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Crazy Cheap 


When our twenty-something intern wanted to know about the best happy hour in the neighborhood, we looked up from our brown bag lunch blankly. Food and drinks, just for fun, in this economy? Crazy kid.

And then we hit Stark's Steakhouse, which is responding to the Great Recession by transitioning its venerable establishment away from special occasion to every occasion, heralding nine new menu items under $20, a new emphasis on seafood and fresh pasta, and with a happy hour from another planet. Monday through Friday from 3pm to 6pm, happy folks can eat and drink like newly minted royalty from a full bar menu that includes meatloaf sliders, barbecued oysters, truffled fries and other comestibles for just $1.50. Each. For an extravagant $3.50, the wily diner can enjoy fondue, Indian bread, calamari, onion rings and other your-heart-will-survive-this bar-based wonders. Wednesday through Thursday, a Beefeater martini is just $2. Friday adds free live music to the mix. Like that. Our group of eight ate and drank for two full hours totaling a bill that came out to $10 per person. Best of all, the staff are as attentive and prompt as they would be were we actually newly minted royalty.This deal is tied somehow to the Dow Jones, meaning that taking advantage of it is a now kind of thing. Get thee there. Now.

Stark's Steakhouse, 521 Adams St., Santa Rosa. 707.546.5100.

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