I dropped into Pair in Ravenna the other night, and found myself reminded of the soaring excellence of its happy hour food. It’s not a neighborhood in my orbit, so it’s easy to forget the endearing French farmhouse at the corner of 55th and 30th and the way its happy hour staples—mac and cheese bubbling with fontina, crisp cheese gougeres, brisket sliders with horseradish creme fraiche that transcend their hackneyed genre to genuinely satisfy, lush brandade croquettes—are prepared as carefully as the daily special, every time you order them. That’s a feat, when you’re talking small plates for $5 that they’ve been making for years. If they’re boring the kitchen, it doesn’t show. They’re not boring us.
The great Pair experience got me thinking about other timeless Seattle spots with memorable happy hour food. (Contact the restaurants for specific happy hour times.) Lecosho, with its meat-heavy menu and outstanding $5 spaetzle. Barolo and List, which for happy hour take 50 percent off their Italian food and bar menus, respectively. (List’s $7 black truffle gnocchi alone is worth parking in Belltown).
At Rock Creek Seafood and Spirits, happy hour happens every day, and includes seafood you don’t find on many happy hour menus, like a $9 crispy-fried oyster roll. For sheer choice, the improbably solid Toulouse Petit offers one of the most exhaustive happy hour menus starring $4ish to $8ish shellfish, bruschetta, charcuterie, salad, and other selections.
At Tango, it’s all about the Pan-Latin flavors, meatballs to ceviche, (and served in happy hour prices all day Tuesdays). At Stoneburner in Ballard, it’s all about the $11 wood-fired pizzas. At Ba Bar, it’s all about the pho.
What’s it all about for you?