Great Happy Hours That Can Double as Dinner

Or as date night.

Happy hour doubles as date night at TapaBar. Photograph by Scott Suchman

To see the rest of our Bar Snacks package, including where to get lobster quesadillas, foie gras waffles, and beer cheese, click here.

There’s a happy hour for every occasion.

If You Feel Like Dressing Up . . .

Head to: Jacques’ Brasserie
332 Springvale Rd., Great Falls; 703-759-3800

The deal: The brasserie below L’Auberge Chez François isn’t as fancy as its upstairs neighbor, but its bar still feels elegant. Tuesday through Saturday from 4:30 to 6:30 and Sunday from noon to 6:30, pair $8 cocktails and Crémant with $5 bites such as mini tartes flambées showered in bacon and the kitchen’s garlic bread with herbed cheese—one of the best parts of dinner in the fancier dining room, too.

If There’s a Game to Catch . . .

Head to: Ventnor Sports Cafe 
2411 18th St., NW; 202-234-3070

The deal: Depends on the night. Monday, the crispy wings are 75 cents. Tuesday, burgers are half-off. (Go for the Southwestern-style creation with pepperjack and roasted jalapeños.) Every evening between 4 and 7, tall-boy beers and flatbreads are $5.

If You’re With a Big Group . . .

Head to: Vinoteca 
1940 11th St., NW; 202-332-9463

The deal: Wine geeks, bocce fans, and beer-and-burger types will find common ground at this hangout off U Street, where, Tuesday through Sunday, 4-to-7 happy hour runs on two patios as well as in the dining room. Load up on the abundant cheese and charcuterie boards, plus chili-miso wings and fries with truffle aïoli. To drink, there’s $5 Peroni or Narragansett lager and a nice selection of $5 wines and $6 sangrías.

If You Need a Post-Shopping Pick-Me-Up . . .

Head to: TenPenh 
7900 Westpark Dr., Tysons; 703-910-3096

The deal: Weekdays from 3 to 7 and Sun-days from 4 to 9, a $5 menu includes baobuns (get ’em stuffed with spicy fried chicken and bread-and-butter pickles), a moo shu pork that could double as dinner, and cocktails such as frozen mai tais, lychee Bellinis, and a mojito made with pear sake.

If You’re Going on a Date . . .

Head to: TapaBar 
4901 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda; 240-483-4004

The deal: Bethesda’s most styling dining room offers $5 cocktails, sangrías, beers, and glasses of wine—plus reduced-price shares such as tomato bread with serrano ham and Manchego or mussels in white wine—weeknights between 4:30 and 6:30. Wednesdays, live Spanish guitar sets the mood even more.

If You Want to Skip Dinner . . .

Head to: Mintwood Place
1813 Columbia Rd., NW; 202-234-6732

The deal: Craving a designer burger? Tuesday through Friday from 5:30 to 7 and Sunday from 5:30 to 9, grab one of the best patties in town on the (relative) cheap—$12, down from $18. To start, look beyond the teensy $5 snacks and settle on a discounted app, such as the hearty burrata-kale-and-tamarind salad or wood-grilled octopus with smoked tomato.

If You’re in the Mood for Sushi . . .

Head to: Rakuya
1900 Q St., NW; 202-265-7258

The deal: Lately, we’ve been digging the nigiri, elaborate maki, and fusion-minded small plates at this Dupont Circle spot—especially weeknights between 4 and 7, when selections of each are a few bucks off. Don’t miss the fish-and-chips roll, with tempura-fried sea bass, malt vinegar, and tiny threads of potato, or the green monster roll, bursting with spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, shiitakes, and avocado.

This article appears in the November 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

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 Petworth.

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.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.