City Paper is not for tourists
Top of the Hour is a new, recurring print column featuring D.C.’s most generous, fun, and filling happy hours.
Where: Rakuya, 1900 Q St NW, (202) 265-7258, rakuyarestaurant.com
Hours: Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the bar
Drink specials: $4–$7 beer, $6 wine, $7–$8 sake, and $8–$10 cocktails
Food specials: $3.50–$4.50 nigiri sushi, $5 basic sushi rolls, $7–$10 specialty rolls, $5 small plates, and $3 snacks
Pros: At Rakuya, you can satisfy a sushi craving on the cheap while downing a few beers. Get a sampling of the basic nigiri, like eel or toro, then spring for a speciality roll. One top choice is the “fish and chip” roll, featuring crunchy, fried fish, vinegar, and potato sticks in one bite. The wicked spicy tuna roll, a flavorful combination of tuna, avocado, ginger, and jalapeno, is tasty and a bloody good deal at $10.
Apart from rolls, discounted menu highlights include agedashi tofu with Brussels sprouts and kabocha squash, as well as the soy-marinated fried chicken karaage.
Cons: Rakuya tends to fill up quickly given its prime location in Dupont Circle and the small bar area is the only place where happy hour specials are available. Try to get there on the early side and snag a bar stool or a high-top table. This set-up is not appropriate for larger groups.