News & Politics

Happy Food Hours

Where to eat well during happy hours—from burgers to mezze to mussels—for less.

Beacon Bar & Grill
Monday through Friday 4 to 7

James Bond fans can get their martini fix and fill up on tasty appetizers without an MI6 budget at this Rhode Island Avenue, Northwest, hotel restaurant. For three hours each night, get yours shaken not stirred (or however else you’d like it) for only $5, and choose from classic bar fare such as chicken wings and artichoke dip for the same price. If you’re looking for a Bond-worthy view, however, be prepared to shell out a little more—the Martini Sky Bar, on the roof of the hotel, doesn’t participate in the special and is known to charge more for cocktails that can be had for much cheaper downstairs.

Black’s Bar & Kitchen
Monday through Friday 4 to 7

The bar at Black’s—lots of blond wood with comfortable stools and booths—buzzes with well-dressed crowds thanks to a happy-hour deal for seafood lovers. Settle in for $6 martinis, $2.75 Miller Lite drafts, or a $5 glass of wine, and slurp briny bay oysters on the cheap (two for $1.99). Old Bay–sprinkled shrimp on ice are 50 cents each. “Addie’s mussels,” in a broth of tomato, garlic, and shallots and served with warm, crusty bread, are half price at $6.50.

Creme Cafe and Lounge
Monday through Friday 6 to 7

By the looks of the quiet bar scene, not many people know about this U Street Southern-accented restaurant’s quickie happy hour. If they did, the line would be out the door. Signature drinks, such as black-cherry cosmos, Dark and Stormies, and Yellow Cabs (a mix of Cognac, pineapple juice, and lime), are $5. Same goes for snacks. A juicy burger with well-seasoned fries can double as dinner.
Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza
Monday through Friday 4 to 7

It’s hard to argue with $5 pizza, especially when the personal-size pies can be had norcia-style—with pesto, prosciutto, and potato—or even swathed with mushrooms and goat cheese. Wash down your pie with a beer or two, as happy hour gets you $1 off an impressive selection of American drafts. If you’re in the mood to ring in the summer, grab some friends and head over after work—tasty house-made sangria is $16 for a carafe and $3.50 a glass.

Heritage India Dupont
Daily; food 5 to 7, drinks 4:30 to 7:30

More contemporary and colorful than its Glover Park sibling, this Dupont Circle Indian spot offers many deals at the long, sleek bar: tapas-style takes on Indian street food are half price (most under $4), cocktails are $4.75 (the selections are well mixed if standard), and beers are $2.75 domestic or $3.50 imported. Wine by the glass is $4.75, and Champagne by the glass is $5.50. We like the bargain samosas stuffed with curried peas and potatoes, the pakoras, and more-modern dishes such as dahi bhalla—lentil dumplings artfully arranged in a yogurt sauce.

Peacock Cafe
Monday through Friday 5 to 7

A popular brunch destination among Georgetown residents, this colorful restaurant is quickly becoming a destination for those looking to enjoy a little fresh air with their drinks. Sip on $4 beers, $5 glasses of wine, $6 cocktails, and $7 martinis. Whimsically garnished versions of happy-hour staples such as nachos, artichoke dip, and burgers are half price at the sleek red bar. Head over anytime after 5 Sunday through Tuesday for 50 percent off select bottles of wine.
PS 7’s
Monday through Friday 4 to 7

In the lounge off this sleek Penn Quarter dining room, chef Peter Smith toys with upscale twists on junk food. Mussels are steamed with saffron; tuna sliders are butter-brushed Parker House rolls stuffed with tuna tartare; and arancini are shrunken versions of baseball-size fried risotto balls popular on the streets of Italy. At happy hour, flatbreads topped with duck, prosciutto, or goat are half price. Selected wines are $4 a glass, and a featured beer is $3. Grab one of the low lounge tables or a seat on the outdoor patio, and don’t miss the free house-made caramel popcorn.

Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro
Monday through Thursday 5 to 7, Friday through Sunday 4 to 7

People watching—especially on the wraparound patio—is the draw at this Mediterranean-inspired neighborhood spot between DC’s Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan. With broad wooden benches and tables on the sidewalk patio, there’s plenty of space to sit and sip. House wines and margaritas are $4, all beers are $3, and martinis and rail drinks are $5.50 to $6.50. Food specials swing between Mediterranean mezze such as hummus and flaky, spinach-stuffed borek and bar fare such as nachos.

Southside 815
Monday through Friday 4 to 7

There are few empty seats at this wood-paneled bar. Guys straight from the office roll up their sleeves and dig into platefuls of 35-cent Buffalo wings while they watch ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption on the flat-screen TVs. The wings are good—hefty and not greasy—but the miniature fried-oyster po’ boys and nachos loaded with smoky pulled pork go well beyond standard bar snacks. A $1.50 po’ boy order brings three round, buttery biscuits with two plump oysters tucked inside each plus a tangy rémoulade on the side. Pair them with a $2.50 Bud Light and you’ll get change back from a five.

Taberna del Alabardero
Monday through Friday 3 to 7

This opulent Spanish dining room woos younger customers with half-price tapas before the expense-account set arrives. The happy-hour crowd sometimes spills out of the cozy bar into the dining room, where you might find yourself snacking atop a plush crimson banquette. Recent winners are sweet piquillo peppers stuffed with Catalonian sausage ($4.25) and a crock of shrimp sizzling in olive oil and garlic ($6.75 for a large portion). Pitchers of sangria are $14 for one of the best renditions in town.

Toledo Lounge
Nightly, food until 11; drinks Sunday through Tuesday 6 to 9, Wednesday through Saturday 6 to 8

You can’t find a bar much friendlier and less pretentious than the narrow Toledo Lounge, a refuge from the usual Adams Morgan madness. It’s a dive in every sense—duct tape hides holes in the vinyl booths—and there’s nothing highfalutin on the menu, either. Half-price food deals abound: Appetizers on Mondays, burgers on Tuesdays, and grilled cheese and hot dogs on Wednesdays. Skip the dog—it’s okay but not special—and go for the melted-cheese sandwich on buttered sourdough with a side of onion rings. Wash them down with $2 drafts. If liquor is your thing, rail drinks are $3.

Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.