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Where to Find D.C. Food and Drink Deals During a (Very Likely) Government Shutdown

Restaurants prepare for a looming shutdown with complimentary cheese puffs, extended happy hour deals, $5 meatball sliders, and more

Unless Congress reaches a last-ditch deal by Saturday night, the government will come to a grinding halt.
Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Government funding runs out at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, October 1, and there’s still no clear congressional plan in sight in order to avoid a widespread shutdown. With millions of federal employees and military families facing a pause in their pay, D.C. bars and restaurants are doing their part to help alleviate the blow.

While some participating establishments require a government ID in order to partake in deals, others do not. “With so many contractors out there it’d be impossible to check, plus — it’s the spirit of it all,” says a rep for H2-Collective, which is offering shutdown deals at El Rey, Brighton, and American Ice Co.

The last major shutdown ended in January 2019 under then-President Donald Trump and was the longest in history, lasting for 34 days. As the prospect of another edges closer, here’s a running list of bars and restaurants planning to offer shutdown specials.


Penn Quarter’s family-style Italian restaurant will offer all-day happy hour pricing during the duration of a potential shutdown. Specials include $5 meatball sliders and two frozen cocktails ($8): a berry Cosmo called “Here We Go Again” and “The Essential Worker” peach bellini. Happy hour prices are available for everyone and at the bar only. 425 7th Street NW

“Menendez’s Sticky Fingers” cocktail is $6 at Union Pub.
Union Pub

Union Pub

Starting Monday, October 2, the Capitol Hill hangout plans to pour $6 cocktails (normally $12) for government employees. Shutdown-centric names include a “Boebert’s Beetle Juice” (Melon Ball); “Menendez’s Sticky Fingers” (Jack Daniel’s Honey, lemonade, and honey rim with a necessary wet wipe); and “Everyone’s Casual Now” (a Union Pub pilsner and rail whiskey shot). For $5, flip a coin for the “McCarthy’s Dilemma” — heads to get “FIREballeD” and tails for a “blowJOB” shot. 201 Massachusetts Avenue NE


All-night happy hour specials and $10 “happy meals” (a beer-and-shot combo) for government employees. 613 Pennsylvania Avenue SE

Taco Bamba

The growing taco chain offers all-day happy hour ($5 drinks and $5 Jeffreys, its popular crispy meat spring roll) on weekdays with a government ID during the shutdown. Valid at all D.C. area locations except Falls Church, which doesn’t have a bar. Multiple locations

Edgar Bar + Kitchen

Dupont’s lobby-level respite inside the Mayflower hotel offers everyone specially priced martinis ($10) until the shutdown ends. 1127 Connecticut Avenue NW

Edgar serves $10 martinis for all.
Edgar Bar + Kitchen

Cinder BBQ

There’s $10-everything government shutdown specials at the Petworth barbecue pad, which covers orders of wings, nachos, salads, and sandwiches, plus a Sazerac-Old Fashioned and Manhattan. 800 Upshur Street NW

Present Company Public House

Shutdown offerings — no federal ID required — include $8 Furlough’ded tots with with chili and cheese and “Improved Federal Dumpster Fire” cocktail (Blanton’s, amaro, angostura, orange bitters), served smoked with apple wood chips for $20.23. A late-night happy hour (Tuesday to Thursday, 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.) includes $4 rails, $3 Old Time lagers, and $8 Old Fashioneds or green tea shots. 438 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Atlas Brew Works

The Navy Yard brewery and tap room reactivates its weekday happy hour with two slices of Andy’s Pizza and an Atlas pint for $11 and certain Atlas pints for $6 from from noon to 6 p.m. 1201 Half Street SE

Any Day Now

Before Tim Ma went to culinary school and became a chef-restaurateur, he was an engineer who worked as a contractor with the Department of Defense. At his new Navy Yard cafe, those with a federal government ID will get 10-percent off the entire check up to a table of four. For every day the government is shut down, Any Day Now will increase the percentage off, (i.e., 11-percent off on Day 2, 12-percent off on Day 3). 2 I Street SE

American Ice Co.

Swing by the Shaw dive for a $25 comfort combo of swachos (regular or veggie) and pitcher of Narragansett beer. 917 V Street NW

The Brighton

The Southwest Waterfront bar offers 10-percent discounts on all food items and offers a themed “Red, White, and Blew It” punch for $10. 949 Wharf Street SW

Tight Five Pub

The Adams Morgan sports bar will offer all-night happy hour pricing on drinks and open up early for all Rugby World Cup matches. 2471 18th Street NW

El Rey

  • Shaw’s Mexican eatery offers three tacos for $10. 919 U Street NW
  • The Ballston locale runs a shutdown happy hour (Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) with $8 house margaritas; $5.50 sangrias, micheladas, and draft beers; and $2 off nachos, chips and guac, tortas, and quesadillas. 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia

All Set Restaurant & Bar

The Silver Spring raw bar offers all-day happy hour prices at the bar to federal workers who flash an ID. Opt for $2 oysters on the half shell, $8 cocktails, and $20 fishbowl cocktails. Chef Ed Reavis also sends out Carolina-style pulled pork sliders, loaded sweet potato fries topped with his Money Muscle BBQ beef brisket, and chickpea fries. 8630 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, Maryland

Brookland’s Finest

The Northeast neighborhood favorite extends its weekday happy hour (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday to Thursday and until 4 p.m. on Friday) and serves a stress-relieving lavender cocktail called Aromatherapy. Happy hour deals include $6 drafts and canned beers, $7 rail drinks, $10 house cocktails, and $10 wines by the glass. 3126 12th Street NE

La Bise

The modern French restaurant next to the White House offers complimentary gougeres to customers who show a government ID. The savory cream puffs, four to an order, come filled with a 36-month aged cheese and are available during all operational hours. 800 Connecticut Avenue NW