Curt Doughty

One random weeknight at Liberty, the artfully comfortable bar/café/sushi lounge on Capitol Hill's 15th Avenue, an unfamiliar woman approached me. "I'm here with my new boyfriend, and I'm meeting his friends for the first time," she said. "He's not introducing me as his girlfriend. He refers to me as 'the 42nd woman I've laid.'" I felt her pain and marveled at Liberty's ability to cultivate such spontaneous intimacy. Booze helps too, and Liberty's happy hour (3 pm–7 pm daily) features $3 well drinks and discounted everything else, from the beer ($3 Hoegaarden, Manny's, and Stella) to the sushi rolls ($3 kimchee, $6 jamjuree).