The Place: The Bookstore Bar & Cafe, 92 Madison St., 206-382-1506
The Hours: Daily, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
It's cheesy. And classy.
The Digs: Located in the front lobby of the Alexis Hotel, The Bookstore is one of those places that literally feels like it jumped from the pages of a book. You can relax in comfort alone with a book, paper or laptop on a rainy day, warm and content, watching the battle of the 1st Avenue bustle against Seattle's famous elements, feeling a bit like a voyeur in a classic French novella. Or, on a sunny day, enjoy a drink and date outdoors on its small patio amid the hustle and bustle of a downtown that could be anywhere from Milan to Madrid. Lined with shelves of books and whiskeys, and staffed by Seattle's friendliest, The Bookstore evokes memories of European cafes on summer afternoons, or dark, mysterious nights amidst strangers. Since it is a hotel bar, in fact, one might enjoy an evening amongst strangers here, as the bar at The Bookstore is a friendly - and often crowded - meeting place for locals and visitors alike.
A happy hour meal that is one billion times better (and happier) than a Happy Meal.
The Deal: This generous happy hour is daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and features $4 drink specials of house red and white wines, all draft beers and well cocktails. Food specials are $5 entree-sized affairs and range from a creamy three-cheese macaroni, liberally topped with crunchy breadcrumbs, to perfectly crisped and delicate Dungeness crab cakes. Other options include shoe-string fries topped with curdled chunks of blue cheese, mussels in a steamy chorizo and saffron broth, a full-sized Bistro burger with fries, or a generous bowl of creamy clam chowder.
The Verdict: It's basic, but at the same time not at all basic; You can have a full meal and a drink at The Bookstore's happy hour for less than $10, and there a few places downtown that can beat that deal. It's just toppers that for the same $10 you can actually enjoy a "good" drink and a truly impressive meal in a classy - and classic - setting, watching the world whirl past you beyond the reflections in the windows of The Bookstore Bar.