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10 Best Happy Hours in DC

By Rina Rapuano
May 5, 2014
Photo by: Christopher Anderson

Not all happy hours are created equal. Some merely offer a few bucks off of a drink or two, while others all but roll out the red carpet. We've chosen 10 great happy hours that deserve the spotlight, places where you can find deep discounts on a large selection of drinks and nibbles. In some cases, you can even enjoy them alfresco and try out a new spot or a celebrity-chef place on the cheap. Here are our picks for happy hours that will truly lift your spirits:

  • Kellari Taverna 

    This K Street Greek seafood spot not only hosts happy hour from 4-8 PM seven days a week, the bar also offers complimentary cheese, crostini and marinated kalamata olives. You'll also find $5 domestic drafts, $6 import drafts, $7 select wines and a sip-and-slurp deal: a half dozen Blue Point oysters and a draft beer for $12. 

    1700 K St. NW; 202-535-5274

  • Casa Luca

    Sitting at the bar recently, our ears perked up when we heard the staff offering free deviled eggs, chicken salad on crostini and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus to their happy-hour guests. Happy hour here takes place from 4-7 PM weeknights, when a rotating roster of elegant, free snacks are available at the bar and on the patio. Drink deals include a selection of $5 beers, $6 wines by the glass and $5 cocktails. 

    1099 New York Ave. NW; 202-628-1099

  • Central Michel Richard  

    Happy hour isn't just a great way to unwind after a long day - it's also a great way to sample some celebrity-chef bites without the celebrity-chef prices. Central's happy hour runs from 5-6:30 PM weekdays in the bar and lounge, where you can try the much-touted burgers in slider form for $3-$4 a pop. (The full-size versions go for $17-$21 during dinner.) There are also daily drink specials, like Monday's half-price wines by the glass offering.

    1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-626-0015

  • Photo by: Travis Vaughn

    Piola  

    Piola is another of the few places offering free happy-hour bites at the bar from 4:30-7:30 PM weekdays. The offerings depend on the mood of the kitchen but can include bruschetta, small pizzas, vegetables or chicken skewers - basically, Italian small bites. Select $4 beers, $5 wines by the glass and $6 cocktails are also available.

    2208 14th St. NW, 202-986-8729; 1550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-528-1502

  • Rí Rá  

    Georgetown's new Irish pub launched a pretty great happy hour just this week, available weekdays from 3-6 PM in the pub’s main Victorian bar. All the specials are an easy-to-remember price of $5, which can buy you a craft draft beer of the week, a glass of house wine, a plate of pub poutine (hand-cut fries topped with crumbled lamb, goat cheese and McDonnell’s Irish curry sauce) or whiskey-garlic mussels, among other things. Stick around and you might catch a live Irish music performance. 

    3123-3125 M St. NW; 202-751 2111

  • Photo by: Under a Bushel Photography

    Red Light 

    This brand-new dessert and cocktails bar just began its happy hour this week, offering a few half-priced savory dishes like fondue for two, a daily featured dessert, plus beers that range from $1.75-$6; wines and champagnes by the glass that cost $3.50-$6.50; and half-priced cocktails on tap, bringing them down to $5 each. The deal is offered daily from 4-7 PM at the bar, in the restaurant and on the patio.

    1401 R St. NW; 202-234-0400

  • Photo by: Christopher Anderson

    Roofers Union

    The Adams Morgan hot spot has a new happy hour in its first-floor bar daily from 5-7 PM: $3 local drafts, $5 wines by the glass, $5 rail cocktails and $5 bar bites including housemade pretzels with "white wiz" (think: Cheese Whiz), cauliflower, the dirty-water dog, wings and bratwurst. The restaurant will also regularly host local live music, starting at two nights a week with a variety of blues, rock, bluegrass and New Orleans horn bands.

    2446 18th St. NW; 202-232-7663

  • Mothership  

    We love the wide variety of things available at deep discounts during the happy hour at this Park View neighborhood spot. From 5:30-7:30 PM Tuesday through Friday, you can enjoy half off of all beer, wine, cocktails, infusions and tinchos - Argentine wine over ice. In addition, all sandwiches are half off during the same time frame Tuesdays through Thursdays for what they jokingly call "Sammie Hour."

    3301 Georgia Ave. NW; 202-286-0643

  • Bar Pilar

    Each weeknight, chef Jesse Miller assembles 10 orders of personal deep-dish pizzas (apparently, he only has 10 pans) for $5 apiece starting at 5 PM and available till they're gone. Toppings have included corned lamb, shallot and blue cheese; puttanesca with boquerones, green olives, capers and blended sheep's milk cheese; and apple-brined pork belly with pineapple and manchego. Drink specials and other dish deals are available for $5 each from 5-7 PM weeknights.

    1833 14th St. NW; 202-265-1751

  • Equinox

    This Downtown mainstay recently implemented a "commuter hour" weekdays from 5:30-8 PM, when deals can be found in the bar and lounge on eight or so dishes that range in price from $4-$10 and include five vegetarian (two of which are vegan!) options. Goose Island brews are available for $4-$7 each, and select cocktails and wines by the glass go for $5 apiece.

    818 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-331-8118

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Places Mentioned

Piola

Pizza • U Street Corridor

Food21 Decor19 Service18 Cost$24
 
 
 
Equinox

NoneWhite House/World Bank

Food25 Decor22 Service24 Cost$68
 
 
 
Bar Pilar

American • 14th Street Corridor

Food23 Decor19 Service19 Cost$20
 
 
 
Kellari Taverna

Fine Dining • White House/World Bank

Food23 Decor21 Service21 Cost$62
 
 
 
Piola

Pizza • Arlington

Food21 Decor19 Service18 Cost$24
 
 
 
Central Michel Richard

NonePenn Quarter/Chinatown

Food26 Decor21 Service23 Cost$54
 
 
 
Casa Luca

NoneMount Vernon Square

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Mothership

New American • Park View

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Ri Ra

Irish • Georgetown

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Roofers Union

NoneAdams Morgan

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Red Light

Cocktail Bar • 14th Street Corridor

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
 
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