Suika's ten-bero set comes with a pint of Sapporo and your choice of either sake or a Moscow Mule. It will
Suika's ten-bero set comes with a pint of Sapporo and your choice of either sake or a Moscow Mule. It will "make you bero bero (=drunk)," as the Happy Hour menu reads. CB

As a gay, I assumed the best part of living in Capitol Hill would be the "gayborhood." That's mostly true—having a handful, or, perhaps, a fistful of gay bars in a two-block radius is a perk—but my favorite part of living and working on the Hill is, without a doubt, the neighborhood's great izakayas. If or when I move, these Japanese pubs will be what I miss the most.

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The door into Suika.
The door into Suika. CB

Stranger writer Rich Smith and I are both regulars at Suika and Tamari Bar, two sister Japanese pubs on Pine Street that are about to welcome another member to their family, Rondo, which will open soon on Broadway. On my last birthday, I went to Suika twice, for a late lunch and an even later dinner. I wasn't planning on double-dipping, but I couldn't think of anywhere else I'd rather eat.

The vibe, as described by Smith last year:

Entering Suika, you're hit with an explosion of color and energy. Bartenders stick straws into wild watermelon cocktails. Servers mix bowls of pork-belly bibimbap for customers who don't know how to press the rice to the stone so that it forms an amazing crust. The whole staff stops midstream to welcome you with a shout—"Irasshaimase!"—before getting back to business. Muted anime brightens one wall, and a framed collection of vintage Nintendo games brightens another. The menu is extremely enthusiastic.

I recommend literally everything on Suika's happy hour menu, but especially the spiced okra, Asian wings, and pork rib kara-age.
I recommend literally everything on Suika's happy hour menu, but especially the spiced okra, Asian wings, and pork rib kara-age. CB

I could go on about this place, but the thing I want to highlight today is the "AMAZING JAPANESE IZAKAYA'S COMBO !!!!!!!" on their happy hour menu, the ten-bero set, which is amazing and deserves the seven exclamation points.

Here's the pitch: For just 10 bucks, you can get a pint of Sapporo, your choice of either a nice glass of sake or a Moscow Mule, and a sampler of food that changes daily.

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Salmon, marinated tuna, and fried chicken skin.
Salmon, marinated tuna, and fried chicken skin. CB

When I went last night, the sampler included salmon, marinated tuna, and fried chicken skin. The salmon was good, as always, but the marinated tuna was spicy, complicated, and, honestly, romantic. The chicken skin finisher was sensual and down to fuck. I've never had bones, contrary to the Stranger's Charles Mudede ("I love sucking them with my mouth, probing them with my tongue, and crushing them with my teeth"), but I imagine eating skin and eating bones share a similar intimacy. If we're going to fry an animal's flesh, we might as well do them the honor of sucking their bones and nibbling their skin. These were thoughts I had as my sake emptied. I was tipsy, and in love.

Suika's happy hour is Tuesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, the happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close. Also, next week is Suika's 5th birthday. Celebrate it with a weeklong, all-day happy hour. Let's drink.

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