601 Queen Anne Ave N, 206-432-9069
Toulouse Petit is warm and glowing on a windy Tuesday night at 10 p.m. The walls are covered in candles—they light about 250 votive candles each night—and the orange glow matches the woodwork. I had never been inside the place, but I was drawn to it because the menu hanging just outside the door promises "The Best Happy Hour and Late Night Dining in the Nation." One page of the menu says in big letters across the top: "More Than Fifty Exquisite Preparations Priced Between $5 and $11"—soups, seafood, charcuterie, sliders, salads, and more. Easily the best thing I tried was "Barbecued" Shrimp New Orleans ($9). I pictured a few shrimp slathered with barbecue sauce. I couldn't have been more wrong. What came out instead was a cast-iron pan with half a dozen shrimp in a spicy red sauce on one side, and a half moon of cheesy grits on the other side. The simple flavor of the grits balanced perfectly with the spiciness of the shrimp. It was filling enough I could have made a meal of that one dish alone, which I plan to do next time I'm on Lower Queen Anne late at night.
Happy hour: 4 to 6 pm and 10 pm to 1 am every night of the week, plus a breakfast happy hour 8 to 11 am Mon–Fri.
Pike Place Market, 93 Pike St, 206-682-3049
There are few things more pleasurable than strolling down to Pike Place Market late at night and disappearing into the anonymity of Il Bistro's darkly lit bar long after dinnertime. Low archways, dark wood, a few candles along its marble-topped bar, a candle and a red rose on each table, and clouded glass windows letting in the light from Post Alley create an undeniably romantic ambiance. The Ravioli di Funghi ($4.50) comes in a hazelnut cream and is delicately flavored, but it didn't fill me up, so I asked the bartender for another recommendation, and he pointed me toward the Rigatoni Bolognese ($4.50), which is a superb deal. There's enough ground veal and lamb ragù for it to feel like a full entrée, and it comes covered in a gorgeous snowdrift of pecorino Romano.
Happy hour: 5 to 6:30 pm every day, 10 pm to midnight Sun–Thurs, 11 pm to 1 am Fri–Sat.
954 E Union St Suite 101, 206-325-3534
This place is one of the hundreds (thousands?) of new restaurants in Seattle, and so close to The Stranger's offices I'd barely noticed it. But one of my coworkers told me over e-mail that they have "a late night happy hour that ROCKS," so I grabbed another coworker who hadn't been and we went to check it out. During late-night happy hour, Gokan offers a three-piece sashimi set for $5, basic rolls for $5, specialty rolls for $7–$9, all generously portioned. My coworker couldn't believe how ample and fresh the sashimi set was, while I mowed down an entire Rainier specialty roll—spicy tuna, crab mix, cucumber, topped with seared salmon. Of all four places on this list, Gokan offers the best bang for your buck.
Happy hour: 4:30 to 6 pm (or until 7 pm in the bar), and 9:30 pm to 10:45 pm, Sun–Thurs; 4:30 to 6 pm (or until 7 pm in the bar), and 10 pm to 12:30 am Fri–Sat.
1505 10th Ave, 206-323-5678
Lost Lake in the early hours of the morning on a weekday is not as empty as you would think. From 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, the 24-hour diner has a happy hour morning menu, including $3.25 breakfast sandwiches. You can have your egg scrambled or fried, you get to choose between bacon and ham, and you have your choice of cheddar, Swiss, American, or jack. It comes on an English muffin, it's served on a small plate with no sides, and it's very simple, but it hits the spot—especially for $3.25. Nearby in the dining room on a recent Monday morning was an eight-top drinking Bloody Marys ($5), mimosas ($5), and Baileys and coffee ($5), and several people at the bar eating more elaborate breakfasts. Other items on the weekday early-morning happy hour include French toast (in "our special house batter made with Frangelico, Grand Marnier, Baileys & Kahlúa") for $4.99, and a Half Benedict (with hash browns) for $4.99.
Early-morning happy hour: 6 to 9 am Mon–Fri. There's also an afternoon happy hour from 4 to 6 pm Mon–Fri, with $3.50 wells and food $2.99–$5.75.