A few fine-dining spots recently debuted around Seattle’s downtown area, geared more toward the tourists and the expense-account set. But there’s a seat at the table for the salaried folks and the starving artists. Recently, all rolled out souped-up burgers during happy hour. It’s dinner under $16.

Here are our bar recommendations this month.


A restaurant that charges $65 for a 14-ounce dry-aged New York steak is a clue your burger will be of high quality as well. Aerlume does a $15 burger made from Akaushi Wagyu beef, a grilled half-pounder topped with Beecher’s cheddar, two thick slabs of applewood-smoked bacon along with lettuce, chimichurri aioli and a mound of fries speckled with chives and parsley.

Aerlume, with sweeping views of Elliott Bay, will open its back patio soon. Come summer, this Jason Wilson restaurant will also offer happy hour in the front patio, facing busy Western Avenue. Expect fire pits and comfy lounge furniture with your Manhattans and martinis.

Happy hour Sunday-Thursday 4-6 p.m. 2003 Western Ave., Suite C, Seattle; 206-441-4468, aerlumeseattle.com


The Argentine steakhouse inside The Charter Hotel downtown goes through hundreds of pounds of beef. The odds and ends are ground into patties. Its burger, $18 on the lunch menu, goes for $10 during happy hour. It’s an 8-ounce patty, grilled over an open flame to a charred-crusty finish and then draped in melted Argentine provoleta (a provolone-style cheese). The happy-hour burger does not come with fries, but consider the fixings your salad. The burger gets stacked with 2 inches of peppery arugula coated in chimichurri sauce, a slice of beefsteak tomato and a bed of grilled onions. You’ll have to squeeze that burger tight to get a clean bite. One patron discarded the top bun and treated it like an open-face sandwich. Another used a steak knife and fork. Whatever it takes!

Happy hour daily 3-5 p.m., 1610 Second Ave., (downtown) Seattle; 206-256-7520, patagonseattle.com


Daniel’s Broiler

For years, this steakhouse ran one of the city’s most popular high-end happy-hour burgers (a half pound of prime cut) before every other fine-dining restaurant got in on the act. Office workers used to beeline to its Lake Union locale before last call for happy hour. Last December, Daniel’s Broiler opened a branch on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency downtown. Their flame-broiled bacon cheeseburger comes with all the fixings and Thousand Island dressing on the side, along with copious amounts of steak fries for $14. There’s also now a plant-based burger version for vegetarians.

Happy hour 3-6:30 p.m. daily; 808 Howell St., Seattle; 206-596-9512, schwartzbros.com