Some happy hour foods are classics: French fries with aioli and artisanal cheese boards are here to stay, don’t worry about that.
Sliders—bite-size sandwiches—are often accused of being dated but have diversified to the point of no return. There are Reuben sliders and Spam sliders and salmon burger sliders…it just don’t stop. Plus they are adorable so please stop disparaging them. Other HH mainstays that won’t die: calamari and tomato-basil-mozz bruschetta. But as far as cool-menu cred is concerned, none of the above items really have any.
These four HH snacks, however, do:
1. Deviled Eggs
A retro treat that’s made a serious comeback, the deviled egg presents a jumping-off point for chefs looking to create a rich happy hour snack at a low price point. Try them at Seastar in South Lake Union, where they are topped with salmon gravlax ($6) or Local 360, which offers deviled duck eggs on its happy hour menu for $2 a pop.
2. Soft Pretzels
So happy to see the return of the dough monster! Tom Douglas’ new Brave Horse Tavern has its very own pretzel oven and the kitchen churns out creative variations that cost between $4 and $11. Not technically a happy hour, but definitely a must-mention in the pretzel category.
Brouwer’s, for its part, has long had a pretzel on its HH menu. It’s $5 and comes with beer-cheese sauce. MistralKitchen does a homemade soft pretzel too, available only on Friday and Saturday for $2.
3. All Manner of Antipasti
In our ever-evolving, never-say-die love affair with Italian food, urban America’s current fixation seems to be with that country’s pre-dinner traditions—aperitifs and antipasti are on our brains. Marinated olives are everywhere. Meat plates grace HH menus from Fonté to Mistral to…everywhere, they’re everywhere. And score two for Tom Douglas: his new Italian spot Cuoco has an HH menu featuring a number of different antipasti—espresso arancini, cured beef panzanella, etc. They’re $3 each during HH.
It’s the classic blank canvas onto which chefs can spread their favorite flavor combinations and give them to us for an early evening treat, and its back in a big, big way on the other coast. We’re not far behind.
A mainstay on the HH menus at Dinette and Boat Street Cafe, a chicken liver-mousse crostini now also shows up on the HH menu at Taste at SAM. It costs $6. 22 on 15th Ave E does a crostini with goat cheese hummus, marinated mushrooms, olives, and pickled onions ($5). Frank’s Oyster House and Champagne Parlor does a steak tartare on toast points that’s $9.25 during HH. And it’s delicious.