You finally get a baby-sitter, and it’s Saturday night. All the weekday happy hours are over. Now where do you go for a great deal? Reporter Tan Vinh has answers.
This week, my inbox brought a familiar question about parents eating out on a budget in this expensive city. It’s a question I used to get every once in a while. But in the past three years, it has popped up so frequently that I stopped publishing the suggested haunts to avoid being redundant. Let’s take this question on again, shall we, with new suggestions.
Q: I’m wondering what your favorite weekend happy hours are. As a parent, when we’re finally able to book a baby-sitter, it’s always a Friday or Saturday. We love Ba Bar’s everyday happy hour and would love to know about any other great weekend deals like that.
A: You’re in luck. Around the corner from your favorite happy hour is Seven Beef, from the owners of Ba Bar. Snag a seat on its new patio and order the $7 happy-hour burger. Its aged-beef patty made our list of top five burgers to try at fancy restaurants earlier this year. The happy-hour variation is two ounces smaller but stellar all the same.
But date night on a budget, without the kids, and you’re looking for a reprieve from all the back-to-school logistics? I would hit Madrona, where there’s plenty of al fresco dining for you to enjoy the waning days of summer. And the neighborhood is quiet.
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The best-kept secret for happy-hour date night is Vendemmia. Grab a seat along its sidewalk cafe. There are enough leafy trees to shade you from the sun or an evening breeze. The happy-hour menu is more dinner than bar snack. Order some shared plates of beef tartare or the citrusy hamachi with rhubarb ($9 each). Or start with the mixed greens with anchovy vinaigrette and croutons, a less-creamy but more pungent version of a Caesar salad. Regardless of what you start with, end with the signature spaghetti ($9 during happy hour), thick al dente pasta in a garlicky tomato sauce. The dish is aromatic with shredded basil, bound with olive oil and has a spicy kick of chili pepper, a simple dish with complex flavors. Vendemmia’s spaghetti is one of the most popular recipes that ran in The Seattle Times this year.
If you want a more meaty happy hour, hit Ethan Stowell’s Red Cow across the street for burgers or hanger steaks and fries for $10.
But do end the night at Bottlehouse. It’s an intimate place that feels more like your best friend’s backyard than a wine bar/shop. Grab a table in the courtyard by the fig trees. There’s an affordable wine list even if you missed happy hour. Order wine by the glass (many are $10 or less) or a bottle of white, rosé or sparkling for about $40.
Ba Bar, 550 12th Ave., offers happy hour daily 3-6 p.m. and again 10 p.m. until closing (206-328-2030 or babarseattle.com).
Seven Beef, 1305 E. Jefferson St., offers happy hour daily 3-6 p.m. (206-328-7090 or sevenbeef.com).
Vendemmia, 1126 34th Ave., offers happy hour daily 5-6 p.m. (206-466-2533 or vendemmiaseattle.com).
Red Cow, 1423 34th Ave., offers happy hour Sunday-Thursday 5-7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5-6 p.m. in the bar or patio (206-454-7932 or ethanstowellrestaurants.com).
Bottlehouse, 1416 34th Ave., offers happy hour daily 3-6 p.m. (206-708-7164 bottlehouseseattle.com).