UPDATED: More Government Shutdown Dining and Drinking Deals

If only elected officials could come together like chefs and bartenders.

Drink one of many discounted beers around town while you wait for the government to come to its senses. Photograph by Scott Suchman

There’s at least one small upside to the impending government shutdown: Restaurants and bars are stepping up the hospitality game, offering specials and discounts to furloughed workers and the dispirited public alike. Deals will be offered over the course of the closure and last until the House and Senate come to their senses, unless otherwise stated. Government employees, don’t forget to head out with your work ID, as many specials that apply only to you require proof to purchase. 

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken 

There’s nothing like temporary joblessness to start a comfort food craving. Get yours and then some at Astro, which offers a free doughnut with any fried chicken or doughnut purchase if you show a government ID. 

BLT Steak

Government employees who feel like they’ve been given a “raw deal” can find a better version at BLT Steak, which discounts freshly shucked oysters at the bar. This week you’ll find $1 bivalves (typically $3). 


President Obama, Speaker Boehner, and Senate Leader Reid, take note: Carmine’s CEO Jeff Bank is extending a free invitation to any of the restaurant’s nine private rooms to settle your disagreements over spaghetti and meatballs. Everyone else: you’ll find an Olive Branch cocktail at the bar ($12) with gin, olives, pickled onions, and rosemary. 

The Coupe

At 50 cents for items such as Sriracha-glazed wings, deviled eggs, and roasted corn hushpuppies, the Coupe’s happy hour is one of the cheapest around. The deal is extended for all from 2 to 8 (normally 5 to 8) through the shutdown, including $3 Natty Boh and $5 glasses of wine. 

DC Reynolds

The Petworth neighborhood bar typically offers a generous happy hour deal with two-for-one on all drinks, but they’re being extra nice during the shutdown, opening early for BOGO booze from 11 to 9. An extra perk: a large outdoor patio. 

The Daily Dish

Undercaffeinated in Silver Spring? If the government shuts down, furloughed workers can find comfort in a free cup of coffee on Tuesday. 

Del Campo

Head to the bar at chef Victor Albisu’s polished South American eatery anytime during the shut down and expect happy hour pricing with your government ID. 

Duffy’s Irish Pub

The Irish bar plans to offer specials such as $2 PBR tallboys and $5 Jameson shots after 10 PM Monday through Thursday. 

Glen’s Garden Market 

Head to the locally minded market on Tuesday for a furlough party, where out-of-work employees get their first round of beer or wine free from 10 to noon.

Granville Moore’s

The H Street pub opens early at 2 on Tuesday for lunch and—even better—day drinking. You’ll find $1 Stella beers and $3 Under Pressure pork belly bites. 

Hill Country

Fancy a margarita? The Texas ’cue joint offers all-day happy hour to government employees for the length of the shutdown. Think $3 PBR and $5 margaritas. 

José Andrés Restaurants (all locations of Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel)

The Spanish toque tweeted that he’s giving away a free sandwich to all the furloughed folks with government IDs from 3 to 5 at all of his Washington restaurants.

Ireland’s Four Courts

Think Tuesday is lame? The Arlington bar would like to prove otherwise, throwing an all-day happy hour with regular Tuesday specials from 11 to 8. Think discount drinks, half-price appetizers, and Champions League soccer matches galore. 

Irish Whiskey

The whiskey spot is offering happy hour prices on drinks and $1 off appetizers until 8 PM when you show your government ID.

Kangaroo Boxing Club

Feeling screwed by the government? Take your frustration to the Columbia Heights neighborhood restaurant, which throws a boozy “shutdown lunch” from noon to 5 with $3 Screwdrivers. 

La Tasca

Drown your sorrows—and get in some of your daily fruit intake—at La Tasca, which is offering $20 pitchers of Shutdown Sangria at all its locations all day until the government reopens.


The party starts early at Marvin, which welcomes ID-bearing furloughed employees starting at noon on Tuesday for specials on the deck. The price for Stella Artois beers start at $1 from noon to 1. The price keeps rising as the day continues (just like the deficit!), capping off at $4, where it’ll hold steady. 


The newest frozen yogurt shop on U Street offers government workers a 20 percent discount on any size container of froyo, plus free rein on its 40 varieties of toppings (candies, cereal, cookies, fresh fruit, etc.). 

Meridian Pint 

Time to hit the tap tables: The Columbia Heights beer bar offers a 10 percent discount to anyone who shows a federal ID from noon to 5. 

Mockingbird Hill

Federal employees with refined palates can head to Derek Brown’s sherry bar for a gratis glass of fortified wine. 

Osteria Marzano

Furloughed employees who head to the new Alexandria Italian during happy hour (Monday through Friday 4 to 7) will get deeper discounts. Think half off select pizzas, $3 drafts, and $4 house cocktails. 

Ovvio Osteria

Not only does this Merrifield Italian boast a solid lunch deal (two courses for $12), it’s also offering free bruschetta for the furloughed from noon to 3. 

Passion Food Hospitality Restaurants 

All of chef Jeff Tunks’s restaurants get into the all-day happy hour game for federal employees, with $5 margaritas at Ceiba and Fuego Cocina, and more specialty cocktails and half-price appetizers at the bar for others like Acadiana and DC Coast.

Pitango Gelato

While not directly tied to the shutdown, Pintago offers two-for-one coffees starting Tuesday until October 6 (excluding the Capitol Hill location). Handy if the government reopens this week and you need a caffeine kick, or if it doesn’t (more energy for errands!).

Pork Barrel BBQ

The Del Ray barbecue joint jumps into the political game by offering one free pulled-pork sandwich a day to ID-card-wielding government employees. Congressmen, you’re out of luck—the offer won’t apply to you

Port City Brewing Company 

Take advantage of a free afternoon (or—yikes—afternoons) and head to Alexandria’s standout brewery, which offers 20 percent discounts on draft pints and growlers of Essential Pale Ale to all. The Tasting Room will also open early at 4 on Wednesday. 


The 14th Street corridor’s stalwart Italian extends a dinner deal to all patrons in the bar area, with an entrée-size butternut squash ravioli in brown butter sauce for $10 and glasses of select Italian red and white wine for $5. Also on offer: $5 coffee granita with whipped cream through Sunday in honor of the recent passing of cookbook author Marcella Hazan, using her recipe. (Note: The shutdown deal runs until the reopening.) 

Sixth & I

The historic synagogue and event center casts itself as “shutdown central.” For the stomach: free coffee and snacks. For the spirits: political ping pong (red versus blue), bipartisan board games, and constant streaming of The West Wing. We need you now, Josh Lyman! 

Sophie’s Cuban

Lower Dupont’s latest addition, a branch of the New York-based Sophie’s Cuban chain, will offer three free empanadas with any purchase (and the good ol’ government ID) when it opens on October 3.


Free cupcake alert: Government workers who show their employee ID at the Georgetown Sprinkles location on Tuesday receive a complimentary confection. 

Taylor Gourmet 

All locations of the Philadelphia sandwich joint are offering a 10 percent discount, as well as “career counseling and a cookie,” to furloughed government employees with purchase of any hoagie or salad. 

Torpedo Factory 

The Alexandria art gallery extends a free tall brewed coffee from its cafe to all visitors bearing a federal ID. 

Trummer’s on Main

NOVA government workers, there’s a close-by deal for you: The Clifton restaurant offers a 50 percent discount on all wine by the glass, beer, and cocktails from 5 to 7 (excluding Monday and Saturday). 


You can find a silver lining to the shutdown at Urbana if the closure draws out for weeks. The bar plans to extend happy hour by one hour every day the government is closed, starting Tuesday from 4 to 8 (and then jumping to 9, 10, etc.). Specials for all include $6 wines, $5 bar bites, and $1 oysters by the half and full dozen. 


Play bocce, snack on discounted tapas, and drink $5 glasses of wine until the sun goes down at this U Street neighborhood wine bar, which offers happy hour prices to all government employees until 9.


Show some smarts and get to this Capitol Hill cocktail den, which offers 20 percent discounts on customer’s entire tabs starting Tuesday.


The burger chain frequently gives away free patties, and this opportunity government shutdown proves no exception. Federal and DC workers who show a government ID will be treated to a burger at the Arlington, Tenleytown, Southwest, and Columbia Heights locations starting Tuesday from 11 to 1 and 5 to 7. The offer lasts until the government reopens.

See also: 11 Early Happy Hours to Try Now

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.