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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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Mussel Bar (Multiple locations)

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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).

Red Derby

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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. 

Al Dente

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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

Lulu’s Wine Garden

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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.

Bar Charley

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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

Pearl Dive

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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.

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

Boqueria (Multiple locations)

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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.

Dauphine’s

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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.

Pinstripes

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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.

Bar Elena

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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).

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.

Café Riggs

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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

Central

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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)

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.

Ambar Capitol Hill

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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.

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.

Mission (multiple locations)

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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

Jackie - American Bistro

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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

Mussel Bar (Multiple locations)

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).

Red Derby

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. 

Al Dente

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

Lulu’s Wine Garden

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.

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.

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

Pearl Dive

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.

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.

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

Boqueria (Multiple locations)

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.

Dauphine’s

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.

Pinstripes

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.

Bar Elena

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).

Modena

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.

Café Riggs

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

Central

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)

RĀKO

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.

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Ambar Capitol Hill

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.

WHINO

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.

Mission (multiple locations)

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

Jackie - American Bistro

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

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