Best Damn Happy Hour

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When the gatekeeper at the Armory carded me and fastened a paper bracelet to my wrist, there already were 500 Happy Hour celebrants making merry at the Seattle Center. Last night was debut night for the Seattle Center’s “Best Damn Happy Hour,” one of the most convivial ways I’ve found to spend the hours from work to home.

The first Best Damn Happy Hour featured deals on specialty cocktails, inexpensive ($2.50) wine and beer and delicious food from the new Armory eateries. Think giant Jenga towers, room-sized Scrabble, mini-golf, Trivia contests, DJ Alex from KEXP and raffle prizes like tickets to concerts and shows.

To all that fun add hundreds of beautiful people, drawn by the chance to see and be seen and to engage in fun meet-ups. They tried specialty cocktails, among them: Black Cherry Chill, Illy Issimo, Cocoa Martini, Prosecco Punch and a “Mock-arita” spritzer. They loved the discount parking prices at the 5th Avenue Garage ($1 parking when more than $10 is spent at the armory).

To tell the truth, I wasn’t expecting such a merry turnout for the Center’s first official happy hour. And, in fact, neither were Center staffers who admitted they weren’t sure they could attract such a lively crowd, especially for a debut.

But attract they did and the fun never stopped. Even though there were lines for beverages and food, everyone seemed to be in good spirits. And next time there definitely will be more of everything, according to the Center staff.

The highlight for me was kibbitzing at the jumbo sized Scrabble Court where players lounged in bean-bag chairs while playing their dinner-plate-sized tiles and agonizing over whether words were legal or not. Would you accept “Nu” and, if so, what does it mean?

Clearly, Seattle Center’s Best Damn Happy Hour  is what this city has been waiting for. In case you hadn’t guessed, Seattle has always been a Thursday Night kind of town. And now it’s even more so.