The Best Happy Hours in Your DC Neighborhood
In a town that works as hard as Washingtonians do, a good happy hour is essential. The deals need to be good enough to draw you from your desk or they must extend well into the evening or preferably all night on Mondays – and bars have clearly taken note. DC’s bar scene is better than ever but for those days when that first post-work drink can't come soon enough, here's your guide to happy hours in every neighborhood so your cocktail-fueled wind-down from the workday is never more than a few steps away.
Jack Rose Dining Saloon
When: Monday through Friday from 5 to 7:30pm
The Deal: Whether you want to spend your time upstairs on the open-air terrace or downstairs in the main bar area, you can take advantage of happy hour deals at this whiskey-focused bar’s happy hour. You’ll have to pay full price for pours from the vast whiskey list but if you stay away from spirits, you can get $2 off all drafts, $5 glasses of wine, and half-priced bar snacks like fries and hushpuppies.
When: Monday all night, Tuesday-Friday until 7 p.m.
The deal: You can’t stay the night at this cozy neighborhood cocktail bar, but you can sip on $6 bourbon or rye Old Fashioneds (try them with tequila or mezcal, too), $5 house white or red wine, and $3 cans of Narragansett Lager. Food is limited to a small selection of salty and crunchy snacks to stave off any pre-dinner hunger.
When: Daily from 3:30 to 8pm
The deal: It’s little surprise why the generous daily specials on frozen margaritas, beer, and Tex-Mex snacks remain a go-to for Hill workers. Drinks start at $4 for a can of Mexican lager and inch up from there, capping at a $15 32-ounce El Jefe margarita. Stick with the cheap stuff or upgrade to “fancy sangria,” premium tequila, and larger plates of food for a few bucks more.
When: Every day (yes, even weekends!) from 4 to 8pm
The deal: I’m all about bars with free snacks, so Jackpot already has a leg up on the competition in my eyes. The underground bar pops free popcorn all the time and is a no-frills locals hang out smack dab in the middle of the city. Happy hour means $2 off all beer and $5 rail drinks, and once you factor in that it’s offered every day and it stretches an hour past most joints, and heading to Jackpot is a no-brainer.
When: Every day from 4 to 8pm
The deal: Underground with darts, pool tables, and other arcade games, Rocket Bar is a downtown spot made for Capitol Hill’s younger set. Every single day of the week, you can get rail drinks, wine, and the draft of the month and still get change for a $5 (but don’t forget to use that extra dollar to tip!).
When: Monday through Friday from 5 to 7pm
The deal: This Indian restaurant along the Cleveland Park strip pairs upscale food with a casual atmosphere. It offers a $5 punch of the day, $6 wines, and 22-ounce bottles of Kingfisher beer for $7 during its weekday happy hour. House cocktails or house gin or vodka tonics run $8. Bar bites of samosa chat, spiced beef appams, and achari chicken paratha tacos are $5-$6 each.
When: Monday through Friday from 4 to 7pm
The deal: Make a date with the Clarendon location of this lively Balkan spot and its generous selection of $5 drinks and small plates. Sip the vodka-based kiwi smash, a rum basil cooler, or a classic margarita or mojito. Savory dishes range from garlic bean dip to a ground beef and veal kebab and “drunken” mussels with rakia, garlic, and capers. Beer, wine, and rail drinks are included as well.
When: Monday through Friday from 4 to 6pm
The deal: If your job has you trapped in the food and drink wasteland that is Crystal City, Jaleo is your welcome respite from the gray and concrete corporate buildings. Walk into Jose Andres’ colorful tapas joint and you can easily make a meal out of the $4 and $5 small plates and $7 sangria during the aptly named sangria hour.
When: Monday all day, Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 6:30pm, and Friday from 4 to 6:30pm
The deal: Tiki bars are nearly a dime a dozen these days, but the drinks usually cost a pretty penny. During happy hour, Bar Charley’s tiki-style enclave runs its Mai Tai and other classic cocktails like the Tom Collins, Sazerac, and Daiquiri on special for just $6.95 and on Mondays, the deals are available all night.
Hank’s Cocktail Bar
When: Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7pm
The deal: The second floor of Dupont’s Hank’s Oyster Bar is the home of this craft cocktail bar known for its unique ingredients and recipes. Select wines are a welcome $6 during happy hour, and cocktails like the sustainability-focused Trash Gimlet (gin, house cordial, and bitters) is $9 and Old Fashioneds are $8.
When: Monday through Friday from 4 to 7pm
The deal: Look past the fact that this Italian restaurant is a national chain and embrace the $16 bottles of house red and white wine and $10 margherita (or daily special) pizza at its bar happy hour. The shareable chef’s board is also a deal at just $10, with lots of cured meats and cheeses. And draft beers and glasses of house wine or sangria are just $5.
When: All day Monday, Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 7pm
The deal: Richard Sandoval is serious about his love of Latin food, and on Monday nights, he really turns up the heat with $5 margaritas, beers, and wine all night long. Cocktails here pack a punch, so order up an order of $5 chicken flautas, $5.50 nachos, $4.50 vegetarian tacos, or one of the other discounted Mexican snacks. The same deals run during the rest of the week’s happy hours.
When: Monday all night, Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 7pm, Friday from noon to 6pm, and Sunday from 8pm until close
The deal: All night on Mondays, extended hours practically made for Summer Fridays, and a coveted weekend happy hour. No wonder these deals are kept hush-hush. The Berliner has different $3, $6, and $12 beers on special daily; a few snacks; and $8 wine, well drinks, and this beer bar’s version of a mule.
When: Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 7pm and Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 7pm
The deal: No-nonsense cocktails highlight the menu at this H Street hangout. Happy hour features a $6 gin and tonic, whiskey sour, and dark and stormy -- along with some $5 brews and $7 wines. Orders of pickled okra, togarashi corn nuts, and a soft pretzel with mustard aioli run $4 a pop.
When: Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6:30pm and Friday through Sunday from 3 to 6:30pm
The deal: Walk by the tiny patio outside Ghibellina on 14th Street and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a spot to stand -- let alone take advantage of happy hour deals. But you’ll want to stake out early or push past the crowds for $7 glasses of wine and $6 local beers. Cocktails for $9 don’t stand out from the field of options in DC, but you’ll want to go (and stay!) for the half-off pizza deal that makes each pie less than $10.
When: Monday through Friday from 3 to 7pm and 11pm until close
The deal: For more than 50 years, Stoney’s has been home to gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and cheap brews served in a home-y and unassuming atmosphere. Other than some quasi-fame when a server at the bar and restaurant landed on The Bachelorette, Stoney’s has remained a locals-only haven that has $4 beer, $5 wine and rail drinks, and snacks for $6-$10 during its twice-daily happy hour.
When: Monday through Wednesday from 5 to 7pm, Thursday through Sunday from 4 to 7pm, and Thursday through Saturday from 10pm until close
The deal: There’s something for every taste at Mission’s Navy Yard happy hour, including both inside and outside seating across from Nationals Park. Sip on a house margarita, a vodka and raspberry-mint lemonade for $8, or a large DC Brau or Dos Equis draft for around $5. A large platter of Nachos Volcan is a solid deal for sharing at $9 ($4 with meat added).
When: Monday through Friday from 4 to 6pm
The deal: Grab some friends for Hora Feliz and split a pitcher of Oyamel’s most popular cocktails like margaritas and mojitos for just $42. If you’re on your own you can have the same drinks for $7 each or $6 wine, $5 beer, and tacos for just $2.
When: Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 7pm and Friday from 3 to 7pm
The deal: The extensive cocktail menu at this ramen spot is best known for the draft cocktails, and happy hour is the perfect time to imbibe. You can get concoctions with house-made ingredients like Wilder Bros banana cream or orange peel gomme syrup for half-off during happy hour, or opt for traditional drafts of the brewed variety, which are also half-price.
When: Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 7pm
The deal: Slow down after a long day with one of a few $8 tropical happy hour cocktails at this Tiki-inspired bar. There’s always a Piña Colada, a rotating classic, and the Ti Punch -- a particularly boozy mix of rum, cane syrup, and lime. Select craft beers are $4 a can with wines at $6. Make a meal of it with egg rolls for $3, hot chicken steam buns for $5, or a chili-laced bowl of Dan Dan noodles for $6.
When: Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7pm, Friday from noon to 7pm, and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3pm
The deal: Carved out of shipping containers with a retractable roof covered patio, El Rey makes the perfect post-work hangout any time of year. Happy hour means $3 Natty Bohs (the Baltimore beer, not your old college favorite), $7 margaritas or $24 pitchers, and $4 Tacates. On Tuesdays, you can have all of that plus $3 tamales all night long and on the weekends the open-air patio is perfect for day drinking with $20 bottomless mimosas or micheladas.
When: Monday through Friday from noon to 7pm
The deal: Not only do the drink discount start at noon, but they party on for seven whole hours. At one of the longest happy hours in the District, you can drink select draft beers, glasses of wine, and rail drinks for just $6 each. That means whether you’re at Duke’s Counter in Woodley Park or at Duke’s Grocery in Dupont Circle or Foggy Bottom, you can use your savings for an order of decadent truffle mac and cheese as a side (and reward for your money savvy). Plus, select bottles of wine are half-off from 7pm until close on Monday nights.
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