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Originally published April 10, 2013 at 3:06 PM | Page modified April 10, 2013 at 3:41 PM

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The Upstairs bar in Belltown is a low-key gem

The Upstairs, a low-key Belltown bar, offers a homey, grown-up vibe, with quality cocktails and convivial clientele.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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It would be easy to miss The Upstairs bar strolling around Belltown at night. Very few folks just stumble onto this unassuming bar (whose name aptly describes its locale but hints at little else).

The bar is kinfolk to the restaurant Pintxo downstairs, hence its Spanish-inspired snack menu: tortilla Española and the salty, porky delights of the Serrano-ham-Manchego-cheese crostinis. And never fear: Pintxo’s beloved bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese can also be had.

The bar bites are served during what must be the longest evening happy hour in Belltown, 5-8 p.m., every day.

For those who complain this ’hood is overrun with the young, stilettoed barhopping set, or lousy with pickup joints, this place is for you: At the bar, you’ll find mostly downtown professionals and Belltowners in their 30s and 40s.

It looks more homey than swanky, the furniture a mishmash of couches and crates from The Salvation Army and antique stores. And the flooring is creaky, century-old fir.

When crowded, it looks like a hip party in an East Village apartment.

In December 2011, when this bar opened, The Upstairs looked like an insecure new kid on the block who was out to please everyone. It seemed to be a speak-easy, but also a pit stop for the college-age, clubbing set. Long Island Iced Tea and craft cocktails were featured side by side.

What a difference a year makes. It’s more focused now. The cocktail menu features dry and boozy classics instead of candy cocktails. The concoctions aren’t as ambitious as Rob Roy’s, the gold standard for craft cocktails in Belltown. But the bar does well with the Manhattan and several variations of that classic.

The Upstairs, 2209 Second Ave., offers happy hour daily from 5-8 p.m. with $2 Rainier, $4 well drinks, $6 house wine and $2 off on all cocktails ($6-$9) and some Spanish bites $4-$9. Food comes from the restaurant Pintxo downstairs (206-441-4013 or www.theupstairsseattle.com).

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

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