Photo: Il Bistro

HOURS: 5-6:30 daily, Sun-Thu 10-midnight, Fri & Sat 11pm-1am
PRICES: $3-$5 wine
$2.95-$10 plates

I’m going to come out and admit something here. For the past year I’ve been visiting bars and happy hours, meeting bartenders and sampling cocktails, all in the service (Okay, partly in the service. I’d probably be at the bars anyway.) of making sure Seattle Met’s annual bar feature included the best and most relevant list of must-visit Seattle bars right now.

And not to brag, but I think that when you see it later this week, you’ll find that we (fellow Seattle Met drinking enthusiasts/editors James Gardner and Chris Werner and I wrote it together) have created a pretty dang informative guide that’s also fun to read.

Now, because so many restaurants and bars have become all crazy-creative about happy hour—extending hours, inventing small-plates menus and specialty cocktails, picking people up and driving them to the bar—we also included a list of superstar HHs. And I would stand by each and every one of the bars we list for food happy hours. Each is, in its way, fantastic.

But we missed one. A really, really good one: Il Bistro.

And what bothers me most about the fact that we missed Il Bistro isn’t that we missed a chance to tell you about the incredibly generous portions of sautéed calamari in tomato sauce, plump prawns topped with stewed tomatoes, goat-cheese ravioli in a comfort-foodie cream sauce (all $5!). It isn’t even the fact that it is in the market, which is a place I visit almost daily and should absolutely have on my radar.

What bothers me is that people don’t seem to be going to happy hour at Il Bistro. And it’s one thing for me to sing the praises of HH at Brasa or Barolo —you have to fight for a seat during HH at those places, recession or no recession. So why aren’t the crowds flocking to Il Bistro? Maybe it gives off a tourist trap vibe from the outside? Maybe it just looks too expensive for an early dinner? I don’t know. But I can tell you this: it’s one of Seattle’s best “dinner at happy hour” discounts.

You should go. And go hungry.

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