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Penny Pinchers: Dates on a Budget

Need a cheap-date idea? Here are good options from happy hours to discount theater nights.

Arlington billiards bar CarPool has weeknight drink and food specials that are sure to keep your wallet happy. Photograph by Chris Leaman

Weeknights from 4 to 7, you can get Miller Lite and rail drinks mixed with soda for $2.75. Yuengling, Peroni, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale costs $3.50. Nosh on half-price appetizers and half-price burgers on Tuesday and 35-cent wings on Wednesday.

Draft beer is $3, house wines and sangria are $4, and margaritas and caipiroska are $5. Appetizers range from $4 to $6. For $15, guests can order a glass of wine or a pint of beer, accompanied by a half-portion entrée and dessert. Weeknights from 4 to 6.

Comet Ping Pong
This Ping-Pong-and-pizza parlor is a popular spot for dates and easy on the wallet, too. Wood-fired pies topped with gourmet ingredient—think fresh clams, smoky Gouda, and roasted squash—cost $11 to $15. Cans of Pabst are $2.50. Ping-Pong is free.

Lounge 201
All-night specials include half-price martinis on Tuesday, wine on Wednesday, and draft beer on Thursday. Also on Thursday, $7 Hammer and Sickle cocktails, and on Friday, a specialty cocktail list, all for $7.50.

The Red Derby
Every hour is happy hour at this cash-only dive. All beers—$2 to $6—are served in cans. A beer-and-shot combo costs $5. Daily cocktail specials (Monday Manhattans, Tuesday Tequila Sunrises, and Wednesday White Russians) are $4.

Rail drinks and a selection of ten draft beers are $3. Wine by the glass, sangria, martinis, and cocktails are all $5. Bar munchies, also $5, include mussels, potato-chickpea cakes, and frog’s legs. Daily from 4 to 7.

Science Club
Monday from 5 PM to 2 AM and Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 8, Yuengling and Pabst Blue Ribbon cost $3. Amstel Light, Guinness, and rail drinks cost $4. Two Chilean wines—one red, one white—cost $5 a glass or $20 a bottle.

Every day from 4 to 7, bottles of Peroni and Estrella Galicia are $4, daily wine selections are $5, and four varieties of 11-inch gourmet pizza are $8. Starting at 5, fresh-shucked oysters—those eternal aphrodisiacs—are $1 each.

Weeknights from 4 to 7, house wines are $4. Mixed drinks—jade sour-apple martinis, fuchsia martinis, and King Street lemonade—are $4.50. Miller Lite, Yuengling, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on draft are $2.75. You can also score $4 nibbles, including French fries seasoned four ways.


National Theatre
Watch free dance performances every Monday night at the Helen Hayes Gallery, featuring a range of styles from Armenian folk to Broadway. Shows are at 6 and 7:30. Tickets are distributed 30 minutes before curtain on a first-come, first-served basis.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Score pay-what-you-can tickets for the first two performances of every main-stage subscription-series production. After that, theatergoers age 25 and under can buy $15 tickets. A limited number of side-balcony “stampede seats” are also available for $15 two hours before showtime.


Chef Geoff’s Downtown
Every Monday, wine bottles—normally $29 to $195—are half price. The extensive roster features a selection of nearly 100 varieties hailing from Chile, France, Germany, and Italy, among others.

Teatro Goldoni
Pay half price for any bottle of wine under $100 Monday through Thursday from 5 to 8 and Friday until 9. Italian and American wines are available, plus some French sparklers.

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