The Place:The Brooklyn, 1212 Second Ave. Seattle, 206-224-7000, Downtown
The Hours: Sun-Fri 4-6 p.m., Saturday 3-6 p.m.
The Digs: The Brooklyn has an oyster bar vibe with a slightly more brasserie look. The front section of the restaurant is dedicated to what The Brooklyn has become best known for--their bar. Here you can grab one of the couple dozen stools circling the bar's beating heart. Oyster shuckers unhinge briny bivalves on one side, while bartenders shake and stir on the other. Tile floors echo the click-clack of heels as theater patrons from Benaroya Hall catch a pre-show bite; afternoon light streams in from windows high above the bar; and a chattering after work crowd packs the place on weekdays.
The Deal: The Brooklyn has $5 "selected call" drinks, that are essentially wells, but with slightly better booze, such as Cuervo, Cutty Sark and Skyy. Daily cocktail specials are $6, which always includes a $6 manhattan or martini made with decent spirits like Bombay and Jim Beam. And there are $3 glasses of wine and $4 draft beers.
Chilled, freshly shucked oysters are $1.50, or if you are in the mood for something more substantial, there is a selection of small plates for $5-6. There are meat options like the "drive-in cheeseburger," which is only slightly larger than a slider, banh mi sliders and steak bites. For seafood lovers, there are mussels, shrimp cocktail and mini crab cakes. The fried food group is well represented by calamari, fried artichoke hearts and fish and chips--with more chips than fish. And there are some vegetarian options such as truffled mac n' cheese and bruschetta.
The Verdict: The Brooklyn has happy down to a science. Offer the deal everyday, during the hours patrons need it most. Don't completely cheap out on the booze, so you still attract a sophisticated crowd. And offer enough food--and enough variety of food--for people to make a meal of, or just use as a booze sponge for soaking up all those cheap drinks.