Four Burgers and a Beer for $13

And other reasonable options at McCormick & Schmick's happy hour.

$13 worth of McCormick & Schmick's happy hour, 3 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close, Mon–Sat.; 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. Sun.

Location: 1103 First Ave.

What does $13 get you? $8 martini and $4.95 beef skewers; or if you're starving: four burgers ($1.95 each) and a Stella Artois ($5), plus tax and tip.

Recommended? Highly.

Tip: Give it a shot for a late lunch. You only have to spend $2.50 on a beverage to get the happy hour deals. So, you can grab a cup of coffee and a burger at 3 p.m. for inside of $5.

McCormick & Schmick's is my Wrigley Field of downtown happy hours.

It's a classic, imperfect, and I can't sip anywhere else in town without holding up this First Avenue spot's happy hour menu against it.

A friend of mine, a one-time bellman at the Four Seasons (now the Fairmont), introduced McCormick to me when I was barely 21, and I've enjoyed $1.95 burgers and halibut collar (a must-try when it's on the menu) there more than anywhere else in town.

Unfortunately, it's not much of a secret. On any given evening, you'll have a hard time finding a single chair or inch of windowsill available in the bar, unless you send in a scout before 4 p.m.

Yes, the $1.95 half-pound cheeseburgers are the crown jewel of this happy hour. It's the constant on an ever-rotating happy hour menu that creeps up to $5.95 for some items. The burger is much better than, say, Contour's $1.95 patty down the street, thought not at good as the Met's (which is also a bit spendier at $4.95). But it's solid. Warning: They undercook the burgers. So if you usually order medium, bring it up to at least medium-well (though, I usually call "well").

Wandering away from the burger (you have to sometimes), I don't recommend the oysters on the half shell, which were recently going for $5.95 a half-dozen. They're served sans ice on a dinner plate at room temperature and look more like oceanic loogies than the well-manicured platter you'd get up the street at Shuckers (which rolls out $1 oysters during its [shorter] happy hour).

On my most recent visit, I tried, for the first time, the beef skewers ($4.95). Had I been simply looking for a snack alongside my Tanqueray martini ($8), I would have been sufficiently satisfied. But as I was trying to multitask and get dinner taken care of during happy hour, I found myself wanting. But, hey, there's no shame in calling in a cheeseburger to top yourself off. That is, if you've got more than $13 to spend.

 
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