Where: Cava Mezze, 527 8th St. SE; cavamezze.com/capitol-hill
Hours: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays
Drink specials: $4 draft beers, $5 house wines, and cocktails ranging from $6 to $9.
Food specials: An assortment of dips, mini sandwiches, and other small bites, ranging from $3 to $5.
Pros: The Mediterranean flavors of the food specials are a notch above traditional pub food, and filling without being greasy. A plentiful selection of dips to accompany warm pita makes for easy sharing. The crazy feta hush puppies are a particular treat: perfectly crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. Cava doesn’t get quite as packed as some more hoppin’ happy hours, so there’s no need to shout your conversation or stand awkwardly around the bar juggling your coat and drink. If you want an extra bargain, particularly for a group, stop by on Tuesdays for half-price bottles of wine.
Cons: Happy hour specials are only offered at the bar, which doesn’t benefit from the same natural light that streams into the dining room. And when there is a crowd, it can be hard to wiggle out of your seat. The good news is that during the warmer months, happy hour is also available on the small but charming patio.