The time to hit Matador in Ballard is 4-6pm or 10-12pm Sunday through Thursday for Happy Hour or to watch a game. Like it's cousin, Pesos, in Lower Queen Anne - just about any $4 appetizer is going to be great during these times. My favorites on the happy hour menu include the romaine salad, fire jumbo prawns, fish tacos, and the nachos (add chicken). If you can't make it by 6pm - try the chevre-filled bacon-wrapped jalepenos, the 1/2lb burger or the Habenero Enchiladas (one of the few items also found on Pesos menu).
Beyond the food, the atmosphere is warm and inviting - a triangle of glass on the corner of Ballard Ave and Market - where the sun sets framed perfectly in the summer evenings - even has a number of tables set outside the open windows in the warmer months. The custom wood and ironwork, as well as warm colors, open fire pit, grand mirrors, hanging glass globe lights, and a hip selection of music make you as comfortable as any of the many staff who have been there since it opened.
For lunches and weeknights, you're likely to find mostly casually dressed, friendly Ballard residents or regulars of all ages from nearby neighborhoods at the bar who welcome a good chat. If the weeknight crowd sounds appealing, definitely find other places to go on the Friday/Saturday nights though, as you will find the regulars driven out by the super-sharky, cuff links and cleavage Belltown overflow, snorting heavy perfumes and cologne, ogling each other and the wait staff, while crushing in to standing-room only 3-4 deep from the bar.