I am beginning a new series called Spotlight on Happy Hour, featuring some of the best happy hours in and around the city of Seattle! We are kicking it off in a big way with Heavy Restaurant’s Barrio on Capitol Hill.
I had the pleasure of joining Barrio for happy hour recently on a rare quiet & sunny Tuesday afternoon. After speaking with Leigha, the General Manager, she said it was very unusual to have it be that quiet, but there were two major events in the city that evening so I lucked out!
My wonderful evening started off with one of their popular happy hour drinks, La Poloma, and of course, the quintessential chips and salsa. La Poloma is a refreshing blend of grapefruit soda, tequila and agave, with a nice fizz and it was surprisingly not too sweet. The chips and salsa were perfect; the chips were lightly salted and delightfully crunchy and thick (who likes a weak tortilla chip?) and the salsa was a roasted house salsa with well balanced flavors and a slight kick.
My guest ordered a Strawberry Margarita, surprisingly made with fresh strawberries, a really nice touch considering it is only $6. It was slightly sweet, with well balanced flavors also. A great margarita!
We were told we couldn’t miss Barrio’s guacamole, so we ordered a bowl…and devoured it. I loved that there was pico de gallo only in the middle, so you weren’t forced to have tomatoes and were able to taste the pure avocado. It was slightly smooth and still a bit chunky, the perfect texture, with hints of lime; delicious! The best part, the guac is huge for $6, but you have the option to add crumbled bacon on top for $2 more. Ummm…yum!
Another item you can’t miss are the masa cakes. Something I typically wouldn’t have ordered, but they were a simple, pure corn cake with a golden brown, crispy outside & smooth, creamy center. Served with a pico de gallo and spicy avocado salsa, they were little patties of perfection.
The food just kept coming and next we were digging into their Rock Fish Ceviche. Served with fried plantains instead of chips, this was the perfect accompaniment to the bold lime, citrus flavor. The rock fish was cut up in bite sized pieces, paired with chunks of mango, peppers and cilantro. It was really delicious and not fishy-flavored at all.
By this point, I had decided I needed to try another beverage and asked our wonderful bartender, Casey, for a recommendation. He said while the margaritas are obviously the most popular, he suggested I try his personal favorite, the Chihuahua. Although not on happy hour, I had to try something unusual and this drink was just that. A drink made from Sotol Blanco tequila with a Tajin Mexican Seasoning rim, it had strong vanilla and smokey flavor from the Tajin seasonings (nearly impossible to describe; very unique).
We continued eating and next were the buttermilk fried chicken strips. While I would never typically order chicken strips at a restaurant like Barrio, I was told they were another must. They were quite good, and definitely would appeal to a more picky eater that may be in your group. The breading was really good; they were crunchy, with tender chicken, and the buttermilk dipping sauce was delicious. They were also served with a spicy chipotle BBQ.
I saved the best for last. Barrio has three individual taco choices, all $3.50 each, one of which is the pork taco. I like to think of myself as a pulled pork taco expert, as I gravitate towards this item on menus often and find myself consuming more than I like to think about. On the first bite, this was amazing. THE perfect balance of sweet, spice and crunch, this was a taco made in heaven. Topped with a slaw with pickled onions, golden raisins and almonds, combined with the amazing marinade of the pork and the simplicity of the yellow corn tortilla, each bite was perfection. I will be dreaming about this taco for a while…
There are a few things I really love, and dessert is one of them. Barrio offers two happy hour priced dessert options, very rare for restaurants (especially to have drink, food and dessert specials all in one…this is a huge plus!). We ended our amazing night with an order of the churros. They were perfectly fried, covered in a slightly sweet cinnamon sugar and served with a Xocalatl Chocolate dipping sauce. The chocolate is slightly bitter which balances the sweetness of the sugar coated dough nicely. $5 for 5 big churros!
One other small detail I have to mention that I love is they serve water without ice. It is still chilled as it comes from a gun on the bar, but I love a restaurant who doesn’t put ice in the water! Such a nice touch.
Overall, happy hour at Barrio is far more than a standard happy hour. We sat at the bar, a great spot to chat with their very knowledgable bartenders and learn a bit about tequila, or get great food or drink recommendations. And the best part is Barrio runs happy hour quite often:
Monday – Thursday 10pm-12am
Friday & Saturday 11pm-1am
They also offer great specials including half priced tequila on Monday’s when ordered neat or by the flight, and Margarita Sunday, where house margaritas are $5! For the summer months, they open their outdoor patio, perfect for any afternoon of lounging. On top of that, they offer specific Taco Tuesday specials as well!
Barrio is located at 1420 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122.
Check out their menu here: http://www.barriorestaurant.com/pdf/BarrioCapitolHill_Menu_HappyHour.pdf
Stay tuned every Sunday as I continue to seek out the best Seattle area happy hours! Cheers!