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three cocktails topped with fruit
New Orleans bar entrepreneur Neil Bodenheimer is behind the drink selection on Dauphine’s.
Dauphine’s/Facebook

19 D.C. Happy Hours to Try Right Now

Where to find cheap beer, food deals, and deeply discounted wines

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New Orleans bar entrepreneur Neil Bodenheimer is behind the drink selection on Dauphine’s.
| Dauphine’s/Facebook

Rather than compiling an encyclopedia of every single happy hour deal around, this map focuses on the best deals the DMV has to offer.

These bars and restaurants offer drastically discounted dishes, dirt-cheap drinks (think $4 draft beers, $6 wines, and $7 cocktails), and generous time windows, especially on weekdays. Of course, some specials and pricing have become a bit tighter as bars and restaurants recover from the pandemic, with some old standbys yet to return to their happy hour ways. Still, there are still many opportunities around the city to save some cash on those after work drinks and snacks.

From iconic standbys like Central and Bar Charley to newer options like Dauphine’s and Whino, here are 19 happy hours to scope out right now.

A number of D.C. area restaurants have resumed dine-in service. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. The Washington Post is tracking coronavirus cases and deaths in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. More information can be found at coronavirus.dc.gov. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

Have another favorite? Share in the comments or sound off via email (dc@eater.com).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Mussel Bar (Multiple locations)

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7262 Woodmont Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 215-7817
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Chef Robert Wiedmaier's Belgian chain runs a happy hour (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) that takes $3 off drafts and serves $8 glasses of white and $10 glasses of red wine. Simple drinks with Jameson whiskey or Tito’s vodka are $7. For food, grab $10 blue crab dip, $10 mushroom or margherita pizzas, and $1.50 oysters and peel-and-eat shrimp (minimum of 6).

2. Red Derby

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3718 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20010
(202) 291-5000
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This no-frills watering hole has a 24/7 happy hour that includes“lucky pick” beers, tequila, and whiskey shots for $3.50 each. And on Wednesdays, celebrate Paul Rudd night with $3.50 Miller High Life, $5 glasses of bubbly and $5 “bratcho tacos” — a loaded brat with a side of tots. 

3. Al Dente

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3201 New Mexico Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 244-2223
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American University students and neighbors will appreciate this Italian kitchen’s deep discounts, which include half-priced pizzas, $4 draft beers, $5 house wines and $5 rail drinks (add $1 and spring for one of the fantastic mojitos). Specials run daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

three pizzas
Pizzas are half-price during happy hour at Al Dente.
Al Dente/Facebook

4. Lulu’s Wine Garden

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1940 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 332-9463
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Make a date to hit this wine bar for its daily “golden hour” menu, with highlights like $6 house fries, $9 white queso, and a $10 hatch chili burger. Beers run $6 to $9, and some of the bars outstanding wines are $9 a glass and $35 a bottle. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m.to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

5. Bar Charley

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1825 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 627-2183
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Bar Charley’s happy hour deals include select $7.95 cocktails and tiki drinks, and $4 Narragansett tallboys. It runs all night on Mondays, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Food picks include $7 Catalan (loaded) fries and $11 tuna tartare.

Bar Charley DC cocktails
Tiki drinks at Bar Charley.
Rey Lopez/Bar Charley

6. Pearl Dive

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1612 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009-4307
(202) 319-1612

Pearl Dive's weekday happy hour is perfect for early birds, as it runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Score half-priced local oysters (minimum of 12), a pound of Addie’s mussels (garlic, shallot, tomato, chicken stock, butter, lemon, and chili flakes) for $11, or chips and queso for $5 an order.

7. Espita

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1250 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 621-9695
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Available daily until 6 p.m., Shaw’s Oaxacan getaway gets evenings started $5 beers and seasonal radlers, $7 wines and margaritas, along with a $4 daily punch. The drinks pair nicely with the kitchen’s menu of salsas, tacos, and Mexican dishes.

Brightly colored murals in a dining room at Espita Mezcaleria
Espita Mezcaleria
R. Lopez/Espita

8. Boqueria (Multiple locations)

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1837 M St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 558-9545
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There are options aplenty during daily happy hour at Boqueria (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.). At the Penn Quarter location, sip on $7 glasses or $29 pitchers of sangria in addition to $8 house wines and a $10 speciality margarita. Traditional Spanish tapas such as pan con tomate and patatas bravas are all available for a reduced price. Thursdays offer an extra bonus, with bottomless cava with food order from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the bar.

9. Dauphine’s

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1100 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 758-3785
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Dauphine’s New Orleans cooking (not to mention the good vibes) have been the talk of the city for months, and happy hour is another reason to plan a visit. There are dressed oysters ($2 each), mini muffaletta sandwiches ($8) and more from the kitchen, along with $4 Abita amber drafts and $9 cocktails and wines. Specials run Monday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the indoor or outdoor bar.

10. Pinstripes

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1064 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 625-6500
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Bowling and bocce are the main draws here, but don’t sleep on the front bar’s quality happy hour. Drafts go for $5 and include local options from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia; and house wines and rail drinks run $6 to $7. There are food discounts on wings, flatbreads, and a few other appetizers.

11. Bar Elena

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414 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 450-3265
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Happy hour is twice as nice at Bar Elena, running daily from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Level up a session of pinball with $1 off drafts, single-mix rail drinks, and select wine for $5. Bar food includes nachos ($8-$12), tacos ($5-$7) and quesadillas ($10).

12. Modena

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1100 New York Avenue NW, Corner of H and, 12th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 216-9550
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Enjoy some of Modena’s upscale Italian picks for just $9 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and until 9 p.m. each Tuesday. Cocktails include the Siracusa Nere (vodka, lemon, blueberry, lemon-lime soda) and the Jalisco Liberta (tequila, agave, lime, cola). For food, opt for an order of polpette, cacio e pepe, or fried calamari.

13. Café Riggs

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900 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 788-2800
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There’s really no better way to greet a new week than with Champagne and oysters. At Cafe Riggs, the Monday happy hour includes a half dozen of Savage Blonde oysters for $12 and featured glasses of Gossett for $12. Some bottles of bubbly go for under $50. Banker’s Hour, the newly named happy hour at Cafe Riggs, running from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday includes gougeres with mornay and veggie burger sliders, beer ($6), wine ($10), seasonal cocktails ($12), and the Banker’s cocktail (housemade grapefruit cordial with Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit and rose, $10). Here’s the full menu

a selection of cocktails on a carrera marble surface.
Cafe Riggs has renamed its happy hour for its home in a former bank.
Riggs/Facebook

14. Central

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1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 626-0015
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Central recently updated its interior, giving guests reason to revisit the lively French bistro. Happy hour, offered Monday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., features a rather larger selection of $8 cocktails and wines by the glass. Be sure to order something to eat too, like the chicken nuggets with Sriracha honey and Dijon sauce ($9) or a shareable cheese board ($12)

15. RĀKO

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2016 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
(571) 312-4817
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Women-owned and grown wines headline happy hour at this local coffee shop and cafe. Choose between sparkling, rosé, white, or red by the glass for $7. Snacks include a $4 portion of pickles and preserves, an $8 fig and goat cheese crostini or strawberry and manchego salad.

16. Ambar Capitol Hill

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523 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 813-3039
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The Balkan brand’s generous happy hour offers food starting at $5 and drinks from $6. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, fill up on Balkan specialities like urnebes dip, Ambar fries, drunken mussels and more. Pair up dishes with a glass of Moldovan wine or a cocktail like the bar’s old fashioned ($7), made with plum rakia and bourbon.

17. WHINO

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4238 Wilson Blvd Second Floor
Arlington, VA 22203
(571) 290-3958
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Part restaurant and part art gallery and venue, Whino in Ballston Quarter offers a lengthy happy hour stretching from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Deals range from $8 cocktails to $6 wines by the class and domestic beers for $5. From the kitchen, expect bites like wagyu beef or porchetta sliders ($5-$6) to pair with drinks.

18. Mission (multiple locations)

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1221 Van St SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 810-7010
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An undisputed favorite when the Nationals play at home, Mission’s daily happy hour draws crowds before, during, and even after games. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, delight in $26 pitchers of margaritas or vodka-spiked raspberry lemonade, discounted 16-ounce or 22-ounce drafts, $5 tequila shots, and food like queso fundido or nachos ($8-$10, proteins extra).

Wooden ceilings and furniture, a full window view and wooden flooring in Mission’s Cactus Room Mission Navy Yard/official photo

19. Jackie - American Bistro

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79 Potomac Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 919-3800
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This Kennedy-themed restaurant’s happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with $10 beer, snacks, and cocktails. There’s a smart happy hour menu including some of the intriguing bites chef Jerome Grant is known for: tamarind fried chicken with sinigang dust and burnt onion ranch; roast sweet potato with collard furikake, sesame seed butter, and anise spiced marshmallow; eggplant dip; and more.

Meanwhile, Dacha (under the same ownership) Shaw lets its happy hour run all day long on Mondays with beer and food specials, and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Dacha’s Navy Yard location runs happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday as well.

a selection of mismatched plates of food on a wooden table
Happy hour at Jackie features $10 drinks and snacks
Jackie/Facebook

1. Mussel Bar (Multiple locations)

7262 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

Chef Robert Wiedmaier's Belgian chain runs a happy hour (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) that takes $3 off drafts and serves $8 glasses of white and $10 glasses of red wine. Simple drinks with Jameson whiskey or Tito’s vodka are $7. For food, grab $10 blue crab dip, $10 mushroom or margherita pizzas, and $1.50 oysters and peel-and-eat shrimp (minimum of 6).

7262 Woodmont Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814

2. Red Derby

3718 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20010

This no-frills watering hole has a 24/7 happy hour that includes“lucky pick” beers, tequila, and whiskey shots for $3.50 each. And on Wednesdays, celebrate Paul Rudd night with $3.50 Miller High Life, $5 glasses of bubbly and $5 “bratcho tacos” — a loaded brat with a side of tots. 

3718 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20010

3. Al Dente

3201 New Mexico Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
three pizzas
Pizzas are half-price during happy hour at Al Dente.
Al Dente/Facebook

American University students and neighbors will appreciate this Italian kitchen’s deep discounts, which include half-priced pizzas, $4 draft beers, $5 house wines and $5 rail drinks (add $1 and spring for one of the fantastic mojitos). Specials run daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

3201 New Mexico Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016

4. Lulu’s Wine Garden

1940 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Make a date to hit this wine bar for its daily “golden hour” menu, with highlights like $6 house fries, $9 white queso, and a $10 hatch chili burger. Beers run $6 to $9, and some of the bars outstanding wines are $9 a glass and $35 a bottle. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m.to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

1940 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. Bar Charley

1825 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Bar Charley DC cocktails
Tiki drinks at Bar Charley.
Rey Lopez/Bar Charley

Bar Charley’s happy hour deals include select $7.95 cocktails and tiki drinks, and $4 Narragansett tallboys. It runs all night on Mondays, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Food picks include $7 Catalan (loaded) fries and $11 tuna tartare.

1825 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

6. Pearl Dive

1612 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009-4307

Pearl Dive's weekday happy hour is perfect for early birds, as it runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Score half-priced local oysters (minimum of 12), a pound of Addie’s mussels (garlic, shallot, tomato, chicken stock, butter, lemon, and chili flakes) for $11, or chips and queso for $5 an order.

1612 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009-4307

7. Espita

1250 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Brightly colored murals in a dining room at Espita Mezcaleria
Espita Mezcaleria
R. Lopez/Espita

Available daily until 6 p.m., Shaw’s Oaxacan getaway gets evenings started $5 beers and seasonal radlers, $7 wines and margaritas, along with a $4 daily punch. The drinks pair nicely with the kitchen’s menu of salsas, tacos, and Mexican dishes.

1250 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

8. Boqueria (Multiple locations)

1837 M St NW, Washington, DC 20036

There are options aplenty during daily happy hour at Boqueria (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.). At the Penn Quarter location, sip on $7 glasses or $29 pitchers of sangria in addition to $8 house wines and a $10 speciality margarita. Traditional Spanish tapas such as pan con tomate and patatas bravas are all available for a reduced price. Thursdays offer an extra bonus, with bottomless cava with food order from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the bar.

1837 M St NW
Washington, DC 20036

9. Dauphine’s

1100 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

Dauphine’s New Orleans cooking (not to mention the good vibes) have been the talk of the city for months, and happy hour is another reason to plan a visit. There are dressed oysters ($2 each), mini muffaletta sandwiches ($8) and more from the kitchen, along with $4 Abita amber drafts and $9 cocktails and wines. Specials run Monday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the indoor or outdoor bar.

1100 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

10. Pinstripes

1064 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007

Bowling and bocce are the main draws here, but don’t sleep on the front bar’s quality happy hour. Drafts go for $5 and include local options from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia; and house wines and rail drinks run $6 to $7. There are food discounts on wings, flatbreads, and a few other appetizers.

1064 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007

11. Bar Elena

414 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

Happy hour is twice as nice at Bar Elena, running daily from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Level up a session of pinball with $1 off drafts, single-mix rail drinks, and select wine for $5. Bar food includes nachos ($8-$12), tacos ($5-$7) and quesadillas ($10).

414 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

12. Modena

1100 New York Avenue NW, Corner of H and, 12th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

Enjoy some of Modena’s upscale Italian picks for just $9 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and until 9 p.m. each Tuesday. Cocktails include the Siracusa Nere (vodka, lemon, blueberry, lemon-lime soda) and the Jalisco Liberta (tequila, agave, lime, cola). For food, opt for an order of polpette, cacio e pepe, or fried calamari.

1100 New York Avenue NW, Corner of H and, 12th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

13. Café Riggs

900 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004
a selection of cocktails on a carrera marble surface.
Cafe Riggs has renamed its happy hour for its home in a former bank.
Riggs/Facebook

There’s really no better way to greet a new week than with Champagne and oysters. At Cafe Riggs, the Monday happy hour includes a half dozen of Savage Blonde oysters for $12 and featured glasses of Gossett for $12. Some bottles of bubbly go for under $50. Banker’s Hour, the newly named happy hour at Cafe Riggs, running from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday includes gougeres with mornay and veggie burger sliders, beer ($6), wine ($10), seasonal cocktails ($12), and the Banker’s cocktail (housemade grapefruit cordial with Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit and rose, $10). Here’s the full menu

900 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004

14. Central

1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20004

Central recently updated its interior, giving guests reason to revisit the lively French bistro. Happy hour, offered Monday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., features a rather larger selection of $8 cocktails and wines by the glass. Be sure to order something to eat too, like the chicken nuggets with Sriracha honey and Dijon sauce ($9) or a shareable cheese board ($12)

1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

15. RĀKO

2016 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

Women-owned and grown wines headline happy hour at this local coffee shop and cafe. Choose between sparkling, rosé, white, or red by the glass for $7. Snacks include a $4 portion of pickles and preserves, an $8 fig and goat cheese crostini or strawberry and manchego salad.

2016 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

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16. Ambar Capitol Hill

523 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

The Balkan brand’s generous happy hour offers food starting at $5 and drinks from $6. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, fill up on Balkan specialities like urnebes dip, Ambar fries, drunken mussels and more. Pair up dishes with a glass of Moldovan wine or a cocktail like the bar’s old fashioned ($7), made with plum rakia and bourbon.

523 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

17. WHINO

4238 Wilson Blvd Second Floor, Arlington, VA 22203

Part restaurant and part art gallery and venue, Whino in Ballston Quarter offers a lengthy happy hour stretching from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Deals range from $8 cocktails to $6 wines by the class and domestic beers for $5. From the kitchen, expect bites like wagyu beef or porchetta sliders ($5-$6) to pair with drinks.

4238 Wilson Blvd Second Floor
Arlington, VA 22203

18. Mission (multiple locations)

1221 Van St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Wooden ceilings and furniture, a full window view and wooden flooring in Mission’s Cactus Room Mission Navy Yard/official photo

An undisputed favorite when the Nationals play at home, Mission’s daily happy hour draws crowds before, during, and even after games. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, delight in $26 pitchers of margaritas or vodka-spiked raspberry lemonade, discounted 16-ounce or 22-ounce drafts, $5 tequila shots, and food like queso fundido or nachos ($8-$10, proteins extra).

1221 Van St SE
Washington, DC 20003

19. Jackie - American Bistro

79 Potomac Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003
a selection of mismatched plates of food on a wooden table
Happy hour at Jackie features $10 drinks and snacks
Jackie/Facebook

This Kennedy-themed restaurant’s happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with $10 beer, snacks, and cocktails. There’s a smart happy hour menu including some of the intriguing bites chef Jerome Grant is known for: tamarind fried chicken with sinigang dust and burnt onion ranch; roast sweet potato with collard furikake, sesame seed butter, and anise spiced marshmallow; eggplant dip; and more.

Meanwhile, Dacha (under the same ownership) Shaw lets its happy hour run all day long on Mondays with beer and food specials, and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Dacha’s Navy Yard location runs happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday as well.

79 Potomac Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003

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