Best Outdoor Drinking

Red Lion Hotel

Want in on a little secret? If you walk into downtown's Red Lion Hotel and take the elevator to the fifth floor, there is an immaculate patio with prime views of Puget Sound and the downtown skyline. Owing to the somewhat covert location, it's almost never crowded, even on the sunniest Seattle summer days. You don't even have to be a hotel guest to enjoy the scenery, just a paying customer. The food and drinks are overpriced (it is a hotel bar, after all), but a happy hour, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., makes things more affordable. And besides, a little mild price-gouging is not too much to pay for the privilege of sipping your drink while gazing down from one of the sweetest vantage points around. KEEGAN HAMILTON 1415 Fifth Ave., 971-8000,

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