Laura Hayes

Editor’s note: Top of the Hour is a new, recurring print column featuring D.C.’s most generous, fun, and filling happy hours. It replaces the Underserved cocktail column and aims to point City Paper readers to some of the best, post-work deals in town.

Where: Bar Charley, 1825 18th St. NW; (202) 627-2183; barcharley.com

Hours: 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 4-6:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; and all night Monday

Drink specials: $6 cocktails including Sazeracs, classic Daiquiris, Moscow Mules, and Mai Tais; $2 off wines by the glass; $3.50 Narragansett Tallboys

Food specials: $5 giant soft pretzels, $6 Catalan fries, $6 Korean BBQ wings, $12.95 Charley Burger, $16.95 butcher’s cut steak served with rolls or a salad and a side. 

Pros: Happy hours that stop at drink specials are so 2007. Enter Bar Charley’s deeply discounted menu of eats. Cobble a few items together to form a full meal paired with stiff $6 cocktails. Start with a soft pretzel fit for a sumo wrestler and served with addictive dippers. If you’re extra hungry, spring for the butcher’s cut steak. It comes with traditional steakhouse accoutrements. And if you like getting a beefy deal, visit Bar Charley on Sunday nights when a table of four can get half-off steaks with the purchase of a scorpion bowl cocktail or a bottle of wine. 

Cons: The bar area at Bar Charley is pocket-sized and quickly starts to feel cramped when the crowds funnel in after work. Complicating things is the fact you have to go up to the bar to order. Leave an article of clothing on your stool so it doesn’t get snached up. A little known secret is you can take advantage of all of the happy hour specials in the far more expansive dining room, even if you only plan to drink.