Happy Hour Evolved

A guide to drinks, nibbles and fun

There was a time when Happy Hour consisted of free bar nuts and tasteless beers. In today’s world, Happy Hour has evolved to include gourmet eats and exceptional drinks. With today’s food-centric society, Happy Hour regulars expect fabulous cocktails and epicurean food and demand it at reasonable prices. The astute locations cater to these connoisseurs, knowing that with a good menu and atmosphere, people will come back. The 425 area is blessed with some of the best spots for fabulous drinks, amazing food, fun atmosphere and great places to meet up with friends. Forget the reservations. The bar beckons.

For a really good deal — hit the Diamond Knot
If there ever was a bar where everybody “knows your name,” it is the Diamond Knot Craft Brewing Co. in Mukilteo. The minute patrons walk into the Diamond Knot, sounds of laughter amongst the signature, sizzling plates of food welcome them inside. It is a home away from home for the regulars. Monday through Friday, the locals come in for the snack and beer specials in the afternoon and Tuesday night, the Diamond Knot has a little fun with its customers. Tightwad Tuesday features a specially priced brew from 6pm until closing. Just a short jaunt down the street is the “family-friendly” sister restaurant, the Diamond Knot Pizza House with an equally tasty Happy Hour menu and of course, Tightwad Tuesday specials. As they say at the Diamond Knot, “Your Wednesday mornings will never be the same!”

Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse, 621-A Front St., Mukilteo
Happy Hour: 2:30-6:30pm, Mon.-Fri. and 6pm-close, Tuesdays

For the night owls craving, mean martinis, and more — head to Lot No. 3
Over the past few years, the art of making the cocktail has evolved. Today, the classic cocktails of the glorious times of alcohol’s past are the standouts on menus. Just like the days of old, quality is the most important ingredient in the mixed drinks at Lot No. 3 in Bellevue. Here, they are concocting classics like the Old Fashioned with rye whiskey and bitters along with innovative cocktails like the Rocketeer with gin, lemon, lillet blanc, chocolate stout reduction and chocolate bitters. Lot No. 3 drinks are unparalleled and during Happy Hour they are as low as $7. But Lot No. 3 not only makes a mean cocktail, it manages to do something truly remarkable. If you miss Happy Hour from 3pm-6pm, head to the second Happy Hour, starting at 10pm and order the plate of bacon — comes with Nueske’s slab and candied bacon. It is pure genius. And at $3.50 during Happy Hour, it is acceptable to order more than one plate.

Lot No. 3, 460 106th Ave. N.E., Bellevue
Happy Hour: 3-6pm and 10pm-midnight, Sun.-Thurs. and until 1am on Fri.-Sat.

For a happening scene — head to Milagro Cantina
At Milagro Cantina, the bar is the place in town to be and be seen. With a funky lounge complete with a large fire pit and a gnarly, bottle-balancing tree, the atmosphere is pretty unique. Milagro Cantina also has a front-row seat to the happenings of downtown Kirkland with an outdoor, heated patio lined with softly lit, hanging lights. The flicker of candles highlights the indoor bar space when the sun goes down with a chic vibe. At Happy Hour, the food and drinks are as fun and beautiful as the clientele and ambiance. Between the hours of 3pm and 6pm, butternut squash tacos are the talk of the town. But don’t stop reading the menu there. The guacamole is freshly made with roasted poblano chiles, garlic and tomatoes, topped with cojita cheese all for only $3. For something unique, try the chile relleno; a salt cod, crab and potato puree stuffed piquillo pepper, deep fried to perfection. Grab a seat indoors or out, eat some fabulous food and take in the scene.

Milagro Cantina, 148 Lake St. S., Kirkland
Happy Hour: 3-6pm and 9pm-close, daily

For wine lovers looking to unwind — head to Sip
After a long day at the office and perhaps a taxing commute, there are few better moments than relaxing with a nice glass of wine and the letting the stress of the day fade away into the past. Before heading home, stop at Sip in the Issaquah Highlands for a calm, peaceful and truly fantastic glass of wine. Featuring superb wines from around the world, there is a taste for every palate, sophisticated or not. During Happy Hour, Sip offers five white and six red wine pours for only $7. All small plates are $3 off the regular price and, for the non-wine drinkers, $5 house spirits and $7 house martinis help calm the nerves. Take a moment, sip on a complex and lovely glass of wine and wash away the stress of the day. There is no better cure for a hard day at work.

Sip, 1084 N.E. Park Dr., Issaquah
Happy Hour: 4-6pm, Mon.-Fri.

When you want a different kind of shot —head to Matt’s Rotisserie
Every night needs a great starting point. Matt’s Rotisserie in the Redmond Town Center is an ideal locale to get the evening started off right. Here, it is all about the quick shot. Not with alcohol, but rather with oysters. With numerous varieties of the bivalves to choose from, many locally raised, there is a size, type and taste for everyone. During Happy Hour, featured oysters are only $.99. It’s the best deal in town. Chase the oysters with a $4 draft or $5 glass of house wine. Try the Cambozola flatbread, flash-fried calamari or the house specialty rotisserie chicken on top of a bed of nachos for some more filling, delicious bites. Stop by after work, sip on a martini and slurp down some oysters. The night deserves a worthy beginning.

Matt’s Rotisserie, Redmond Town Center, 16551 N.E. 74th St., Redmond
Happy Hour: 3-6pm and 9–close, daily

For outstanding food — head to John Howie Steak
Prime tenderloin bites with navel orange supremes, chives and teriyaki. Chicken liver mousse with shallots, cream and cognac, pinot noir grape aspic, pickled shallots, huckleberry reduction and golden raisin jam. Deviled eggs with truffled bacon. These mouth-watering, inspired bites can only be found at one location; John Howie Steak at The Bravern in Bellevue. And these offerings are not on the regular menu. Enjoying Happy Hour at John Howie Steak feels like a special treat. In reality, it’s affordable and delicious making it the best quality, inexpensive dinner in the city. The most popular item is the half-pound, USDA Prime Beef bacon cheeseburger. Topped with locally made Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar and Kurobuta bacon, it’s heaven on a plate. Wash all this glorious food down with specially priced beers, wine and martinis. John Howie also offers a special cocktail of the month for $7. For the price and quality, this Happy Hour is habit forming. TIP: For the unlucky few that can’t make the daily Happy Hour, the bacon burger also is available all day Sunday!

John Howie Steak, 11111 N.E. 8th St., Bellevue
Happy Hour: 3pm-6pm, daily

Other Happy Hour Deals
Whether it is a bar slinging hot wings or a four-star, linen-tablecloth sort of restaurant, most every place nowadays celebrates Happy Hour. It is a great time for restaurants to try out new menu items and a way for people to test drive a new place without blowing the budget. It is a win-win for both parties. So pull up a stool and enjoy the best time of day. Here are 25 more Happy Hour finds we love. Leave a comment below to tell us your favorites, too!

  1. Fried green tomatoes served on grits, $5.50
    Prohibition Grille, Everett
  2. A tavern for gamers and cheap cheeseburgers, $4
    AFK Tavern, Everett
  3. Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, $5
    Azul Restaurant & Lounge, Mill Creek
  4. Brown sugar mozz bread, $4
    The Rock Wood-fired Pizza, Lynnwood
  5. Grilled spicy pancetta prawns, $6
    The Loft Café & Social Lounge, Edmonds
  6. House-made New York carpaccio, $10
    Italianissmo, Woodinville
  7. Wine-friendly gorgonzola stuffed dates, $6
    Purple Café and Wine Bar, Woodinville
  8. $3 for the best “tater” tots made with polenta
    Preservation Kitchen, Bothell
  9. House sangria
    Brix, Juanita
  10. The best mojitos in town, specially-priced at $5.50
    Cactus, Kirkland
  11. 1/2 off all small plates
    Trellis, Kirkland
  12. Manila clam steamers in white wine garlic sauce, $8
    Hector’s, Kirkland
  13. $3.25 Irish ales
    Celtic Bayou, Redmond
  14. 1/2 off the best nachos in town
    The Matador, Redmond
  15. 1/2 off fondue — chocolate or cheese
    The Melting Pot, Bellevue
  16. Four-cheese stuffed sliders, $5
    Palomino, Bellevue
  17. Satay, $4
    Wild Ginger, The Bravern, Bellevue
  18. Happy hour in the entire restaurant and Volcano goat cheese
    Tap House Grill, Bellevue
  19. $5 apps and $1.50 oysters
    Monsoon East, Bellevue
  20. Truffled pommes frites with blue cheese aioli, $4 & $6
    Bis on Main, Bellevue
  21. Italian spring rolls for $6 and Mac & Jack for $4
    520 Bar & Grill, Bellevue
  22. Smaller rosse and bianche pizzas
    Tutta Bella, Issaquah
  23. Sunset burger and fries, $5
    Sunset Alehouse, Issaquah
  24. White truffle popcorn for under $4
    Vino at the Landing, Renton
  25. 20 percent off glass pours
    The Met Coffee & Wine Bar, Renton
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