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Okay, the millionaire multi-media toque doesn’t personally need help your help, but Courtney Balestier, associate editor at Everyday With Rachael Ray magazine, does. She called me to find out what D.C. bars (she’ll accept restaurant bars but really wants bar bars) still serve free snacks along with their beer, wine, and distilled spirits. I have to admit, I’m a little stumped. (How I pine for 19th century San Francisco —-well, minus, you know, the violence, filth, and overfishing—-where bars served oysters, gratis.)
I thought about the spicy cashews at Ray’s the Classics in Silver Spring, which seem to get spicier with every visit. But Balestier was looking for more than free nuts. Then based on a tip from Don Rockwell, I called Dean Gold, owner/chef at Dino, who says he serves free snacks at his tiny horseshoe bar in Cleveland Park from 5:30 to 7 p.m. daily, except Saturdays. The bites typically include house-made pickles, olives, lupini beans, and rustic Tuscan pate, which you can slather on crostini. Dino may not fit Balestier’s strict bar criteria, but I’ll tell you what: I know where I will be eating after work.
Now, your turn: Where the hell in this town, in this depressed economy, can you still get some free bar snacks? At least until all the unemployed journalists descend on the place.