Campagne Restaurant: $5 Tanqueray

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Duck under the neon red lettering for Inn at the Market, past the fishbowl of a kitchen, and through an outdoor courtyard, and you will find Campagne Restaurant's cozy bar. Opened in 1985, Campagne is one of Seattle's great-granddaddies of French cuisine, and it offers a highly Frenchified happy hour. Situated a floor beneath the main restaurant, Cafe Campagne opened in 1994 to offer a smaller, more casual experience. You'd expect Cafe Campagne to have a happy hour, then, but no. When I wandered into the cafe in search of the bar menu I'd heard about, I was disappointed to find that they didn't offer happy de hour—and that they didn't know to send me upstairs. When I finally made it to the original Campagne, I slid into a tall seat at the bar, where martinis and French 75s cost $5 each between 5 and 7 p.m. daily (Absolut or Tanqueray well drinks and 20-ounce bottles of Fischer d'Alsace, a French amber ale, cost the same). I sampled a French 75, which, as the suave bartender explained, is named for the French howitzer—a 75 mm artillery piece—as well as the powerful kick of the drink itself. Mixed with Tanqueray gin and fresh lemon juice, and topped with a fizz of champagne, this not-too-sweet cocktail paired nicely with all the rich food we ordered (the bar menu is offered from 5:30 to 10 p.m.): pomme frites, for one, served in a tall cone with aioli, as well as a tiny paté sandwich on an herby Gruyère pastry. The sandwich, which cost a mere dollar, was accompanied by a fork. I took the hint, though my friend exhibited no compunctions about treating his mini-meal as finger food. We also indulged in tartare de boeuf: The chopped raw beef arrived in quenelles, a three-sided oblong form created by pressing spoonfuls of the delicious, mustardy concoction together. When we asked our server why downstairs would have no idea what upstairs was doing, our server replied, "They're our sister restaurant. Our little sister." You want the big sister. Campagne Restaurant, 86 Pine St., 728-2800, www.campagnerestaurant.com. PIKE PLACE MARKET

 
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