The Deal: The Diller Room offers pretty standard happy hour pricing on their drinks, with $3.50 drafts, $4 house wines, and $5 well drinks. The food is a slightly better deal, with cheap snacks and $5 individual-sized 'pizzas.' Our Pizza Bianca proved the dish is really more flatbread than true pizza, but that didn't make it a less savory snack. A soft, round flat bread sprinkled with fragrant rosemary and good olive oil is nothing to complain about, but without the charred bottom, airy crust, sauce, or cheese, I'm hesitant to say what we ate was a pizza.
The Digs: The Diller Room is defined by and designed for its unique location. Occupying a former hotel lobby in a 120 year-old building, the ambience is informed by the historical space, while the menu and décor are curated to fit into it perfectly. Heavy moldings on the inside and exposed brick loan a masculine feel, so small round tables with petite legs offer contrast. Low, big windows might offer light in the sunny summer, but in the winter the street level view of downtown's commercial crowd is the definition of Seattle: brown and black shoes, stepping around puddles over grey cement during the evening's wet commute. The perfect foil to an excellent cocktail from the bar.
The Verdict: Poor service can kill a bar, but despite asking for a menu multiple times and severe lags between drinks, we enjoyed happy hour at the Diller Room. I wouldn't come hungry--though I'd order a snack--and I wouldn't come back if I were in a hurry, but I would return. I'd come back and sneak into the quiet back room and kick back with a classic cocktail. I enjoyed their take on the Manhattan and somehow, it fit in with the low lighting and old fixtures. And if our waitress was telling the truth when we overheard her laughing with another table about how bad their service was, saying "none of us even work here," about the staff, then maybe by the time I make it back, the service will have improved.