As published in December 2014 Connections
By Molly and Marty Fisher, Ashland Park
After a long day of taking care of everyone and everything else, there’s nothing better than settling down over cold beverages and hot food at Happy Hour to put a smile back on your face.
Issaquah Highlands Happy Hours are even happier because we can walk to all of the dramatically expanded Grand Ridge Plaza options. Regardless of whether you’re looking for an early Happy Hour or you want to get happy later, you’ll find exactly what you need just down the road.
To make your decision-making easier, we’ve put together seven days of Highlands Happy Hours to keep you smiling every day of the week.
Margarita Monday at Agave Cocina is a muy bueno way to shake off the workday blues. This has become our favorite happy hour in the neighborhood with the best combination of drinks, food, and friendly people. At $5.50 all day on Mondays and during both early (3-6:30 p.m.) and late (10:00 p.m. to close) Happy Hours seven days a week, the hand-shaken Agave Margarita is a tasty bargain. The fresh lemon-lime juice and the Lunazul Blanco tequila will help you change your perspective of the day in a hurry.
Agave also has a strong selection of reasonably-priced appetizers that pair perfectly with your favorite person and a margarita or two. We always order the Sopes – two fried masa cakes topped with beans, carnitas, lettuce, queso fresco, tomatillo salsa, Mexican crème and pickled red onion. Our other favorite is the Shredded Beef Taquito, flour tortillas, salsa fresca, guacamole, jalapeño cheese, pickled red onion, and Mexican crème. At $6 and $5 respectively, these appetizers taste great and won’t leave you with price tag aftershock when you get the check.
When Agave Cocina’s bar is full, we head down the block to the Big Fish Grill. The warm, cozy bar also offers daily early (3-6 p.m.) and late (9 p.m. to close) Happy Hours. Be sure to order the $5 Big Fish Martini and pair it with the mouth-watering $6 Baja Fish Tacos – batter-dipped Alaskan cod, corn tortillas, chipotle ranch, tomatoes, fresh greens, Jack cheese, and cilantro–lime vinaigrette.
If getting an early start to your Happy Hour is more to your liking, head up the hill to Zeek’s Pizza at 2525 NE Park Drive. Zeek’s has the earliest Happy Hour in the neighborhood from 2-5 p.m. on Monday to Friday, along with a late one from 9 p.m. to close. Although there’s only one Happy Hour food special – half-price on a small pizza with a drink – there is a nice selection of bargain beverages. Micro-brew beers are $3.50, house wines by the glass are $3.75 and well drinks cap the offerings at $4.
We accidentally discovered the elegant Bai Tong Happy Hour because the only open seats in the restaurant were at the bar. As soon as we were seated, we realized our good fortune. At $2.50, the Singha Beer is a serious deal. Singha (pronounced sing) is Thailand’s number one export beer. The light, mild flavor of this German-style lager pairs perfectly with the Chicken Satay appetizer ($4.50), a dish of delicious curried, skewered chicken strips lathered in coconut milk and grilled, served with a side of peanut sauce and a mix of cucumber and onion. If you’re new to Thai food, this combination is a great way to kick start your culinary adventure.
SIP has perhaps the most upscale Happy Hour experience in the neighborhood, with both early (4-6 p.m.) and late night (9-11 p.m.) Happy Hours featuring special drink prices and $3 off all small plates every day. Thursdays are Ladies Nights and ladies receive Happy Hour drink prices all night long.
If great beer and solid, down-home pub food is more your style, the Ram is a great choice. Happy Hour at the Ram is held Monday to Friday from 3-6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close, featuring their 18 oz. flagship beers for $3.50. Pair that with the aptly-named Vampire Fries that are loaded with fresh-grated garlic, drizzled with garlic oil, and topped with garlic sour cream and you’ll be able to keep the vampires away for a very long time.
For a slightly different take on Happy Hour, try Chinoise Café for a nice variety of sushi rolls, sake, beer, and wine. Be sure to check out the Spicy Tuna Roll ($5) and pair it with a frosty cold bottle of Kirin Ichiban Lager ($3.50) to wrap up your Happy Hour week.
Forget all the hassle of finding a designated driver and getting in the car. Just put on your walking shoes and head up or down the hill to find your favorite happy place seven days a week.