Jesse Weinberg

The quickest way to kill a perfectly good happy-hour buzz is with food. Sure, cheap Kobe beef sliders or tuna-wasabi tacos sound good after a long day of nine-to-five drudgery, but let's face it, you came to happy hour to get drunk. However, when you've got a menu full of greasy food staring you in the face, it can be hard to say no. So, it's best to just cut out the middleman—and not risk temptation—by hitting up a bar that can't be bothered to let you eat on the cheap at happy hour. Why spend $10 on a burger when you can have four beers instead?

Jules Maes Saloon (5919 Airport Way S, 957-7766, happy hour daily 3—7 pm), a fixture in Georgetown since 1888, is all business at happy hour. Their $3 well drinks and microbrews (nine on tap) and $1.50 PBRs will buy you a pretty cheap one-way ticket to shit-faced city. The bar's back room features pinball machines, pool tables, and Skee-Ball—a rare treat in Seattle—and the majority of the bar is dimly lit, so it's easy to skulk in one of the large comfortable booths while you knock back a pint or 12.

While the price is right, the bar's aesthetics leave something to be desired. Jules Maes's walls are adorned with a series of dusty black-and-white photographs of the bar's olden days. From the pictures, it's easy to imagine Jules Maes as an old sawdust-floored watering hole, where rough-and-tumble blue-collar workers came to booze it up after a long day. However, the Jules Maes of today feels more like the bastard child of Disneyland and T.G.I. Friday's that was sent to an orphanage, only to be adopted and raised by Archie McPhee. Perched above the glossy wood bar and booths, Johnny Cash posters and skulls dressed up in Santa caps reek of feigned eclecticism, which makes Jules Maes feel more like Frontierland than a genuine old-time saloon. Nevertheless, if you like your bars dark, Jules Maes is one of the few worthwhile stops down on Airport Way South.

Speaking of dark bars, Fremont's ToST (513 N 36th St, 547-0240, happy hour daily 5—8 pm) is practically a cave. ToST's atmosphere—thick curtains drawn over the windows and hanging-blue-lantern mood lighting—is offset by its wallet-friendly happy hour ($5 cocktails, $2.50 draft beers, $3 well drinks), but the space is less than welcoming when it's still light outside.

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One bartender, after being asked about the beer selection, points to the selections—nearly impossible to see in the low light—and grumbles "bottles, taps." Most everything in the bar—walls, floor, etc.—is painted black, and the small stage in the back makes it feel more like a dark theater. Indeed, ToST (pronounced "toast" or "tossed" depending on your inclination) has an open-mic night. On one evening, no one had signed up to go on, long after the 7:00 p.m. start time, which might have been for the best. recommended

jonah@thestranger.com