Indoor/Outdoor porch at Kushibar

HOURS: 4-8 daily
PRICES: $4-$5 sakes, $3.50 beer and cocktails
$10 select dishes

From the folks that brought you Umi Sake House comes Kushibar, a “Japanese Street Food” spot whose impressive wood-slatted covered porch is exposed to the Second Ave sidewalk—promising many awkward customer/junkie encounters this summer.

On my first visit here, I assumed I was entering another upscale Belltown bar: From the front the place looks sleek and self-consciously cosmopolitan, an effect instantly belied by the simple skewers and noodles listed on the menu.

That confused me. But then I realized Kushi isn’t really sleek in the way Belltown does sleek—the hand-painted characters on the wall were too slapdash, the server too sweet. This place is casual dressed up in upscale, at once streety and styley. And given our current economic client, it feels like just the right place to hit up for a happy hour in Belltown.

And the happy hour is the best bit. Sit in the bar area for discounted snacks and sake from 4pm to 8pm daily. (Eight! pm! It only goes until 6:30 in the main dining area, however.) Food options include simply wrought “sets” of skewered veggies, seafood, chicken, or a house combo—it’s a generous serving for $10, not to mention some of the more nutritious happy hour fare you’ll find anywhere. Other highlights: three different types of udon and some panko-crunchy ebi (shrimp) tempura.

Hot sake fans (Count me proudly in. This isn’t the high end stuff so warm in on up, I say.) can sip through petite carafes of Gekkeikan ($5), Hakutsuru sake is $4.50. There are also ample beer specials and well cocktails cost just $3.50.

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