Happy hour in the panhandle doesn't have to mean all-fried or totally unhealthy (not that we don't love a good basket of crispy chicken strips and jo-jo's with a heaping helping of ranch dressing). Asian duck, salmon satay, hummus and veggies... for under $5? Totally doable. And once you've sampled some of what the area's restaurants have to offer, we think you'll be back for more.
620 N. Spokane St., Post Falls • 208-777-2102, facebook.com/OvalOfficepf
Where else do you see (Sarah) Palin's panties for fewer than 6 bucks? Oval Office, with its western-facing porch and two happy hours: 3-6 pm or late night, 9-11 pm. All martinis — like Palin's Panties with Absolut Citron and grapefruit — and most appetizers are just $5.50 (clams, mussels and tacos are $7.50). Nosh on little lamb burgers with gooey Gorgonzola ($5.50) or the surprisingly light fried calamari with zesty caper sauce ($5.50).
1710 W. Riverstone Dr., Coeur d'Alene •
Well drinks using their proprietary brand of rum, gin or vodka are always $4 at Bardenay, but happy hour from 4-6 pm means the added bonus of fairly healthy appetizers that encourage sharing. At $2 to $4 each, you can try several satays: balsamic and soy marinated beef with wasabi sour cream sauce ($2), garlic, citrus and ginger marinated chicken breast with sesame-soy dipping sauce ($2) or teriyaki salmon with mango salsa ($4). The hummus plate with pita, olives, veggies and feta ($4) makes a light but satisfying meal on a warm summer day.
101 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene •
You won't have to know what omakase means (it's Japanese for letting the chef decide what you'll eat) during Bonsai Bistro's happy hour, daily from 4-6 pm, but you will have to sit at the sushi bar. Have a pint of PBR ($2) or chef's choice of wine ($3) to counteract the spicy wok-fried shrimp and veggies ($5) or Vietnamese bowl with shrimp, veggies, vermicelli noodles, Thai basil and broth ($4). Try the duck quesadilla ($6) or select sushi rolls like the Bruce Lee with albacore tuna ($5).
SEASONS OF COEUR D'ALENE
209 E. Lakeside Ave., Coeur d'Alene •
On Wednesdays, ladies get an extra hour of love at Seasons' happy hour, which is otherwise 3-6 daily. Sit near an open window, sip a margarita-tini ($6) and share a plate of mix-and-match tacos: crisp chicken or soft pork ($2). If lighter fare is more your style, try edamame with a hint of sea salt ($4). Nothing satisfies like a burger, though. We love the Kobe beef sliders ($7) on handmade buns.
751 N. 4th St., Coeur d'Alene • 208-667-4843, caponespub.com
There are plenty of ways to work up a late night appetite in North Idaho: being on the lake, hiking, attending monthly art walks. Capone's has you covered in three locations — Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Hayden — with a weekday happy hour from 9-11 pm. Drink specials (50¢ off draft beer, $1 off well drinks) and a $5 appetizer menu fit your style and budget in this laid-back pub. Try a 9-inch pepperoni version of their award-winning pizza, garlicky artichoke dip, or meatball sliders on a homemade bun. ♦