The Place: Hopvine Pub, 507 15th Ave. E., 206-328-3120, CAPITOL HILL.The Hours:

The Place:

Hopvine Pub, 507 15th Ave. E., 206-328-3120, CAPITOL HILL.The Hours: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the week.The Deal: For a pub, the Hopvine menu is aces–decent pizza, fresh salads, homemade soups. But none of those items appear among the short list of $5 foods on the happy hour menu. Instead, it’s a pretty standard hit list of appetizers: hummus, artichoke dip, bruschetta. The real star of Hopvine’s happy hour is the beer list. Everything on the 12 taps is local and rotated frequently. The staff is well-versed in the list and able to make recommendations that don’t feel like random guesses. Each of those pints is poured for $3 during happy hour.The Digs: If you want a quiet place to escape from the world, Hopvine is not your answer. It is loud; you’re likely to encounter open mics and quizzes; shouts of “heeeey!” permeate each time someone’s friend emerges through the door. Here it’s always a season of festivities.Christmas (and all related December holidays) is the time when a place like Hopvine is really in its element. Across the street a man plays carols on a violin. The pub itself sits at the end of a row of inviting small shops and cafes. Everyone arrives with rosy cheeks from the cold outside. Hopvine is the kind of place Scrooge’s workers might gather after a long day working for their dour boss to brush off the bah humbug and get into the holiday mood.The Verdict: I have to confess to being a bit disappointed in the food list. I had been hoping for at least some of the pumpkin soup listed in the specials board. I resignedly ordered the artichoke dip and bruschetta puttanesca, fully expecting a soupy bowl of dip and dried-out crostinis topped by sparse tomatoes.I was so wrong. No thin, little crostinis these, they were thick slabs of white bread soaked through with butter and crispy on the outside. The puttanesca atop the bread burst with Italian herbs and spices (not so good for any holiday kissing). The artichoke dip went far beyond a little pureed artichoke and cream, incorporating shallots, parsley, cheeses and lemon juice.Thanks to the appetizers, paired with my Three Skulls red ale, Hopvine proved itself a happy post-work home for the holidays.


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