Twilight Martini Lounge

One of the city's newer havens for boozehounds, Twilight is stranded in the no-man's land between Uptown and Belltown (Upper Belltown?). The narrow, bean-shaped space—its walls blood red, its floors hardwood, its lighting perfect—is a true lounge, thanks to the creatively scattered couches and multicolored overhead lights. Twilight's happy hours are generous (4–7 p.m. weeknights, 6–9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays), as is the drink pricing: Big, tart lemon drops, cosmos, and (of course) Stoli martinis go for $4.95; well drinks are $3.95, and house wines come in at $2.95 a glass. Yet it's the food that truly defies expectations. For $4.95, anything on the "fresh sheet menu"—including traditional shrimp cocktail and organic greens with candied walnuts, apples, and Gorgonzola with balsamic vinaigrette—can be yours. (Twilight doesn't serve entrées at all, just small plates.) We tried the hummus platter and Dungeness crab cakes, both of which were better than anticipated. Though we'd have loved a higher hummus-to-pita ratio, the warm bread ("from the Pike Place Market," according to the menu) was neither over- nor underbaked, and the diced tomatoes and sliced kalamata olives nicely accented the hummus (garlicky enough to be good, but not enough to spoil your date). The crab cakes were refreshingly low on filler, and their roasted-garlic aioli had enough kick to enhance them without drowning out their flavor. One perk on rainy nights: The floor-to-ceiling windows let you gaze out on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, martini in hand, and scoff at the commuters crawling home. 2125 Western Ave., 206-443-1212, www.twilightmartini.com. BELLTOWN

 
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