McCormick & Kuleto's Wants You to Soak Up the Booze
The hours: 3-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
The deals: Hefty snacks for $2-$5 apiece; $6.50-$7 cocktails.
The digs: The view's stupendous from the cocktail lounge of this handsome fish house, designed by Pat Kuleto: the northern waterfront, the sparkling bay, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the hills of Marin beyond. The inside features Ghirardelli Square's exposed brick plus a classic mahogany-and-brass bar with adjacent tables and comfy booths. The vibe is supplied by affable barkeeps, wide-eyed tourists, and in-the-know regulars scarfing early supper on the cheap.
The verdict: To the connoisseur, happy hour just isn't happy hour if it doesn't involve food, and McCormick & Kuleto's happy hour makes the grade with abundant, tasty, inexpensive options.
For a mere $1.95, one can enjoy fried chicken and biscuit sliders with jalapeño-honey mayo, garlicky hummus with pita chips, spicy tuna sushi, or a basket of fried zucchini. A big, tasty half-pound cheeseburger with a bushel of phenomenal fries will set you back an extra buck. Pork wontons, chicken wings, garlic-rosemary sweet-potato fries, and cheddar-stuffed jalapeño poppers are $3.95 per order; if you want to blow $4.95, there's shrimp ceviche, fried or steamed clams, or a mini hot dog trio with more of those skinny, crunchy fries. The $6.50-$7 drink specials include mojitos, melon-tinis, passionfruit cosmopolitans, and other colorful cocktails, each expertly concocted.
Overall grade: A-