The Place: OddFellows Cafe + Bar, 1525 10th Ave., 325-0807, CAPITOL HILL
The Hours: 4 to 6 p.m. daily.
The Digs: A favorite of the self-employed, the low-key yet discerning diner, the classic cocktail connoisseur, and the book-and-a-coffee crowd alike, Oddfellows Cafe is a lofty, airy space nestled on the lower level of its namesake building. Drawing from the structure's history, the cafe is brimming with carefully curated, old-timey keepsakes, both new and actually old. This extends from the large photograph of what I can only assume are actual Odd Fellows right down to the vintage-style candy available at the register.
As much fun as it is to go out and get some drinks at Oddfellows, it's practically impossible for it to feel like a bar, no matter how many delicious drink specials they have or how many bottles decoratively (and functionally!) line the wall. Even the sitting area at the bar has kind of a lunch-counter vibe to it.The Deal: This happy hour, with its mid- to late-afternoon timing and not-that-discount prices, is obviously aimed at those who just got off work, or those who have already been working here too long. So a short, simple list of happy-hour drink specials is here, designed for those with frazzled brains to not have to think too hard: a martini (Bombay or Ketel One), Loud Speaker (Gin, Cognac, lemon), a rye old-fashioned, a Hornitos margarita. Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) is thrown on the cocktail menu for good measure. For those not inclined to spirits, there's a token dollar off drafts and wells.
There is a 4 to 6 p.m. food menu, but it's not marked down for happy hour. A modest selection from both their day and night menus is there to transition into the dinner menu, which starts at 5. French, Italian, and Spanish-inspired small plates include the cutting board (meats and mostarda), a cheese plate with nuts and fruit, a mezze plate with cannellini spread, boquerones and house-made crackers, a sweet pepper romesco, fries with aioli, and nuts and olives. If you can't wait for a meal, their standard toasted cheese (Gruyere, caramelized onions, and pear, $8) and porchetta (slow-roasted pork and garlic aoli with coleslaw) sandwiches are available, but again, no discount here (that toasted cheese is worth it, anyway).
The Verdict: If you love simple craft cocktails and aren't looking to snack on the cheap, Oddfellows is the perfect bar. It's rare to get a quality classic cocktail for $5, and the old-fashioned they served me was absolutely perfect: not watered down, not overhandled, no muddled fruit, just a simple lemon peel and single brandied cherry for garnish, letting the rye shine. This is certainly a happy hour for the discerning drinker. Plus, these drinks are perfect for winding down from a stressful day, as they're subject to one of the key advantages to the best craft cocktails: Almost everything in them is booze.