The Place: The Caroline, 13702 15th Ave. N.E., 363-3300, NORTHGATE
From early morning until late at night, it's hard to find a seat at The Caroline.
The Hours: Daily, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
The Deal: Thanks to the bar's early-morning happy hour, nine-to-fivers have plenty of time to kick back a few brews or a cocktail before heading to the office. Well drinks and beers like Milwaukee's Best Premium are 50 cents off, although locals advise taking advantage of the bartender's heavy pour to get the biggest bang for your buck. Every Sunday at 1 p.m., the cook conjures up lunch like meatball sandwiches, chicken strips, and chili dogs that come at no cost--a deal that doesn't last long among hungry locals who know to get there early.The Digs: Located in a residential neighborhood, the bar is easy to miss. First-timers tend to use the front door that opens into a room with a pool table and limited seating, while regulars file in and out of the back door from the patio that allows easier access to the bar and its accommodating female bartenders. Along the wall, a dry-erase board announces upcoming birthdays of drinkers known on a first-name basis who don't mind being showered with free drinks from anyone willing to make the contribution.
The Verdict: Newcomers receive star treatment from both the staff and locals eager to engage in some fresh conversation. Just plan accordingly--either skip work the next day or plan on staying until the last drink is served, since leaving early and sober is not good hospitality according to The Caroline and her patrons.