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Originally published Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 3:00 PM

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Happy hour at the Hard Rock: 'When it rains, we pour'

Appropriately for the Seattle branch, the Hard Rock Cafe offers a "when it rains, we pour" happy hour — the minute raindrops start falling, drinks and appetizers are half off in the upstairs bar.

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Hard Rock Cafe may be the first happy hour that relies on Mother Nature for its cue. When it rains, happy hour begins at the Hard Rock — beers cost about $3; appetizers are half off.

As we head into winter, you might never have to pay full price for the next four months at the Hard Rock, thanks to its happy-hour motto: "When it rains, we pour."

A couple of things to note: The rainy-day happy hour is in addition to the daily happy hour at the Hard Rock, and it takes place only at its upstairs bar ... unless it is already booked for a live show.

The food is predictable happy-hour fare, but cheap and decent: nachos, potato skins, chicken wings and chicken tenders, each for about $5. The Hard Rock's bar food, like most restaurant chains, comes supersized. An order of deep-fried potato skins is six pieces, each with gobs of cheese and topped with bacon bits and scallions and a side bowl of sour cream — enough for two or three people.

The happy-hour drink menu may be the best deal downtown. Craft beers are $2.50 to $3.50 and the Hard Rock's underrated, rotating list of Washington wines includes glasses as cheap as $3.50. Skip the atrocious candy cocktails. You'll thank me later.

Recently, a couple complained the music was too loud. They obviously didn't grasp the rock 'n' roll theme of this joint, with Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain memorabilia and flat screens blaring '80s music videos. Two weeks after my visit, my head still hums with Glenn Frey's "You Belong to the City" when I walk the streets.

Our fickle weather can make this rainy-day happy hour tricky. An intermittent drizzle? Relax — servers won't stick their hands out to check if the rain has stopped. But sun breaks? You're out of luck. It's back to full price.

You can always nurse that beer. That rain will return soon enough.

The Details

Hard Rock Cafe, 116 Pike St., offers "when it rains, we pour" happy hour when showers fall during business hours (11 a.m. to at least 10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to midnight or so on Fridays-Saturdays) at the upstairs bar. The Hard Rock's regular happy hour is 3-7 p.m. daily in the main bar, with most appetizers, draft beer, Washington wines and well drinks half off (206-204-2233 or www.hardrock.com).

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

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