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Originally published Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 7:03 PM

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Happy Hour: Unwind with the spa-goers at Venik Lounge in South Lake Union

Venik Lounge in the South Lake Union area attracts clients from a nearby spa as well as folks who like a 25 percent discount off food and drinks during the Venik happy hour.

Seattle Times staff reporter

HAPPY HOUR |

Venik Lounge is a South Lake Union hangout for the Russian bathhouse-goers next door, spa clients who plunge into the 103-degree water, then into a shivering cold bath before moseying next door for a vodka shot or rye cocktail.

They are easy to spot. They look more relaxed than the barflies.

But you can skip the first two steps and head directly to Venik. It's an underappreciated spot from the folks who run the Banya 5 spa a few steps down.

Expect some well-executed craft cocktails and happy-hour discounts (25 percent off) on food and drinks. And the bar will expand in the coming weeks.

Owner John Goodfellow just cut a small passageway through the wall to make room for more bar tables. And in the near future, the kitchen will expand and feature a lunch menu to take advantage of the Amazon.com work force and the boom of South Lake Union.

It's already a nice space as is — cozy and artsy with a handsome, shiny mahogany bar and a stellar craft cocktail menu.

Skip all the infused vodka shots that play into the Russian bathhouse theme. Try The East Village cocktail — rye with sweet vermouth and vanilla notes.

A modest food menu with noshes such as nutmeg-scented meatballs and a cheese-and-charcuterie plate is designed to fortify you for a couple of cocktails or after soaking in the spa.

Venik Lounge, 227 Ninth Ave N. (South Lake Union), offers happy hour 4-7 p.m. weekdays with 25 percent off all food (most food items cost around $2 to $7), specialty cocktails, wine and draft beer (206-223-3734 or www.veniklounge.com).

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com

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