Casuelita's

The downstairs bar is awfully snug at Casuelita's, so conversations can't help but bleed into each other. From 4 to 7 p.m. weeknights, glam-casual thirtysomethings gab about the new man/woman/mortgage in their lives; the gentlemen, in particular, banter with the peppy, pretty barkeeps. Though the drink and tapas menus are decidedly Caribbean, the decor is tastefully spare; it's on the plate and in the glass that the colors come out. Well drinks are just $2, but cocktails are also discounted ($1 off regular prices), which makes it that much easier to justify ordering the Zombie ($6.50), a potent potion of fruit juices and rums that tastes like mango candy. Among the tapas, the baccalitos (salt-cod fritters) and glazed plantains ($3 each)—both accompanied by generous slices of just-ripe mango—provide the necessary carb base for a multicocktail weeknight. 81 Vine St., 206-770-0155. BELLTOWN

 
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