Photo by Matthew PielThe Place:
Sip, 909 5th Ave., 206-682-2779.The Hours: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close Monday through Friday.The Deal: Well drinks for $5, featured wines for $7, and every one of the 12 items on the small plates menu is $3 off. At full fare those “small” plates will run you between $8 for nuts and $17 for pork belly and scallops, so it’s not exactly a grad-student-on-a-budget dinner. That said, “small” (notice all the sarcastic quote marks) isn’t the right description for the plates. They are piled with enough food to make for an entree all on their own.The Digs: We wandered into Sip in the midst of snow/ice/slush-pocalypse 2012. The interior is exactly what you’re looking for when trying to escape weather that’s alternating between snow, sleet and freezing wind. For a space that takes up the better part of a condo tower floor, it’s surprisingly inviting. Big couches line the walkway in a variety of configurations leading to smaller tables in the back and a warmly lit bar. There aren’t many places that can equally well accommodate new lovers and awkward co-worker gatherings, but Sip’s many seating options does just that.Thanks to the weather, it’s nearly empty and a man who appears to be the manager waits patiently while we try to find just the right spot.It isn’t just the setting that’s comfortable, the staff willingly hangs out to answer questions, and the aforementioned manager type joins us for some quality time mocking cars sliding down Madison. When you’re drinking in a storm, being able to crack wise with your companions over Seattle drivers is essential.The Verdict: The sliders have thick, tender patties, and the pork belly and scallops are smothered in rich sauce. The well liquor in the cocktails doesn’t have any of that Windexy aftertaste typical of happy hour mixed drinks. And the wines live up to the rest of the menu. If you think “happy hour” means dinner for the change in your couch, Sip isn’t your spot. But you’d be hard pressed to find heartier fare in a cozier location when trying to warm up a winter chill.