas. Plenty of them have patios to soak in the sun.
This popular Japanese barbecue chain with locations in Vancouver, B.C., and across the United States is now in Bellevue. There’s a zillion different grill-your-own-meat options including Kobe-style New York steak and other fancy cuts. (The chain has a branch in Beverly Hills, after all.) The small rectangular plates come lined up with platoons of beef strips about the length of a stick of gum. You’re going to need quite a few plates to get full, and the bill starts to add up.
The poor man’s version is happy hour, where dozens of cuts from filet mignon ($7.50) to beef intestine ($4) are discounted if you come early or after the dinner rush. For first-timers, the menu is a visual overload of raw meat, appetizers and sauces. It’s less stressful to order the happy-hour special ($50 for two), which includes soup, salad, and plates of chicken, pork and beef to grill. Get the $13 pitcher of Sapporo to wash down all that charred goodness.
Happy hour daily 3-5 p.m. and again 8:30 p.m. to around 10:30 p.m.; 14506 N.E. 20th St., suite 2, Bellevue; 425-296-8818, gyu-kaku.com/bellevue
A newbie in Green Lake, Tapas Lab offers small plates and nibbles ranging from traditional anchovy and iberico jamon pinchos to regional takes such as cured salmon over toast or fusion finger food (bulgogi beef, parm, aioli and onions over toast). The best thing, though, isn’t its signature chorizo meatballs (too dry), but its sous-vide teriyaki chicken thigh meat on a stick ($6). Its eclectic list of house wines are reasonably priced between $7-$8 per glass.
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Happy hour Tuesday-Saturday 3-6 p.m.; 7012 Woodlawn Ave. N.E., (Green Lake) Seattle; 206-775-1744, no website
Mercato Stellina at the Market
This Bellevue-based pizzeria opened in the touristy area of Seattle with a bigger space and menu, complete with a pastaiolo to make fresh bucatini and gnocchi and a brick oven for its Margherita and other pizzas. Seattleites balk at its Spinasse-level pricing ($19-$27 for pasta). Its new happy hour is gentler on the pocketbook ($3 off for its ravioli, bolognese and other pastas if you get in before 6 p.m.). The better deal, though, are the pizzas ($14-$16 after happy-hour discount) that can feed two. Or sip $6 house wines, well drinks and beer and people watch on its patio. Outdoor seating around Pike Place Market is hard to come by during the summer; this al fresco happy hour isn’t crowded.
Happy hour 3-6 p.m. daily; 2001 Western Ave., (Pike Place Market) Seattle; 206-485-7356, atthemarket.mercatostellina.com
Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails
This swanky, clubby rooftop bar hawks $200 martini on its “Millionaires Menu” but also targets the young and penniless with one of the cheapest happy hours in downtown Seattle. Fries, tacos and sliders range from $5-$9.
Don’t ask me to explain its target audience. Just know that you can lounge around the patio with peekaboo water views between office towers whether you order a $5 happy-hour vodka soda or a $128 margarita.
Happy hour 3-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and all day Sunday. 1415 Fifth Ave., (downtown) Seattle; 206-971-8015, destinationhotels.com/frolik-seattle
More bars are popping up along the Broadway East drag of Capitol Hill. Maybe because of the new light rail station. Maybe because the Pike/Pine corridor is already littered with bars. Or maybe a bit of both.
The tequila bar Anejo is the latest to spring up here, with $7 margaritas to enjoy on its patio along East Mercer Street. There’s also $6 sangria and wine specials. Happy-hour food is Tex-Mex familiar: $5 tacos, $6 taquitos and $8 nachos, all from freshly made tortillas. Look for more specials in the coming weeks including Fajita Monday ($4 off), Taco Tuesdays and a third off tequilas on Thursdays.
Happy hour weekdays 3-6 p.m. and again at night 9 p.m. to closing (note closing hour varies from 10 p.m. on weekdays to 2 a.m. on Saturday, depending on crowd size); 538 Broadway E., (Capitol Hill) Seattle; 206-420-8512, on Facebook