We can go back and forth all we like about the quality of the snacks, the beer selection, or the presence of well drinks on the discount list, but price remains the only undisputed factor that truly matters during happy hour. Those nachos were only $2, so who cares if the cheese was actually melted rubber? And if it takes 30 minutes to get a beer, just order two next time, right? These compromised standards have led me to many a packed, sweaty room, too often devoid of personality, customer service, and taste but full of after-work specials. So, when I happened upon the 3–5 p.m. weekday happy hour at Shuckers, a nondescript restaurant-bar in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, I immediately realized I had found something special: seriously good deals—$1 oysters, $2 draft beers (and we're not talking Coors Light)—with service to match. Here, I found the Alpine Pilsner the perfect partner to my plate of oysters, garnished with horseradish, cocktail sauce, lemons, and vinegar. For accoutrements, the menu includes complimentary bowls of muffins, made fresh at the hotel's bakery, and the best bar nuts I've ever tasted. There is also a select glass of wine for $4, and house margaritas are $3.50. But the real clincher is the service—and the napkins. Shuckers staffs career servers, the kind who pick up those loose crumbs on your table when you're finished. As for the napkins, I've toweled off after swims with thinner threads.
411 University St., (Fairmont Olympic Hotel), 621-1984. DOWNTOWN