These DC-Area Restaurants Will Offer Government Shutdown Specials

Federal workers can head to these spots for deals like all-day happy hour if a shutdown happens.

This spread goes for $25 for government employees at American Ice Company. Photograph courtesy of American Ice Company.

Update: Congress passed a last-minute funding bill over the weekend, averting the government shutdown.

DC-area restaurants are already committing to discounts for the more than 440,000 government workers across the District, Maryland, and Virginia as a shutdown looms. Restaurant industry professionals know a prolonged shutdown can seriously hurt their businesses, and many turned to luring customers with deals during the last shutdown, which stretched for a month between 2018 and 2019. This time around, restaurants are ready with offers even before a shutdown is announced. Catch a break from these politically frustrating (and financially painful) times at one of the below restaurants:


All Set

8630 Fenton St., Silver Spring

At this downtown Silver Spring seafood spot, government employees have access to an all-day happy hour with $2 oysters, $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon, $6 house wines, $8 cocktails, and $20 shareable fishbowl cocktails. 


American Ice Company

917 V St., NW

For $25, Ian and Eric Hilton’s beer and barbecue parlor near the 9:30 Club will furnish furloughed employees with a plate of swachos (barbecue-queso nachos) and a pitcher of Narragansett beer. No government IDs necessary— just specify you are a federal employee or contractor. 


Any Day Now

2 I St., SE

Breakfast scallion pancakes are a highlight at Any Day Now, where furloughed workers can get a discount. Photograph by Birch Thomas.

At his new all-day comfort food spot, Chef Tim Ma, a former contractor with the Department of Defense, is offering a deal on his entire menu (including the celebrated breakfast scallion pancakes). If the government shuts down, federal employees with ID get 10 percent off their checks (valid for the whole table of up to 4 guests). For every day the shutdown continues, Any Day Now will increase the discount percentage by one point—in other words, 11 percent on day two, 12 percent on day three, et cetera.


The Brighton

949 Wharf St., SW

Federal workers get 10 percent off all food—mains include fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and curries—at this British-themed Wharf pub (also from the Hilton brothers). There’s also a special $10 “Red, White, and Blew It” punch. No need to flash a federal ID. 


Brookland’s Finest

3126 12th St., NE

The Northeast neighborhood bar and kitchen is extending its weekday happy hour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and mixing a special “Aromatherapy” cocktail to relieve stress for government workers. During all-day happy hour, draft and canned beers go for $6, and house cocktails and wines go for $10. 



425 7th St., NW

At the longstanding Penn Quarter outpost of the roomy New York red-sauce joint, workers impacted by the shutdown can belly up to the bar for all-day happy hour specials: $5 meatball sliders and two $8 special cocktails—the “Here We Go Again” frozen Cosmo and the “Essential Worker” frozen peach bellini. No government ID is required, and Carmine’s encourages workers from other affected sectors—like law firms, trade associations, and DC government—to take part.


Cinder BBQ

800 Upshur St., NW

Feds can present a valid ID to order from a $10 shutdown special menu that includes items like Petworth hot wings and brisket nachos and drinks like a Sazerac Old Fashioned. The special menu will be available as long as the shutdown lasts and is valid for two people per ID. 


El Rey

919 U St., NW; 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

The lively shipping container taqueria’s U Street location will offer three tacos for $10 for government workers, and its Arlington location will serve $8 margaritas, $5.50 sangria and micheladas, and discounted appetizers during an all-day shutdown happy hour. No federal ID needed. 


Hill East Burger

1432 Pennsylvania Ave., SE

The barbecue and burger saloon on the Hill will offer $1 Miller High Life to federal workers for the duration of the shutdown, along with special shot-and-beer pairings.


La Bise

800 Connecticut Ave., NW

At Ashok Bajaj’s French bistro steps from the White House, federal workers can feast on free(!) gougères (aged cheese puffs) with a valid government ID any time the restaurant is open. 



1811 Columbia Rd., NW

The longtime Adams Morgan sushi bar/drag brunch emporium is extending happy hour to an all-day affair for government employees with ID. The menu includes $6 sake, $5 Sapporo and Orion, $14 “pick two” sushi rolls, $8 sashimi, among other special prices.


Taco Bamba

Multiple locations

Victor Albisu’s taco mini-chain will kick off an all-day weekday happy hour for government workers with ID during the shutdown. Drinks go for $5 and so do Jeffreys, aka Taco Bamba’s crispy meat spring rolls.

Ike Allen
Assistant Editor