Sure, there are bars with dollar PBRs or cheap, passable wings; those are a dime a dozen. But these Washington, DC happy hours are excellent on their own merits. Looking for a discounted impeccably curated beer list? Cheap well-made cocktails? There's a happy hour for you somewhere in town. Here's our guide to the best options.
"Gin, Champagne, and crisp white wines are the triumvirate of great oyster pairings." So says Derek Brown of DC's The Passenger and the more recent Mockingbird Hill. Hot off of a mission to spread the good wood about sherry at the latter, Brown has now turned his sights on oysters. Adding another stone to his ever-expanding empire two doors down from Mockingbird Hill is the newly minted Eat the Rich.
Washington DC has its share of trendy cocktail bars and hipster hideouts, but the district's dive bars have clung to life, thriving on decades of drinking history and fierce local loyalty. Here are 8 of our favorite dive bars in the DC area.
2013 has been something of a banner year for Washington DC's food and drink scene and there's little sign of slowing. One of the latest additions is the fourth major brewery to come online in the District.
In the right shaker, brunch drinks can be just as imaginative as any other cocktail. Here are five we love in Washington, DC.
The new DC bar from husband and wife duo Derek Brown and Chantal Tseng has over 50 sherries on hand already.
With 60 to 70 whiskies behind the bar, bar manager Jack Caminos wants people to explore the complex array of flavors that whiskey can offer.
The Rye Bar has roughly a dozen ryes behind the 26-seat bar at any given time. Classic rye cocktails on the list get subtle twists: the Old(er) Fashioned uses an aged sherry instead of sugar, and the Manhattan, made with Dad's Hat Pennsylvania rye, Dolin sweet vermouth, Byrrh Quinquina, and housemade orange bitters, is aged in a 15 gallon barrel for six weeks to impart a subtle oaky funkiness that's proven to be extremely popular (Beverage director Will Rentschler went through his first batch of 250 Manhattans in a week).
The Dai-drop ($7 each; 6 for $35) is a high-minded take on a decidedly low brow imbiber's pasttime. Using a compound of calcium chloride and sodium alginate (a naturally occurring substance derived from brown algae), the sake is encapsulated within a thin film that bursts under light pressure. Just be careful when you drink it.
The menu of 100+ cocktails represents a 'journey through the history of cocktails' from classics to the avant garde. The menu ranges from traditional libations like a Manhattan to inventive interpretations like the Cotton Candy Old Fashioned.
If there's one thing better than making it to 5 p.m. with your sanity intact, it's finding a great happy hour to help you unwind. This isn't always an easy task, especially in neighborhoods with an overabundance of bars and restaurants like Dupont Circle.
Todd Thrasher's TNT Bar in Arlington takes a bombastic approach—the menu is comprised of cocktails inspired by classic rock songs and a "Road Trip" section of drinks borrowed from Thrasher's friends across the country.
Head just two doors down from The Passenger in Washington, DC, and you'll be greeted by the giant face of Bill Murray's Steve Zissou. Step inside, pay your respects to Zombie Elvis on your immediate left, and you'll find the new rum bar by the brothers Tom and Derek Brown (of The Passenger). Hogo is your opportunity to explore the Caribbean vicariously through Tom's ever-growing collection of more than 80 different rums and a bevy of Caribbean inspired cocktails.
It might seem counter-intuitive to drink cocktails outside during the winter months, but Poste Moderne Brasserie in D.C.'s Penn Quarter is making its case with its newly launched "Cour de l'Hiver." Turning its outdoor courtyard into a winter lounge complete with fire pits, heat lamps, and thick wool blankets, you can complete your defense against the cold with one of lead bartender Jason Wiles' hot libations.
Anyone who's been to Firefly in Dupont Circle has been greeted by the large tree just inside the entrance. The tree establishes a storybook feel that's only been enhanced by Firefly's recent renovation. With more reclaimed wood, a kitchen façade made to look like a cottage, and warm, overhead lighting designed to emulate the soft glow of a firefly, dining at Firefly feels even more like being deep in a thick forest than before. And the new bar manager, Jon Harris (formerly of The Gibson), has taken cues from the wilderness/fairy tale aesthetic in crafting the newly launched bar program.
You probably already know that the folks over at the 30s era inspired diner, Ted's Bulletin, make a killer alcoholic milkshake, but their bar is more than boozy shakes and homemade pop-tarts. Mixologist George Menold has been working hard on upping the cocktail game at Ted's to differentiate itself from other DC bars. To that end, Menold's been experimenting with a variety of techniques and ingredients, including barrel aging and infusions, plus a truly unusual ice program.
If you're new to the city or just tend to draw a blank come 5 p.m., you're in luck. We've asked 6 of our favorite bartenders in the District for their favorite bars in 3 categories: dive bars, cocktails bars, and bars to go for beer and wine. Click through to the slideshow to find out where D.C.'s bartenders go to quench their thirst.
An excellent milkshake taste like fresh, high-quality dairy with a good balance of milk and ice cream. Too thick and it's just soggy ice cream, too thin and it's soupy milk. Too much syrup and you've got an overly sweet ticket to naptime. But a good shake will help you forget you're sucking down a glass full of 1,000 calories, and our nation's capital has quite a few winners. Here are 5 of our favorite milkshakes in Washington, D.C.
Depending on the type of person you are, the term "fat-wash" will either sound delicious or disgusting to you. A fat-washed cocktail might evoke images of tubs of lard, but it's really just the term for a technique of infusing liquors with other flavors. At Washington, DC's Ripple, bar manager Josh Berner is currently offering a series of fat-washed cocktails, featuring gin infused with sesame oil, mezcal flavored with bacon, and vodka enriched with olive oil.
Whether you're looking for the real deal with traditional German wheat beers and brats or just somewhere to enjoy the warmth of a summer evening with little concern for the nationality of your brew, there's no shortage of open-air venues in the Capital. Here are 5 of our favorite beer gardens in D.C.