HOURS: 3-6, 9-close daily
PRICES: Half off wine, beer, and signature cocktails
Half off bar menu

When you find yourself in Bellevue about to face down an awards banquet for an industry that’s having what you might call a very bad year, a pre-event drink is definitely in order.

This Saturday two of my coworkers and I found ourselves in just that situation, and because we were dressed for the dinner (I had to literally dust off my “evening” purse, I think last year’s awards was the last time I used it) we actually didn’t stick out too badly in the bar area of Pearl, the newish bar/restaurant on the ground floor of the Weston Bellevue. (Cars parked outside the Weston Bellevue at 5:30 pm this Saturday: a Mercedes SUV, a Range Rover the size of Delaware, and a cobalt blue Ferrari convertible.)

So Pearl is a restaurant owned by two longtime Seattle hospitality veterans and by all accounts very nice people, Mikel Rogers and Bradley Dickinson. We recently chose it for our Best Bars issue because it is, as far as we could tell, the best bar in Bellevue. But it’s a funny thing, Pearl. The bar menu calls to mind a certain set of locally minded Seattle establishments. There’s Dry Fly and Cascade Mountain spirits in the mixed drinks, Serengeti Wheat and Mac and Jack’s on tap, pinot noirs from Willamette.

It’s the same story with the food: fried Beechers (paging Steelhead Diner), Yakima asparagus, and Dungeness crab cakes. And yet the place itself is very Bellevue, indeed: the waitresses are indoor-tanned, sexily dressed, flirty, the decor black and silverly and sleek. There’s even a VIP booth with a gauzy black curtain that can be drawn, presumably, for privacy. Not the sort of interior you’d find on, say, Phinney Ridge.

Whether your tastes lean towards the urban or suburban, however, the happy hour at Pearl is as clutch as my dusty purse: half off wine, beer, signature cocktails, and food in the bar from 3-6 and then 9-close, every day of the week. So that’s $5 for a plate of Berkshire pork sliders, $4 for the goat cheese crostini, and $4 too for the aforementioned asparagus, served with salumi Culatello. Very good deals.

Drinkwise, I loved the idea of the cucumber melon mojito, but it had Bacardi melon rum in it. Turn off. So I had the Pearl Collins in this picture: Plymouth gin, St Germain, fresh blackberries, housemade lime sour (a tad too much, in the end), and soda water. It had the consistency of a mojito and was pretty pleasant, once given a bit of a mix and allowed to sit for a moment—a good value at the $5 happy hour price.

If I lived/worked in Bellevue, I would become a regular at this bar—park my Ferrari outside, wink at the hostess on the way in, order the “usual” (a Pearl Collins, light on the sour). That’s not likely to happen, but this I will tell you: if the print media still exists next year and I’m still employed in it, I will definitely hit it up for happy hour before our annual awards ceremony. See you next year (fingers crossed), Pearl.

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