The first thing you notice upon entering Maharaja is—nothing! It's too damn dark to see at all, not even a glance in the mirror hanging over your booth to make sure there isn't spinach in your teeth—the better for slurping something fruity and making eyes across the cozy lantern-lit booths. Hopefully your night vision can cut through to the late-night menu (samosas, $3; pakoras, $3) or to the bar, where no-nonsense fare like naan bread and tandoori chicken is free during happy hour (weekdays 5–8 p.m.) with wells and cocktails. While the adjoining restaurant is indistinguishable from any other, the tiny hole-in-the-wall haven, with its mismatched leather chairs and kitschy lanterns, feels like a find. And soon it might be a destination, as the hardwood floor in the airy foyer is being remodeled for weekend dancing. The best time to hit this spot is after hours, whether to counterbalance a few strong cocktails or knock back a few more with finger food made for sharing. KATE SILVER 720 E. Pike St., 206-320-0334.

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