5 Great Happy Hours in Arlington

Where to drink—and graze on tapas, barbecue, and some of the best hot dogs in town—on the extra-cheap.

Lyon Hall's frankfurters. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Washingtonian-Recommends-200Bayou Bakery

Even if you get out of work late, you still won’t miss happy hour at David Guas’s chill bakery/cafe. Weekdays from 5 to 9, score $3 bites like deviled eggs, bacon-and-blue-cheese dip, and pimiento cheese and Ritz crackers. Mondays bring $5 seasonal punches and on Fridays, pitchers of Abita Amber go for $14.

Kapnos Taverna

$7 classic cocktails—daiquiris, palomas—plus $6 Greek wines and $5 beers are on offer every day between 3 and 6 at Mike Isabella’s glassy mod-Greek place in Ballston. And you can fill up on a nice array of $5 plates, including marinated mussels and crispy eggplant.

Lyon Hall

One of our favorite happy hour snacks—or snacks, period—in all the area is the Lyon Hall frankfurter ($6.50), a short-rib hot dog nestled in a glossy poppy-seeded roll and spooned with mustard and sauerkraut. There are other worthy reasons to hit this brasserie any day between 3 and 7: a $5 hefeweizen or Provence rose, $10 pots of mussels, and treats like Bavarian pretzels ($5.95) with fondue and honey-mustard butter for dipping.


You might be parked in the middle of Ballston, but the food here evokes a tapas crawl in Madrid. Everyday between 4 and 7, graze on $7 plates like fried padron peppers, garlicky shrimp in olive oil, and croquetas. And there’s a generous range of wine ($7), sangria, ($6), beer ($5), and cocktails ($8), including a refreshing mix of bourbon, grapefruit, and lavender honey.

Texas Jack’s

Five bucks will get you a lot at this brightly lit Lyon Park barbecue hall: a glass of wine, a Port City Optimal Wit (or any other draft beer), but best of all, an excellent brisket sandwich, laden with creamy queso and fried onions. Specials run Monday through Friday between 4 and 7.





Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.