A misleading sign outside Troiani Ristorante Italiano reads that happy hour starts at 3 p.m. But my companion and I know a little secret shared by word-of-mouth among the sharply dressed, iPhone-addicted crowd: The $5 martinis and house wines actually began flowing two hours ago. "We're here for the stockbroker happy hour," I chirp to a dubious hostess, who glances at our casual attire but points us in the direction of the bar anyway. Conveniently located in the center of Seattle's financial district, Troiani offers an under-wraps (until now) "Closing Bell" happy hour from 1 to 3 p.m. every weekday to console beleaguered stockbrokers working on East Coast time. (And perhaps provide a complimentary suicide watch as our economy dips into recession.) We seat ourselves next to some old white men dressed like Andre 3000 in plaid suspenders and bowties. They sip on well-aged scotch and swap business talk that we attempt to eavesdrop on but fail to really understand. Never mind that, we street rats are happy just to sink into our comfy chairs and feast on $5 mussels and clams and $6 penne with provolone. (Even Bill Clinton has stopped in for the calorific latter.) Those who prefer their meals liquefied can consume the "Bloody Italian," a fresh take on a Bloody Mary made with garlic-infused gin. Brokers and pseudo-brokers alike can appreciate Troiani's sophisticated decor, hearty pastas, and, most important, lofty drink selection. Had this happy hour been around on Black Tuesday, some folks might have dealt with their woes a little differently.
1001 Third Ave., 624-4060, www.troianiseattle.com.