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As restaurants reopen across the District, some spots are getting creative with their happy hours. Some require a bit of social media savvy, while others are simply having fun with frozen drinks. Each of the following seven D.C. happy hours come with quirks that make them stand out.
600 14th St. NW, (202) 787-1000, thehamiltondc.com
What if, after a night on the town, you’re not craving a jumbo slice? The Hamilton has a late night sushi happy hour from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily when all rolls are $5 off. There are more than 25 to choose from, including simple ones like salmon avocado and loaded ones like the dynamite roll with tempura calamari, spicy crab, spicy scallops, habanero masago (roe), and lettuce all encased in soy bean paper. Early birds can also get the discounted maki from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The restaurant added 15 outdoor tables during the pandemic where happy hour is currently available.
1300 4th St. SE, (202) 921-9882, eatlafamosa.com
Capitalizing on its location by the ballpark, Navy Yard’s Puerto Rican restaurant offers a Nats happy hour on their wrap-around patio two hours before the first pitch of each home game. The game-day specials include adobo spiced pork rinds ($3), chicharrónes de pollo—bite-size pieces of fried chicken in garlic mojo with tostones ($8), spicy tamarind-glazed pork shanks ($8), mini piña coladas ($5), and cans of Medalla beer ($3). Chef and owner Joancarlo Parkhurst says he wanted to do something special because baseball is the most popular sport in Puerto Rico. His brightly hued restaurant and cafe is a mood booster no matter when you visit.
251 Florida Ave. NW, (202) 733-4952, truxtoninndc.com
Truxton Inn’s “random happy hour” is for people who are very online. For the past few months, the Bloomingdale cocktail bar has been announcing a surprise happy hour as an Instagram story around 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Random happy hour is a true happy hour in the sense that it only lasts one hour. It could be from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. or 7:26 p.m. to 8:26 p.m. The specials are more set in stone: $3 Narragansett tallboys, $7 wine, $8 Old Fashioneds, and an $8 beer and shot combo of Narragansett and bourbon. Find the outdoor seating around back.
651 Florida Ave. NW, (202) 986-2079, halfsmoke.com
Wear the athleisure you’ve come to love during the pandemic to HalfSmoke’s unlimited “beat the clock” happy hour held daily from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. For $35 per person, you can order as many dishes and drinks as you’d like, so long as the whole table participates. Snack on crab fries, mac and cheese bites with pickled jalapeño pesto, pigs in a blanket, sweet potato tater tots, and deviled eggs. The all-you-can-drink deal includes eight cocktails, beer, wine, and mocktails. Happy hour is available at the Shaw restaurant’s nearby 2,500-square-foot outdoor lot. Skip the igloos if you can and snag one of the picnic tables.
All-Purpose Capitol Riverfront
79 Potomac Ave. SE, (202) 629-1894, allpurposedc.com/locations/capitol-riverfront
Head to All-Purpose Pizzeria Capitol Riverfront’s roof for more than just the great view. Their water ice-inspired cocktails are $8 instead of $14 during happy hour. One blends vodka with lemon and pandan; the other rum, pineapple, and ube. Strongly consider swirling them together. Other specials include $5 off eight rotating beers and $8 glasses of wine on draft. Only drink specials are available now, but the restaurant will soon reintroduce discounted bites in the $5 to $8 range such as fried mozzarella, Calabrian chili honey-coated chicken wings, and arancini. Happy hour is offered on the roof and the garden patio Mondays through Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
623 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, (202) 733-1384, fightclubdc.com
Five bucks gets you a “draft shifty” at Fight Club’s new happy hour. That’s the term the sandwich and punch shop uses for 16 oz. solo cups of “whatever beer the Fight Club team is drinking after guests leave for the night.” If a dealer’s choice brew isn’t appealing to you, no problem. The happy hour focuses on a selection of five draft punches that run $11 each. Try a “Bruja Brew” with tequila, raspberries, mint, strega (an Italian herbal liqueur), and lemon or a simple Americano with Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water. There’s also a selection of wines for $6 per glass. Happy hour is available at both of Fight Club’s outdoor spaces Mondays through Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. While sandwiches aren’t on special, they’re some of the best in the city. Order one to pair with your punch.
43 N St. NW; (202) 997-4340, republic-cantina.com
If you live for Tex-Mex and are on a budget, do what you can to slip out of work early for Republic Cantina’s 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily happy hour. Their “outlaw hour” is a greatest hits list including $4 queso, $7 Frito pie layered with smoky brisket, and $6 Texas-style nachos. You can also sample a pico back—the most enjoyable tequila shot in the city—for $7. The chaser is the juice that gets strained off when the restaurant makes batches of pico de gallo. Another popular choice, according to owner Chris Svetlik, is the $6 cantina beer-rita that features a mini frozen margarita and a 7 oz. Modelito beer. Full-size Modelos are $4. Republic Cantina recently began adding “floaters” like ginger or persimmon liqueur to its frozen margaritas for $2. Happy hour specials are available on the front and side patios, as well as for takeout.