Things to Do

Eat Cheap! Where to Find Happy Hour Food

We've updated our guide for places where you can eat well during happy hours for less.

Photograph by David Hicks.

Monday through Friday: 3:30 to 6:30

At this Louisiana-style dining room, chef Jeff Tunks offers 14 appetizers at half-price. A sampling includes charbroiled oysters ($6), deep-fried pickles ($2.50), and smoked barbecue pork ribs ($5.50). Plus, there are specials on draft beer ($4), all cocktails ($5), and select pours of wine ($5). Available in the bar and patio only, except holidays.

Black’s Bar and Kitchen
Monday through Friday: 4 to 7; Sunday: 11 to 5

For seafood lovers, this Bethesda dining room—with lots of blond wood, comfortable stools, and booths—is a go-to happy-hour destination. Slurp briny oysters on the cheap (two for $2). 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 ($6.50). To drink, there are specials on draft beer ($2.75 to $3.75), wine ($5), and martinis ($6). Available in the bar only.

BlackFinn American Saloon
Daily: 4 to 7

At both the Bethesda and DC outposts, this saloon offers four varieties of flatbread pizza ($5). There’s the “Cheeseburger” with cheddar, dill pickles, and red onions; the Blackened Chicken with creamy peppercorn sauce and roasted red peppers; the Roasted Vegetable with provolone, squash, zucchini, broccoli, and mushrooms; and the Margherita with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Available in the bar only.
Cafe Asia
Daily: 4 to 7:30

Shuffle over to this pan-Asian spot—with locations in Rosslyn and downtown DC—for one of Washington’s most popular sushi-centric happy hours. You can nosh on $1.25-per-piece nigiri and discounted maki rolls. Also, sip $2.50 Kirin Ichiban beers and $4 carafes of hot or chilled sake. Available in the bar only.

Capitol Lounge
Monday through Friday: 4 to 7

Stop by this popular Hill bar—decked out in kitschy presidential memorabilia—on Monday night for half-price cheese pizza ($1 per topping), Tuesday night for 25-cent Buffalo wings, and Wednesday night for $5 quesadillas or a trio of beef tacos. There aren’t any food specials Thursday and Friday, but drink specials abound all week ($1 off beer, wine, and cocktails).

Chef Geoff’s
Monday and Tuesday: 3 to closing; Wednesday through Friday: 3 to 7; Saturday through Sunday: all day

Deals at the all-American hotspot include $9 gourmet pizzas and $6 burgers served with a mound of fries. Longneck bottles are $3, 16-ounce cans of PBR are $3.50, and a 34-ounce “supermug” of draft beer is $8. On Monday, all bottles of wine are half-price. Similar specials are available at Geoff Tracy’s other two locations in Northwest DC and Tysons Corner. Available in the bar only.

Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza
Monday through Friday: 4 to 7

Set in Chinatown, this cozy hangout offers a variety of 7-inch pizzas ($5)—from the traditional (pepperoni and sausage) to the gourmet (Genovese salami and four cheese). For libations, there’s $16 carafes of house-made sangría, and all American drafts are $1 off. Available in the bar only.

Heritage India
Daily: 4:30 to 7:30

Head to the long, sleek bar at this contemporary curry house where small plates, inspired by Indian street-fare, are half-price from 5 to 7. A sampling of menu items includes samosas ($2.50), garlic chicken kebabs ($3.50), and dahi bhalla ($3)—lentil dumplings in yogurt sauce. For drink specials, there are domestic beers ($2.75), house wine ($4.75), and cocktails ($4.75). Sunday through Tuesday, bottles of wine are half-price. Available in the bar only.

Johnny’s Half Shell
Monday through Friday: 4:30 to 7:30

Belly up to the bar at Ann Cashion’s Capitol Hill seafood joint for all kinds of snacks. Among the many offerings are a half-dozen charbroiled oysters ($9), a miniature Asian tuna sandwich ($2.50), barbecue shrimp with Asiago grits ($6.50), and grilled squid ($6). The drink deals aren’t anything special—draft beer is $5.50 a pint. Available in the bar only.

Morton’s the Steakhouse
Daily: 5 to 6:30, 9 to closing

The Bethesda and Georgetown locations of this high-end steakhouse offer a “bar bites” menu featuring a selection of gourmet eats for $5, including filet-mignon sandwiches, miniature crab cakes, and blue-cheese French fries. Alongside those treast, patrons can guzzle draft beer ($4), house wine ($5), and cocktails ($7). Available in the bar only.

Pizzeria Paradiso
Tuesday and Wednesday: 5 to 7

At this Neapolitan-style pizzeria—with locations in Dupont Circle and Georgetown—all appetizers are $5. The starters roster includes fresh mozzarella with sundried tomatoes, tuna/white-bean salad, and toasted house-made bread topped with goat cheese and prosciutto. Plus, there are 8-inch ($10) and 12-inch pizzas ($15.50) and half-price draft beer. Available in the lower level (Georgetown) and bar (Dupont Circle) only.

Monday through Friday: 4 to 7

At this contemporary Penn Quarter bistro, you can linger at the bar and graze on $5 truffled frites. Plus, you can pair the salty snack with $5 draft beers, as well as a selection of still and sparkling wines.

PS 7’s
Monday through Friday: 4 to 7

In the lounge of this Penn Quarter haunt, chef Peter Smith toys with upscale twists on junk food. Starters include boneless chicken wings ($10) and fried macaroni-and-cheese wrapped in bacon ($10). For something heartier, there’s a coffee-crusted burger ($12), a pair of Chicago hot dogs ($10), and few flatbreads ($11). There’s a wide selection of wine and cocktails (Gina Chersevani is one of Washington’s best mixologists), and beer ranges from the low end ($3 can of Miller High Life) to the high end ($8 can of Guinness Draught). Make sure to grab one of the low lounge tables or a spot on the outdoor patio.

Monday through Friday: 5 to 7, 10 to closing

Munch on a selection of $5 bar snacks at this Bethesda hangout, including a 9-ounce dry-aged burger, calamari, mussels, and frog legs. Pair them with $3 draft beers, $5 pours of wine, $5 sangría, and $5 cocktails. Available in the bar only.

Monday through Friday: 4 to 7

Situated on the Georgetown waterfront, this nautically themed spot puts out mussels with coconut-curry broth ($6), calamari crisps ($6), chicken tenders ($5), and miniature pizzas ($5). For $3, you can also knock back draft beers, cocktails, and pours of Chardonnay or Cabernet. And for $5, bartenders mix up Ketel One vodka any way you want it. Available at the upstairs bar only.

Spice Xing
Monday through Friday: 5 to 6:30

Situated in Rockville Town Square, this color-splashed restaurant offers $3 and $4 Indian bar snacks, including chicken-filled kati rolls, spinach/cottage-cheese dip, and tandoori wings. Domestic beers are $2.50, imported beers and rail drinks are $3.25, and house wines are $4.

Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro
Daily: 4 to 7

The extensive menu at this Mediterranean-inspired eatery offers all kinds of cheap eats, including steamed mussels in creamy Chardonnay sauce ($9); house-cured salmon atop mixed greens ($9); and fresh flounder ceviche marinated in lime juice ($10). Wash it all down with $3 beer, and $4 house wines and margaritas. The big draw here, though, is the oh-so-cute wraparound patio, which is perfect for people-watching.

Daily: 4 to 7

At this subterranean restaurant/lounge, tucked inside Dupont Circle’s Hotel Palomar, there are four varieties of 11-inch gourmet pizza ($8). There’s the Bianco with red onions, pistachios, and Parmigiano Reggiano; the Margherita with mozzarella and basil; the Salsiccia with sopressata, onions, sausage, olives, and artichokes; and the Affumicato with smoky blue cheese, bacon, and onions. Starting at 5, fresh-shucked oysters are $1 each. To drink, there’s $4 Peronis, and $5 still and sparkling wines.

Daily: 5:30 to 7:30

At Tracy O’Grady’s Arlington restaurant, opt for the bar. That’s where you can order from a lengthy menu of $5 bites, which includes veal sweetbreads, deviled eggs with smoked paprika, crab/artichoke dip, and crispy fried crab or pork rolls. An array of cocktails, beer, and wine by the glass is also $5.

Sunday through Friday: 4:30 to 6:30; Tuesday through Thursday: 10:30 to 11:30

There’s a lineup of small plates ($4) on the menu at this José Andrés mezzeteria, located in Penn Quarter. A sampling of options includes oregano-marinated Greek olives, crispy potatoes with yogurt, fried mussels in walnut-tarator sauce, and chickpea fritters with tahini. Available in the bar only.

Monday through Saturday: 5 to 7:30

If Latin/Asian-fusion fare sounds good to you, then head to restaurateur Richard Sandoval’s Penn Quarter spot. A roster of $5 small plates include Thai-chicken empanadas, shrimp-shiitake potstickers, steamed buns stuffed with pork belly, and Vietnamese beef-brisket tostadas. There’s also beer ($4), cocktails ($5), as well as red and white wine ($5) on special. Available in the bar and lounge only.

What are your tips for bargain food happy hours? Let us know in the comments below! 

Happy Hour Finder
Best Bars
Great Dates

More>> After Hours Blog | Arts & Events | Happy Hour Finder | Calendar of Events