Embrace the madness. Photo via Seattle Center's Facebook page.

Twelve special discounted food menus and six drinks can be yours if you brave the pandemonium at Seattle’s Best Damn Happy Hour, the Armory-wide happy hour that debuted in February and reliably draws crowds on the third Thursday of each month. Last time around, more than 1,300 people showed.

Upon arrival you get a raffle ticket and an entry band; mine was distributed by a greeter who looked as if she just finished an Olympic track relay. The rest of her cohorts looked just as frazzled—and with good reason. The place was packed. Despite some chaotic logistics, the Armory’s monthly soiree is worth long lines and a wild crowd. Esteemed culinary occupants like Skillet, Plum Market, Mod Pizza, and The Confectional offer up special menus and happy hour prices to help hip, young professionals unwind. You won’t spend more than $7 on a single item and can enjoy free life-size Jenga and Scrabble, mini-golf, and vintage video games like Sega and Nintendo 64 while raffle prizes rain down. Follow this simple survival guide when confronting the untamed mass of hungry urbanites this Thursday, April 18.

1. Arrive early
Steel barricades help with crowd control, but a little wait is worth scoring a plate of $7 wings from Skillet, usually $11 at the diner location. You’ll also be first in line to play Sega and Nintendo.

2. Get street parking
You only score validated parking if you spend more than $10 on a single receipt, and receipts can’t be combined. It wouldn’t be hard to do, but getting street parking is worth pacing yourself for the three-hour affair.

3. Score a table first
You’d be surprised at how fast seating vanishes. And once you’re seated, cling to your spot. The servers are adept at handling long lines, so waits are actually tolerable at each counter. Lose that hard-won seat and you’ll be balancing those sliders from Bigfood BBQ on your knees. Latecomers don't hesitate to settle in on the floor.

4. Listen for your number
 Every guest gets a raffle ticket at the door and there were multiple no-shows for prizes like concert tickets and restaurant specials, despite the emcee calling numbers several times. Listen for the bad music to stop every 30 minutes and pay attention.

5. Try the blueberry-ginger punch
This tasty booze, one of a few drinks custom-made for the event, is worth the $7 hole in your wallet. The blue potion comes in such a small cup that the price might first feel like a rip-off, but the ginger ale, blueberry, and rum mixture is plenty potent. It also comes sans alcohol if you’re looking to pace yourself. 

Seattle’s Best Damn Happy Hour happens every third Thursday from 5pm-8pm at Seattle Center. Don’t forget to bring a large group of people, there’s safety in numbers. 


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