Roanoke Inn

A Mercer Island pub with a worn, warm welcome and Spuds MacKenzie.

Pay no heed to the alcohol promo items at historic Roanoke Inn—a Spuds MacKenzie dog, a Budweiser mini–car race track, a Heineken-branded windmill—and you'll see what the place is about: community. Solo guys sit at the wooden bar, reading a newspaper over a pint of beer or watching whatever game is on the flat-screen TV. Some seem to know each other, swapping "How are the kids doing?" Groups, mostly all male, share booths, splitting orders of Wings of Fire ($8.75). There is not an iota of hipsterness, Belltown pretension, or corporate energy here, which is why the Roanoke Inn's happy hour (4–6 p.m. Monday–Friday) is such a gem. Only beer on tap and house wine are discounted at happy hour, but the inn has rotating food specials: On a recent Tuesday, beef tacos were on sale for $7.75 and a special turkey avocado BLT was going for $9.95. I opted for a smoky salmon burger ($9.75) with an iceberg lettuce salad that reminded me of something I'd get in the Midwest. The burger tasted delightful with the malty Powder Hound Winter Ale ($3.29, happy-hour price), and a glass of so-so house Chardonnay ($3.89) served as my dessert. The inn, which was founded in 1914, may have been edgy during Prohibition, but now it's comfortably worn and chummy. MOLLY LORI

 
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