You’ve worked a hard 9 to 5, and maybe the day was good enough (or rough enough) to merit a drink with friends. But then there’s the eternal struggle — “Where should we go?” We scoured the Eastside so you don’t have to, picking out the best happetizers in your neighborhood. But we didn’t do it alone. We asked local chefs for recommendations off their own menus, and we asked readers where they choose to sit back and relax. These spots will give you a reason to duck out of work early, or stay out for a late-night snack. Burgers, mac ’n cheese, tacos, nachos, oh my!
By Lauren Foster, Margo Greenman, and Karen Miller
16175 Cleveland St., Redmond
Daily 3-6 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday from 10 p.m.-midnight
Here at 425, we like to think of ourselves as mac ’n cheese aficionados. Connoisseurs of the cheese, masters of the mac. And Woodblock in Redmond has one of the top mac ’n cheeses on the Eastside — and you can get it for happy hour! It’s got six different cheeses, crisp Granny Smith apple matchsticks, and a truffle sauce.
Or, there’s the Woodblock burger (previous page), which is $10 on the happy hour menu. This blended beef burger is special, thanks to the house-smoked pork belly and the garlic-chili aioli. The burger is complemented with cremini mushrooms for a big juicy bite. And make sure to order the Woodblock wings — they are full of flavor.
Woodblock is relatively new on the “block” (sorry; we had to); it opened in March 2016. Over the past year, it’s really made a name for itself in Redmond and on the greater Eastside.
“High-quality grass-fed beef from Double R Ranch, a brioche bun from Macrina, and our house-smoked pork belly. Put those ingredients together and you have yourself something very special.” —Woodblock executive chef Savuthy Dy
Redmond’s Bar and Grill
7979 Leary Way N.E., Redmond
Daily from 3-6 p.m.;
Sunday-Thursday from 9 p.m.-midnight.
Unwind and shoot pool at Redmond’s Bar and Grill. Choose from a happy hour food menu and a large list of drinks — all specially priced at $4-$9 for happy hour. The Thai chicken flatbread is a good choice, loaded with grilled chicken, cabbage, carrots, cheese, onions, and cilantro, and topped with peanut sauce and Sriracha.
Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar
205 108th Av.e N.E., Bellevue
Monday-Friday 3:30-6 p.m.
Visit Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar during its weekday afternoon happy hour, and you can’t go wrong with chef John Howie’s favorite crispy fried Thai sa-teh chicken bites. These tasty morsels are smothered in a lemongrass-yellow curry marinade and served with Thai sweet chili sauce, cilantro, and lime. Wash it down with the Beaming Apple Cocktail for the full effect.
The Three Lions Pub
8115 161st Ave. N.E., Redmond
Weekdays 4-6 p.m.
Longing for something from across the pond? Try comfort food like steak and kidney pie or sausage rolls at this English-style pub. Stop by happy hour for $4 premium well drinks, glasses of wine $2 off, and $1 off draught beer and ciders.
535 Bellevue Square
Weekdays 3-6 p.m., weekends 3-5 p.m.
In the mood for some Southwest flavor? Cactus, which has a handful of locations across the region — including Bellevue Square — offers a wide variety of Tex-Mex fare to sate your craving. If you stop in during happy hour, chef Brent Novotny recommends the Camerones D’ El Diablo, a medley of crispy prawns, spicy Diablo sauce, coriander-pasilla verduras escabeche, and mango-pineapple mojo. Novotny said the dish is great for sharing, “is the perfect balance of spicy from the Diablo sauce, and sweet from the mango-pineapple mojo.” Novotny also recommends pairing it with the Cactus Margarita, a classic made with 100 percent Blue Agave Blanco, organic agave nectar, and lime. It’s a fiesta of flavor.
505 Bellevue Square
Daily 3-6 p.m., 10 p.m.-close
Known for its burgers, flatbreads, and beer selection, Tavern Hall offers delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere. Pop in during happy hour, and the bites, drinks, and mood are just as good, but at a fraction of the cost. Not sure what to order? Chef Zach King says to try the crispy battered shishito peppers. “They are generally mild, but you occasionally find a really spicy one, which is a great surprise. The Korean ketchup, made with gochujang, has a rich pepper and spice flavor.” If you can’t handle the heat from the peppers, cool things down with Tavern Hall’s signature Moscow mule. “We make our own ginger beer for our Moscow mule, and then put the Moscow mule on draft in the bar,” said King. “It is really refreshing with a good spice from the fresh ginger. The copper mug is fun and keeps the drink extra cold as well.”
14508 Woodinville-Redmond Road N.E., Woodinville
Tuesday-Friday 3-6 p.m.
Beer with whiskey? Bring it on. The bartender’s special at Hollywood Tavern is a tap pint with a shot of Woodinville Whiskey on the side. If that sounds too strong, they also have bubbly sips like Ste. Michelle brut or brut rosé. The food menu ranges from stuffed mushroom caps to fried pickles served with buffalo dipping sauce. Chef Gene Davis thinks everyone should try the Guadalajara-inspired tequila lime fish tacos, combined with a blood orange margarita (which is not on the happy hour menu, but worth it!). “Our inspiration is simplicity with authentic techniques and fresh, local ingredients. The tacos pair amazingly well with the margarita made with tequila, blood orange juice, fresh squeezed lime, and simple syrup served on the rocks with a thyme-cayenne salt rim. Guests can kick back around our fire pit, or belly up to the bar and enjoy happy hour with us weekdays.”
John Howie Steak
11111 N.E. Eighth St., Bellevue
Daily 3-6 p.m.; Monday-Thursday 9-11 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 10 p.m.-midnight
At John Howie Steak, good food is always on the menu. But during happy hour, you can feast like a king or queen on a dime. If you visit the restaurant for its midday or late-night happy hour, Howie recommends the USDA prime beef bacon cheeseburger. It’s a half-pound mammoth of mesquite-grilled beef served on a house-baked bun and loaded with thick-cut Kurobuta bacon, Beecher’s Reserve cheddar cheese, and fresh lettuce, tomato, and onions. Are you drooling yet?
500 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue
Daily 3-6 p.m.;
Monday-Thursday 9-10 p.m.,
and Friday-Saturday 10-11 p.m.
During happy hour, Wild Ginger, which opens this month at the new location, serves up a variety of tasty bites, including chef David Yeo’s personal favorite, the fragrant duck sliders. “This happy hour take on our house specialty can’t be missed,” said Yeo. Warm steamed buns are stuffed with succulent duck that’s been spiced with cinnamon and star anise and paired with a side of plum sauce for dipping. “Our sliders are a perfect dish for sharing, but be careful … you will fight over who gets the last one!” To drink, Yeo recommends the bartender’s special. “I like to mix up my drink order, and our bartenders are constantly creating fresh and festive cocktails that are a hit with our loyal crowd,” said Yeo. “A recent favorite was the Kentucky Peachy. Made with Pêche de Vigne, Bulleit bourbon, house-made sour, Aperol, and peach purée, it was the perfect way to cap off a long workday. Our bar team won’t steer you wrong!”
“Our sliders are a perfect dish for sharing, but be careful … you will fight over who gets the last one!”
Beardslee Public House
19116 Beardslee Blvd., Bothell
Monday-Friday 3-6 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
At Beardslee Public House, you’ll find local ales bubbling with fresh flavor. Head brewer Drew Cluley has been crafting beers for 20 years. At Beardslee, he’s concocted everything from the Knuckle Boom ESB, which is malty and spicy to the Beaver Bait Blonde. Chef John Howie and his team designed the menu so that each brew pairs with the perfect food item. Don’t miss the housemade brewing grain pretzel on the happy hour menu. “My favorite brew with the pretzel is the award-winning Sidewinder Stout — a dark and rich brew with a bold ‘roastyness,’ and a hint of dark chocolate,” said Howie. All house-brewed ales are $4 a pint during happy hour.
“My favorite brew with the pretzel is the award-winning Sidewinder Stout.”
221 Main Ave. S., Renton
Daily 3-6 p.m.
A German gastropub in the heart of downtown Renton? Ja! Berliner Pub keeps 18 German beers on tap that go perfectly with their housemade brats. It also serves Brätzel, a pretzel that comes with two tasty mustards. The space itself looks like a traditional German beer hall. If it’s sunny, try the outdoor patio. Plus, there’s a perk for parents — kids are welcome until 10 p.m. Happy hour drinks are $3.
7824 Leary Way N.E., Redmond
Daily 4-6 p.m.; 10 p.m.-1 a.m.
Happy hour is a good deal at The Matador. Prices range from $2 for a warm basket of chips with salsa or $6 for spicy fried calamari. Our pick? Try the $5 nachos grande! Go in with a friend; these nachos are not tossing the word “grande” around lightly. Or if you want something a little less mountainous, go for the street tacos, which come with beef, carnitas, al pastor, chorizo, or shredded chicken. Tacos are priced at $1.50 each!
Lot No. 3
460 106th Ave. N.E., Bellevue
Daily 3-6 p.m.; 10 p.m.-close
For classic comfort food, cocktails, and beers in an industrial setting dressed up with vintage-chic vibes, Lot No. 3 knows best. The restaurant also knows how to dish up a killer happy hour. “Nothing represents happy hour more than fried food and cold beer,” said chef Enrique Reza, who also oversees the kitchen at the popular Purple Bellevue. Because of this, his favorite Lot No. 3 happy hour item is the fried Beecher’s cheese curds with Pomodoraccio tomato pesto and a cold beer. “We love using locally produced Beecher’s cheese curds. We toss them with fresh herbs and panko and fry them until the cheese is nice and melted on the inside, but the outside stays nice and crispy. Pair that with anything from our friends at Holy Mountain Brewing, and you’ve got one happy hour,” Reza said.
“Nothing represents happy hour more than fried food and cold beer.”
14580 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville
Daily 4-6 p.m.
Sip cocktails, brews, and wines at Fireside Lounge, located off the main lobby of Willows Lodge. If it’s any indication, the happy hour menu is branded “Happier Hour” because it provokes a deeper level of joy. Executive chef Bobby Moore recommends trying Chef B’s lamb slider for $5. “It’s so unique,” he said. “We make it with a Macrina brioche bun, fresh lamb topped with creamy goat cheese, red wine onions, aioli, and arugula. Pair this with a Sumerian pilsner for $5, and you’ve got the perfect match.” If beer really isn’t your thing, wine is $3 off, and draft cocktails are $9.
121 Kirkland Ave., Kirkland
Daily 4-6 p.m.
Seafood lovers, listen up. For $8, you can get Taylor Shellfish Mediterranean mussels and Manila clams steamed in a spicy tomato broth or sea scallops seared and served with eggplant caponata and roasted garlic aioli. If you have friends in tow that prefer turf to surf, they can opt for lamb sliders and a tasty Italian cheese selection. Signature cocktails are $6.
148 Lake St. S., Kirkland
Daily 3-6 p.m.
Nothing says, “forget the workday” like a pile of chips smothered in queso asadero, guacamole, black beans, pickled jalapeños, pico de gallo, and cilantro crema. There’s never a bad time to nosh on nachos, but happy hour at Milagro Cantina is among the best. The nachos are $6.
Tipsy Cow Burger Bar
16345 Cleveland St., Redmond; 14111 Northeast Woodinville-Duvall Road
Daily 3-6 p.m., and the last
hour before closing
Moooove yourself over to Redmond for red meat, fries, shakes, and drinks. What could be better? Try the Cow Poutine with fries, Beecher’s cheese curds, housemade veal gravy, and a fried egg. Decadent? Yes. Worth it? Oh, but of course.
Crossroads Bellevue, Issaquah Commons
Daily 3-6 p.m.; 9 p.m.-close
At Tutta Bella, you can get happy hour anywhere in the restaurant. As the kids chow down on pizza, adults can enjoy a well-deserved drink. The happy hour menu is expansive, and if you like cocktails, try the fruity and fizzy options. Executive chef Brian Gojdics recommends the Giuseppe pizzetta and the Castra Nicia craft cocktail. “Beside the fact that both are incredibly tasty, they are both very well-balanced to boot. With the Giuseppe, the combination of the capocolla, olives, chile, stracciatella, and egg combines salty, spicy, fatty flavors that play well and marry together. The same can be said for the Castra Nicia — the way that the Buffalo Trace, Averna, Aperol, and lime play off of each other is a match made in heaven.”