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English muffin bread service at Rose’s Luxury.
Rose’s Luxury/Instagram

11 Favorite Restaurant Freebies Around D.C.

Where to snack on marinated olives, savory breads, and creamy peanut butter fudge, gratis

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English muffin bread service at Rose’s Luxury.
| Rose’s Luxury/Instagram

Nothing in life is free — unless one is lucky enough to find a restaurant or bar that generously doles out complimentary starters and specials to whet the appetite. Some D.C. restaurants seem to go the extra mile with freebies, plying customers with freshly baked breads, relaxing aperitifs, or salty snacks, like roasted nuts, marinated olives, and popcorn.

Here’s 11 local eateries that serve delicious little extras on the house.

The featured bars and restaurants are not ranked. They are arranged geographically from north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Red-hot Middle Eastern restaurant Maydan has an unlimited pita policy, which means every table is privy to as much of the soft, pull-apart breads as is needed to envelop the smoky slow-roasted meats or sop up every last drop of the flavorful must-try condiments.

Freshly baked pitas are part of every meal at Maydan.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Kingfisher

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Not only does this basement bar on 14th Street serve free all-you-can-eat popcorn, it also offers patrons gratis seasonings ranging from garlic powder to popular hot sauces. Enjoy a basket while sipping on a hoppy brew or a cheap light beer, like the house favorite — Narragansett Lager.

Spice up the free popcorn at Kingfisher with assorted seasonings.
Dena G./Yelp

Maxwell Park

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Each day, this Shaw wine bar treats cash-strapped imbibers to “Aperitif Hour” — a two-hour block (from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) during which select aperitifs, such as vermouth, are complimentary.

Customers gathered around the bar at Maxwell Park.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The Dabney

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The grilled ciabatta with sorghum butter is so good (and so free) at this Michelin-starred restaurant, one might be tempted to pocket a few extra jars of the distinctive spread. Just don’t let all the carbo-loading distract from sampling the local seafood, cured hams, and hearth-fired vegetables near and dear to chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s heart.

The grilled ciabatta with spiced butter at the Dabney.
Susie D./Yelp

Go ahead, splurge on a seasonal cocktail for $19. Because the marinated olives and roasted nuts set out at hotel bar Quill are generously portioned and free.

Savory bar snacks at hotel bar Quill.
Maria-Elena T./Yelp

Honeysuckle

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Chef T.C. Lumbar assembles a generous bread basket that’s on the house. While the featured offerings rotate regularly, one selection is always included: Lumbar’s banana bread. The cake-like bread is dense and loaded with ripened bananas.

Gourmet breads and seasonal spreads at Honeysuckle.
Je N./Yelp

Capital Burger

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Every meal at area newcomer Capital Burger starts out with a free mason jar brimming with semi-sweet, crunchy pickle chips that are perfect for nibbling on before lunch or dinner. Or slip a few onto a featured burger to add a funky vinegary pop to every bite.

Free pickles offered at Capital Burger.
Capital Burger [Official photo]

BLT Steak

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The extra fluffy popovers at this downtown steakhouse are legendary. Every order at this expense-account favorite comes with a side of steaming hot breads loaded with cheese, butter, and salt.

The fluffy popovers at Blt Steak.
Samantha M./Yelp

Ray's the Steaks

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It’s a wonder there’s room on any table for actual entrees given all the freebies Ray’s sends customers. The parade of goodies includes spiced cashews, olive oil-brushed foccacia, mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach. And no evening its complete with a few bites of the house “tiger butter” — striped squares of peanut butter fudge.

Free sides of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach accompany meals at Ray’s the Steaks.
Orquidea R./Yelp

Rose's Luxury

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Since day one, Rose’s Luxury’s bread service has been a fun highlight to a dinner that’s often cited as one of the city’s best. Sous chef Kean McIlvaine recently switched things up, starting each dinner with complimentary sourdough-style English muffins perfect for spreading with clotted cream and citrus marmalade.

The new sourdough English muffins that now accompany meals at Rose’s Luxury.
Rose’s Luxury/Instagram

Hank's Oyster Bar (Multiple locations)

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Whether one pulls up a chair at the flagship restaurant in Dupont Circle or grabs a seat at the new waterfront location at the Wharf, every meal at Hank’s Oyster Bar begins with a bowl of complimentary goldfish crackers and ends with chunks of dark chocolate. Patrons of sibling establishment Hank’s Pasta Bar needn’t worry about being neglected: that restaurant gives customers seasoned oyster crackers.

A bowl of goldfish crackers at Hank’s/
Lisa L./Yelp

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Maydan

Freshly baked pitas are part of every meal at Maydan.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Red-hot Middle Eastern restaurant Maydan has an unlimited pita policy, which means every table is privy to as much of the soft, pull-apart breads as is needed to envelop the smoky slow-roasted meats or sop up every last drop of the flavorful must-try condiments.

Freshly baked pitas are part of every meal at Maydan.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Kingfisher

Spice up the free popcorn at Kingfisher with assorted seasonings.
Dena G./Yelp

Not only does this basement bar on 14th Street serve free all-you-can-eat popcorn, it also offers patrons gratis seasonings ranging from garlic powder to popular hot sauces. Enjoy a basket while sipping on a hoppy brew or a cheap light beer, like the house favorite — Narragansett Lager.

Spice up the free popcorn at Kingfisher with assorted seasonings.
Dena G./Yelp

Maxwell Park

Customers gathered around the bar at Maxwell Park.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Each day, this Shaw wine bar treats cash-strapped imbibers to “Aperitif Hour” — a two-hour block (from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) during which select aperitifs, such as vermouth, are complimentary.

Customers gathered around the bar at Maxwell Park.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The Dabney

The grilled ciabatta with spiced butter at the Dabney.
Susie D./Yelp

The grilled ciabatta with sorghum butter is so good (and so free) at this Michelin-starred restaurant, one might be tempted to pocket a few extra jars of the distinctive spread. Just don’t let all the carbo-loading distract from sampling the local seafood, cured hams, and hearth-fired vegetables near and dear to chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s heart.

The grilled ciabatta with spiced butter at the Dabney.
Susie D./Yelp

Quill

Savory bar snacks at hotel bar Quill.
Maria-Elena T./Yelp

Go ahead, splurge on a seasonal cocktail for $19. Because the marinated olives and roasted nuts set out at hotel bar Quill are generously portioned and free.

Savory bar snacks at hotel bar Quill.
Maria-Elena T./Yelp

Honeysuckle

Gourmet breads and seasonal spreads at Honeysuckle.
Je N./Yelp

Chef T.C. Lumbar assembles a generous bread basket that’s on the house. While the featured offerings rotate regularly, one selection is always included: Lumbar’s banana bread. The cake-like bread is dense and loaded with ripened bananas.

Gourmet breads and seasonal spreads at Honeysuckle.
Je N./Yelp

Capital Burger

Free pickles offered at Capital Burger.
Capital Burger [Official photo]

Every meal at area newcomer Capital Burger starts out with a free mason jar brimming with semi-sweet, crunchy pickle chips that are perfect for nibbling on before lunch or dinner. Or slip a few onto a featured burger to add a funky vinegary pop to every bite.

Free pickles offered at Capital Burger.
Capital Burger [Official photo]

BLT Steak

The fluffy popovers at Blt Steak.
Samantha M./Yelp

The extra fluffy popovers at this downtown steakhouse are legendary. Every order at this expense-account favorite comes with a side of steaming hot breads loaded with cheese, butter, and salt.

The fluffy popovers at Blt Steak.
Samantha M./Yelp

Ray's the Steaks

Free sides of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach accompany meals at Ray’s the Steaks.
Orquidea R./Yelp

It’s a wonder there’s room on any table for actual entrees given all the freebies Ray’s sends customers. The parade of goodies includes spiced cashews, olive oil-brushed foccacia, mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach. And no evening its complete with a few bites of the house “tiger butter” — striped squares of peanut butter fudge.

Free sides of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach accompany meals at Ray’s the Steaks.
Orquidea R./Yelp

Rose's Luxury

The new sourdough English muffins that now accompany meals at Rose’s Luxury.
Rose’s Luxury/Instagram

Since day one, Rose’s Luxury’s bread service has been a fun highlight to a dinner that’s often cited as one of the city’s best. Sous chef Kean McIlvaine recently switched things up, starting each dinner with complimentary sourdough-style English muffins perfect for spreading with clotted cream and citrus marmalade.

The new sourdough English muffins that now accompany meals at Rose’s Luxury.
Rose’s Luxury/Instagram

Hank's Oyster Bar (Multiple locations)

A bowl of goldfish crackers at Hank’s/
Lisa L./Yelp

Whether one pulls up a chair at the flagship restaurant in Dupont Circle or grabs a seat at the new waterfront location at the Wharf, every meal at Hank’s Oyster Bar begins with a bowl of complimentary goldfish crackers and ends with chunks of dark chocolate. Patrons of sibling establishment Hank’s Pasta Bar needn’t worry about being neglected: that restaurant gives customers seasoned oyster crackers.

A bowl of goldfish crackers at Hank’s/
Lisa L./Yelp

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