When: Happy Hour: 5 to 7 p.m., M-F; 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday
What Does $13 Get You? Half a bucket of Kronenbourgs ($7.50), an order of Moules Marinière (mussels steamed with butter, $2.95) and Salmon Coulibiac (fish and friends in a pastry, $2.95)
The first and only time I'd ever been served a bucket of beer before my trip to the Market's Maximilien was in Nashville. Happy hour was a about to end, and we each ordered a few rounds to get properly housed on Bud Light, one of only three beers seemingly served in Nashville. It is not the kind of experience I expected an encore performance of six years later at Maximillien, a potential tourist trap tucked behind those boys tossing fish, and around the corner for the ladies peddling tea. Their long-standing happy hour, boasting better-than-average snacks for $2.95 and and the aforementioned suds hits the sweet spot in recession-era drinking and dining.
You don't feel like you're slumming for a cheap fix when you're overlook Elliott Bay, sipping on France's Kronenbourg, and noshing on mussels and little balls of salmon. (As an aside, I overheard a fellow drinker ask, "Can you bring me a glass of beer?" as if her options were merely beer, wine, and liquor. I wish the waiter would have brought her a bucket.*
I split some Kronenbourgs recently -- an obvious upgrade from the last bottle I pulled from a bucket -- just as the clock struck 5 p.m. and my friend and I had the place to ourselves. You could say there's something unremarkably low-brow about serving six beers at once in an aluminum tub with a handle. I beg to differ. It's cheaper, for one, and you only have to flag down the waiter once ever six beers. Not bad for a couple of low-maintenance, budget-conscious snackers. And if you're pulling beer from a bucket on a Monday afternoon, you know you are.
*When I pulled a summer stint at a movie theater, people used to ask for "popcorn and soda" all the time. It pissed me off. Do you really need me to ask you "What kind of soda"? I eventually started serving unspecific patron a cup of ice filled with Coke.