3356 SE Belmont St., 235-6041, aaltolounge.com. 5 pm-2:30 am Monday-Thursday, 4 pm-2:30 am Friday-Sunday.
The most cosmopolitan bar east of 12th Street? Perhaps it’s Aalto Lounge, especially before the sloppy late night crew arrives. This Belmont gem is well-loved for its outrageous happy hour ($2 cocktails, $2 grilled cheese, $10 bottles of wine) but it’s even better around, say, 9 pm on a Friday. At that time you can slouch into the clean-lined Scandinavian modernist furniture (the bar is named for a $5,000 Finnish chair) as a lady DJ spins early hip-hop wax pressed in Queens or Brooklyn while sipping something from a killer lineup of stiff $8 cocktails that heavily favor gin and rye. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Happy hour: Open-7 pm daily. $2 cocktails, $2 food specials, $10 bottles of wine, buckets of beer.