The Place: Lobby Court at Renaissance Madison Hotel, 515 Madison, 206-583-0300, DOWNTOWN
Photo by Matthew Piel A dollar will get you those potato chips and onion dip.
The Hours: During the summer the Renaissance Hotel put out a signboard advertising happy hour at the 28th-floor lounge, RView. But after the solstice, the ski-high happy hour came to an end. Not to worry, the woman at the reception desk explained, Lobby Court, the bar on the main floor, has happy hour every day.
Happy hour, in fact, runs basically all day, every day, from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
The Deal: The Lobby Court doesn't do happy hour in the strictest sense, despite having a "Happy Hour" menu. It's more of a daily special. Every day features a different $6 "Cocktail of the Day", a second drink deal, and an appetizer.The drink special ranges from half-off wine bottles, to $6 martinis, three bottles 'o beer for $9 on weekends. Most of the food--think flatbread and chicken wings--is a couple dollars off the regular menu price. And no matter what day it is, you can get a basket of home-fried potato chips with Walla Walla Onion dip for a mere 99 cents.
The Digs: Couches and benches provide a kind of temporary living-room-away-from-home feel for the temporary residents of the Renaissance. A man in a suit jaws on his cell phone, a group of friends doing a city weekend down beers. It's the kind of place where temporary friendships are made over a few beers (three for $9!)
The Verdict: The bar tender basically makes whatever you want for the "cocktail of the day" (we had a Seattle Earthquake that is neon green, very sugary, and filled with tequila.) The beer weekend specials are supposed to be the barkeep's choice as well, but several people got two beers in and the staff helpfully suggested a third, offering to let them count it all under the $9 price.
Our server had only been on the job for an hour, but was comfortably chatting with guests. No one puts on airs, there's nothing tricky to figure out, and no need to try and get a bunch of drinks in before a 6 p.m. cutoff.
Lobby Court might not have a name worth remembering, or the stunning view boasted by the 28th-floor lounge, but it's not a bad place to tuck into beer and chicken winds on a Sunday. Plus it has the best damn potato chips and onion dip in the city for a dollar, and that makes me very happy.