82–86: Our Happy Hours Have Evolved Beyond the Bar

Used to be happy hour meant a $5 martini and some salted nuts, maybe a little light banter with Pete from accounts payable while you waited out the after-work traffic. But it was only so long before other local businesses began competing with cocktails for those much-coveted weekday bucks. Only unwanted hair gets ripped off—for a discount, natch—at the two locations of The Wax Bar (thewaxbarseattle.com), at Derby Salon in Roosevelt (derbysalon.com), and at downtown’s Urban Yoga Spa (urbanyogaspa.com). Last spring, Bottega Italiana (bottegaitaliana.com) in Pike Place Market intro’ed a weekday espresso discount to pep up afternoon sales. At high-end restaurant Palace Kitchen (tomdouglas.com), meanwhile, special happy hour menus serve up thematic flights of bites, like a $7 trio of lamb snacks. Complimentary pistachios are available at the bar.

16. Old Buildings Are the New New Thing

As the managing director of real estate development firm Eagle Rock Ventures (eaglerockventures.com), Scott Shapiro takes dated properties and makes them pretty, fun, and pretty functional by, as he says, putting a “new building in old skin.” Take his latest, a joint venture with Liz Dunn of Dunn and Hobbes (thank her for the gorgeous Osteria La Spiga and Plum Bistro) to rehab the Melrose Market, home to artisanal butcher Rain Shadow Meats, speakeasy-style bar Still Liquor, and Sonic Boom Records. Anchoring the shops and restaurants is a barnlike marketplace flanked by raw brick, a wall of sliding windows, and a sky-high wood-planked ceiling supported by hefty industrial beams. The process is more complicated than building from scratch, but, Shapiro points out, “you can’t recreate new spaces like this today.”

15. We’ll Take Your Young and Desperate

Only the United States takes in orphans and other refugee youths separated from their parents. Only four states have more than a single agency equipped to receive them—and one of those is Washington. Lutheran Community Services (lcsnw.org) in Seattle and Catholic Community Services (ccsww.org) in Tacoma both began receiving refugee children in 1980, when thousands fled Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia without their parents. Since then they’ve received “the lost boys” (and girls) of Sudan and uprooted youngsters from Central America, Cuba, Haiti, Bhutan, and East Africa. These days, it’s youths from Congo and Burma who, without the Lutheran program, might be lost as well. Once again, Seattle’s there, at least for a lucky few.

44. We Root for a Draft Dodger

Let’s set aside the possibility that by passing up a fat pro contract to don the UW purple and gold for his senior season Jake Locker is (at best) a devil-may-care masochist or (at worst) straight-up insane. Instead, let’s focus on the fact that the run-and-gun QB’s fiscally risky decision was a message to Dawg fans—and the rest of the Pac-10, for that matter—that these aren’t Tyrone’s Huskies anymore. When NFL draft gurus like Mel Kiper predict you’d be the fifth player chosen after your junior year, you don’t stick around out of a Boy Scout–like desire to see things through. You do it because you think—no, expect—you’ll win.

61. We Can Watch Performances on Our Laptops

In January, edgy, contemporary arts nonprofit On the Boards (ontheboards.org) started testing next-gen performance with ontheboards.tv, a website that streams and sells high-definition videos of shows staged at its 100 Roy Street theater. Viewing costs less than the price of a ticket ($5 for a 48-hour rental, $15 to download and own), and the film’s quality is surprisingly sharp, thanks to the multiple HD cameras and the mad editing skills of local production company Thinklab. The service is small on selection—seven shows will be available this year, eight in 2011—but big on talent. We’d gladly watch Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment again, live or on a 12-inch screen.

100. We Love to Learn, Even at Midnight

Yes, we’ve already given Michael Hebb a pat on the back (no. 33). But Night School (nightnightnight.com), the series of nocturnal “classes” he curates for the Sorrento Hotel, is so quintessentially Seattle, it deserves another: It’s broadening intellectual horizons with a gonzo lust for life.

Whether it’s a liquored-up history class about, um, liquor, or an experiment in mashing up classical and pop music, each class is a study in learning and letting loose at the same time. And at the head of the class is the Midnight Symposium, which puts “students” face to face with a visiting intellectual (such as Pulitzer-winning historian Gary Wills) to chat over drinks and a hearty stew. We’ve never been more excited to hear the words “School’s in session.”