You don't have to blow $300 to get the hotel treatment in a hotel; just drop in for a drink. Hotel restaurants usually have some

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Hotels Make for Great Filling Stations

You don't have to blow $300 to get the hotel treatment in a hotel; just drop in for a drink. Hotel restaurants usually have some aroma of the corporate, but overlook that for the service. Whether you're full on dining or stopping in for a brandy and coffee, all lobby, bar, and restaurant customers are treated like hotel guests, a civilized respite from the ofttimes insincere "thank you, come again" of retail chaos. My favorite high-octane pit stops in spitting distance of movies and downtown retail:

Dragonfish (Paramount Hotel, Pine & 9th Ave.) Cheap drinks and Amer-asian bar food, plus half sushi rolls from 4-6pm and 10pm-1am everyday, and 3pm til close on Mondays. 2 Immortal IPAs, tofu pillows, a generous half poke roll, curried jo-jos, and edamame cost just over $20. Solid, filling, fast.

Red Fin (Hotel Max, Stewart & 6th Ave.) I didn't know this was the sister restaurant of Wasabi Bistro in Belltown, the Asian fusion thing again, but a little more contemporary. Whenever I've ducked in here, I've received nothing but the warmest welcome and the loveliest service. Happy hour (4-6pm and 10pm-1am) brings $4 sushi rolls, cheap edamame (beware the smoked salt!), and always 2-3 interesting draft selections.

(Guilty pleasure: I love the $3 pots of hot sake at both places. One gives me the warm fuzzies. Two take all my cares of crowds and spending away.)

Oliver's (Mayflower Park, Olive & 4th Ave.)This is the kind of bar where you can still spy old guys in suits drinking like it's their job. Free bar snacks at happy hour and excellent Manhattans; though it's almost a shame not to order a gin martini here.

Lola (Virginia & 4th Ave.) Disclaimer: I worked for the big guy until recently. And to tell you how much I enjoy Lola's bar: I still go there even without my (sigh) formerly super-sweet discount. Happy hour (4:30-6pm) means $2 giant Greek beers and an assortment of more creative than usual bar snacks, like savory doughnuts.

 
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