The Place: Nite Lite Lounge, 1920 Second Ave., 443-0899, DOWNTOWN
The Hours: Daily, 4-7 p.m.
The Deal: $2.50 wells and $2 PBR drafts -- pretty underwhelming since this is just a 25 cent and 50 cent discount, respectively. Considering their prices are so cheap on the regular, though, it's pretty unreasonable to expect them to cut this down any further. There's no such thing as a free drink, kids.
The Digs: Nestled next to the Moore Theatre, right on the cusp of Downtown and Belltown, The Nite Lite now serves basically all non-discerning drinkers from any walk of Seattle life.Late Friday afternoon, the main room slowly filled as people got off work, whether at Pike Place or in an office high-rise; it's possible a few were there earlier. Despite the bar service itself being busy -- they were understaffed at the time due to viadoom -- it was a mellower night. Once I saw someone get 86ed for trying to leave her daughter outside (like a dog or something) while she ran in and got a drink, but those kinds of shenanigans were just not happening.
The sign outside has a "24" conspicuously scraped off it, making it read "Open Hrs." Certainly, some of the mood of a 24 hour, divey diner remains here -- that certain comfortable balance of familiarity and isolation, plus an almost exclusive adherence to fried food. Even further back in Downtown history, the location was the Fire Lite, one of late, local strip-joint mogul Frank Colacurcio's first topless ventures, and while the ghost of vices past seems to still be haunting the place, it doesn't feel sleazy. Just a looming, heavy dose of reality that you must crush with cheap liquor and well-timed jukebox selections. Fortunately, the Nite Lite has both of these things in spades. And cheese fries.
The Verdict: There isn't a whole lot of incentive to go here during happy hour versus any other time of day, but considering their all-the-time prices are cheaper than most bars' happy hour prices, mere quarters' worth of discounts are not exactly a deterrent, either. If you can appreciate the Nite Lite as one of Seattle's last true dives under normal circumstances, you'll appreciate the happy hour.