We answer readers with quaffing queries.
This week, we answer queries from a hubby and a father all trying to do good while having a drink or three. There’s also a dude perplexed no one here drinks Calvados. Questions were edited for brevity or clarification. (For readers emailing me with a complaint about a bar or service, let’s go easy on the exclamation marks and Caps Lock key, eh?)
Q: We’re celebrating my wife’s 50th birthday and wanted a neighborhood where we could hit three or four fun bars for happy-hour cocktails and food. I was thinking Capitol Hill.
A: Unless you want to roll with the young bucks, avoid barhopping on Friday and Saturday, and maybe Thursday, too. Stick to the grown-up bars around 12th Avenue to avoid the rowdiness.
The drinking temple Canon is perfect for a celebratory drink. It’s her birthday. Don’t make her wait outside. You’re going to make a reservation, yes?
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Across the street is Café Presse, where bottles of wine are priced as they would be along the Canal Saint-Martin, as little as $8 during happy hour between 4-6 p.m. daily. Get a bottle of sparkling wine and nibble on the Croque apéro (baked ham, Gruyere and béchamel sandwich) and other snacks.
A block north is the hidden bar, Needle and Thread, upstairs from Tavern Law. That’s also good for an intimate, celebratory drink.
Have you tried that burger at Old Sage next door? Holy smokes! It’s a hickory- and mesquite-flavored beef patty. Order it medium-rare. It has the fatty texture of ground short ribs and tastes a bit like the storied burger at Minetta Tavern in New York’s West Village. One of the most distinctive burgers on the hill.
For something more substantial, stumble three blocks to Quinn’s gastropub and follow that with a nightcap at the lounge area of The Tin Table. A few stiff drinks including Tin Table’s excellent take on the gin classic Bijou with Campari and you might be inspired to tango with your wife at the Century Ballroom (or in the case, half-century?), just across the hall.
Canon, 928 12th Ave. (canonseattle.com)
Café Presse, 1117 12th Ave. (206-709-7674 cafepresseseattle.com/home)
The Old Sage, 1410 12th Ave. (206-557-7430 or mccrackentough.com/theoldsage)
Quinn’s, 1001 E. Pike St. (206-325-7711 or quinnspubseattle.com)
Q: We can’t find bars that carry Calvados. Are there any?
A: We may be the apple state, but we’re not an-apple-brandy-kinda town (at least not yet). Steakhouses usually carry a few for the suits, but arguably the biggest selection comes from Capitol Cider at the intersection of East Pike Street and Broadway East, which carries at least 13 Calvados varieties.
Capitol Cider, 818 E. Pike St. (206-397-3564 or capitolcider.com).
Q: I have my kids in tow while running errands sometimes. I like to enjoy happy hour in between. Are there places in the Ballard-Crown Hill area that allow those under 21?
A: Hit Chippy’s. Fish and chips, po’boy sandwiches and other kid-friendly bites go for $8 and less from 5-6 p.m. weekdays. The Ethan Stowell fry-up also boasts a drink list that’s 10 times better than any fish shack needs it to offer.
Chippy’s also features beers brewed within a two-mile radius. And the booze menu looks like it hasn’t been updated in a while because the whiskeys are $1 to $2 underpriced. Its Japanese whisky flight ($23) is a good deal since with Japanese single malt all the rage now, most Seattle bars have run out of Suntory.
Chippy’s Fish and Drink, 4741 Ballard Ave. N.W., (206-206-257-4390 ethanstowellrestaurants.com).