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Happy Hour: Astro Lounge 

What's the ideal menu for a seven-year-old's birthday? How about hush puppies and pigs in blankets? Pizza and chips and dip? Sounds perfect, though when the party's for the seventh anniversary of Astro Lounge-Bend's one-shop answer to Northwest Portland or Williamsburg, Brooklyn-you can bet that those old favorites come with an attitude and a formidable playlist. Astro Lounge, once largely a waiting room for its neighboring restaurant Marz, is all grown up, independent, and serving one of the best happy hour deals in town.
The indie rock child in all of us will revel in Astro's souped-up puppies, crunchy corn fritters with a touch of sweetness served on a pool of citrus mayo; piggies, slices of fresh bread with Italian sausage baked into the middle, drizzled with honey mustard (nice concept, but the queen-size blanket kind of smothers the pig); a rotating selection of happy hour pizza options; chilled smoked chicken salad packed on crispy wonton chips with pickled jalapeño; and other high-minded takes on American classics. The clientele and staff of carefully appointed twentysomethings and the aging hipsters they're modeled after compliment the ironic undertone of Astro's throwback menu. The leopard print barstools, retro couches, and orbiting colored lights on the ceiling couldn't suit the crowd more perfectly-not to mention the portraits on the wall of Burt Reynolds, Wonder Woman, Mr. T, and Tom Waits (alongside a topless Medusa with an octopus sucking on her shoulder). Soak it in while enjoying an inventive happy hour cocktail special or $3 draft and a soundtrack that ranges from older acts that haven't lost their cool (or have since regained it)-Billy Idol, Blondie, the Clash-to the most buzzed about newer bands. So, congratulations to Astro Lounge on having achieved what we all strive for-growing up without getting old.What: Astro Lounge Happy Hour, 147 NW Minnesota Avenue

When: Sun.-Wed., all night; Thur.-Sat., 5-7 p.m.
Drink Specials: $3 drafts; $4 house red or white wine; $5 cocktail specials
Food Specials: Happy hour plates range from $3-$5 ($5 options are pretty much full meals)
Why? Because comfort food doesn't have to come out of a microwaveable bag.

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