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Originally published April 10, 2012 at 3:44 PM | Page modified April 11, 2012 at 7:03 AM

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Readers ask for: good craft cocktails; a place that will welcome a patron and pooch

Tan Vinh, who writes about the happy-hour scene in Greater Seattle for The Seattle Times, answers questions from readers.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Tan Vinh, features reporter and happy hour columnist, has visited some of the hottest happy hours in town. Read recent reviews, see photos and more by exploring our Happy Hour Map.

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This week, we go to the mailbag to answer bar questions from a dog lover, a cocktail lover and a single looking for a date place. Questions were edited for clarity or brevity.

Q: I get out of work too late for happy hour. Where's a good deal on craft cocktails regardless of the time?

A: Sun Liquor and Sun Liquor Distillery on Capitol Hill offer stellar cocktails around $8 to $9. Here's another reason to hit there. The company's own line of gins and vodka won big at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last month, taking double gold for its vodka, gold for its "Gun Club" gin and silver for its "Hedge Trimmer" gin.

Two other bars that offer great deals that folks don't talk about much: The Trophy Room in Belltown and Suite 410 in downtown. The Trophy Room is the backroom of the dive bar Shorty's in Belltown and opens only Thursday to Sunday.

Suite 410 is an unassuming bar from the same folks behind the martini bar Oliver's Lounge. Its cocktails are a couple of bucks cheaper than the going rate around the city.

suite410bar.com

sunliquor.com

www.shortydog.com

Q: I just moved to Ballard and I love that Seattle is such a dog-loving town. There's got to be bars in my "hood" where I can take my dog.

A: The Dray in Ballard. Not only is it dog friendly, The Dray is also a good soccer bar and a good craft-beer bar, one of the all-around good neighborhood bars in the city. But if you want companions for your dog, drive to Fremont at Norm's Eatery & Ale House. Dogs are practically an accessory here. It's a dive bar for dog lovers.

The unspoken rule about dog-friendly bars is that the owners assume your dog is trained. I was at Über Tavern in North Seattle, where I saw a dog bite another patron. Uh, dogs aren't allowed there anymore. A side note, Über, which recently completed a renovation, is an excellent craft-beer bar. A must stop for beer lovers. Minus Fido, though.

thedray.com

Norm's Eatery & Ale House 206-547-1417 (no Web page, but it does have a Facebook page.)

Q: I've done the coffee-shop meet up with an online dater. Now I'm meeting her again in Fremont for drinks or for a casual meal. Suggestion? I'm 40 and recently divorced. Haven't done the bar scene in a while.

A: Hmm. The obvious choice is Revel, but I'm going to throw you a curve — Showa, the Japanese street-food joint that plays '80s theme music. The bar is dimly lit, but not so romantic where you might feel awkward. It's a fun, izakaya-inspired joint with lots of big windows to people watch.

The music itself is a conversation piece. The food is shared plates. Get the bacon mac and cheese, with the crispy crust and gooey decadence underneath. www.showafremont.com

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

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