20 DC happy hours where $20 (or less) will get you an awesome drink and bite combo

With increasing drink and food prices, DC happy hours often seem a little less than happy.  However, Men’s Life DC is here to help.  We hit the streets of the nation’s capital to track down 20 spots where you can drop a Jackson (soon to be Tubman, maybe) and get an awesome drink and bite with 10% tax and 18% tip included  — and maybe some change back.

Photo by Calypso Digital

Ambar DC

At Ambar’s DC location on Capital Hill we recommend the $5 Mango Lemonade (vodka, mango purée and simple syrup) and two orders of $5 Balkan Kebabs. However, there is n0 need to worry if you don’t like this combo  Every item on Ambar’s happy hour menu is $5.

When available: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Bar Charley.jpg
Photo courtesy of Bar Charley

Bar Charley

Dupont Circle’s Bar Charley has a reputation for outstand steaks, but there is nothing shabby about its happy hour.  Our top picks here are the $6.50 Old Fashioned and the $9 Coconut Curry Mussels.

When available: 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday (BTW – this is all day if you didn’t notice), 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Photo courtesy of The Berliner

The Berliner

At Georgetown’s German-style beer hall The Berliner you might want to sport some lederhosen while enjoying a $6 half-liter of beer and a $8 house made Wurttemberg Brat.

When available: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and noon to 6 p.m. Friday.

Brixton Roof
Photo courtesy of Brixton


U Street Corridor’s British-style restaurant and pub Brixton loves to welcome guests for happy hour — especially to its season rooftop. When visiting we recommend having a $6 Absolut Vodka cocktail and a $7 Loaded Pub Dog (our pick: the Banh Mi Dog with pickled radish, spicy pickled carrot, pickled cucumber, cilantro, crushed peanuts, and sriracha mayo).

When available: 5 p.m. to 7:30 p,m, Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 pm. Saturday and Sunday.


CARMINE'S Meatball slider.jpg
Photo courtesy of Carmine’s


At the DC-based outpost of Carmine’s Italian Restaurant you can enjoy an $8 blood orange margarita and a $4 slider with two of Carmine’s famous house-made meatballs.

When available: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. to close Sunday through Friday, in the bar area only.

Photo courtesy of Central


Central, the modern American bistro with a French twist created by the late Chef Michel Richard, offers a crafted $8 Negroni that pairs perfectly with its $6 Risotto Croquettes

When available: 4:30 p.m to 7 p.m. Monday thought Friday at the bar or lounge areas only.



Logan Circle’s casual neighborhood café Commissary always provides great food at a good value, but it gets event better at happy hour.  We recommend enjoying a $6 Dark & Stormy and $8.50 for an 8 oz. hamburger and fries.

When available: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the bar and lounge and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the patio everyday.

Crimson Whiskey Bar (LR2)
Photo courtesy of Crimson Whiskey Bar

Crimson Whiskey Bar

At Chinatown’s Pod Hotel you will find the Crimson Whiskey Bar.  We recommend you stop by this cool subterranean watering hole for a $5 Boilermaker and $8 house made pap’s pimento cheese.

When available: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 5 p.m.  to close on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of District Winery

District Winery

With a riverside working winery as your setting, happy hour at District Winery is fun and refined.  Visitors should check out an $8 pour of the Old Vine Zinfandel matched with $6 fried Brussels sprouts with pumpkin seed brittle and honey.

When available: 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the bar only.

Photo courtesy of Gaslight Tavern

Gaslight Tavern

Shaw’s Gaslight Tavern bills itself as a old-school saloon offering Canadian-inspired casual eats. With that in mind, we recommend the $6 can of Crispin Cider Browns Lane and the $9 poutine (french fries, miso gravy, white cheddar curds, and parmesan).

When available: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Photo courtesy of Kingbird

The Bar at Kingbird

Located within the famed Watergate Hotel, The Bar at Kingbird is a casual see and be seen spot were you need to pair a $4 beer and $10.50 Burrata and Aspargus with black olive tapenade, fennel pollen, and lime zest.

When available: 4 p.m. to 6 pm. Monday through Friday

Buffalo Calamari Bar Bite Mid Atl
Photo courtesy of Legal Sea Foods

Legal Sea Bar

At Legal Sea Foods’ new Legal Sea Bar concept at Union Station you can have a $6.95 seasonal cocktail (our pick: the Good Time Charlie with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Campari, falernum, guava, lemon, and soda) and a $7 bar bite (our pick: the Buffalo Calamari).

When available: 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, in the bar area only.




With three DC locations you don’t have to go far to enjoy a tasty happy hour combo at Matchbox.  For us it is all about a refreshing $7.50 Matchbox Mojito along side $7 crispy calamari with jalapeño jelly.

When available: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at the bar.

Photo courtesy of Mission Navy Yard


Mission Dupont and Mission Navy Yard don’t skim on their happy hours. At the Dupont location we suggest getting the $4.5 can of Tecate and the $8.50 Nachos Vucan, and at Navy Yard it is all about the $5.50 craft 16 oz. draft of DC Brau Mission in the Ran and $8.50 Mission Quesadilla.

When available: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, and 10 p.m. to close Thursday through Saturday.

Photo courtesy of The Occidental

The Occidental

Where many a presidents have ate and drank, The Occidental is were we recommend being posh with a $7 glass of Mionetto Prosecco paired with the $3.50 Spring Vegetable Risotto Croquettes with green tomato and jalapeno aioli and the $4 Roasted Corn & Chili Fritters.

When available: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday (all day on Wednesday) at the bar only.

Oval Room
Photo courtesy of Oval Room

Oval Room

Just steps from the White House, The Oval Room offers an intimate bar and lounge perfect for lingering over the $8 Truman, with bourbon, rhubarb bitters and ginger beer, and the $8 Pommes Pont Neuf (crispy potatoes, espelette pepper and black garlic).

When available: 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at the bar and patio areas only.

Salt Line.jpeg
Photo by Greg Powers

The Salt Line

The Salt Line’s riverside location in the Navy Yard is the perfect location to enjoy a $7 draft cocktail and a $7.50 selection of a half-dozen local oysters.

When available: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday (except game days) and all day on Mondays (including game days) at the bar area only.

Satellite Room Interior 4
Photo courtesy of Satellite Room

Satellite Room

Tucked behind the 9:30 Club is where you will find the hip Satellite Room. You cannot go wrong here with a $4 select draught beer and $11 vegan wings.

When available: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Photo by Jonathan Thorpe

Tiki TNT

The Wharf’s Tiki TNT puts an cool industrial chic twist on the classic Polynesian bar concept that we think provides a fun spot for enjoying a $7 24 oz. can of Modelo Especial and $7 Tiki Tots (Tater Tots with Pineapple, Mango, Green Onion, Cilantro, Chile, Pepper Jack, TNT Sauce).

When available: 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

West End

West End Bistro

The sleek eatery inside the Ritz-Carlton Hote, West End Bistro has a fun bar and seasonal patio that we encourage you to visit for a $5 draft beer paired with $10 Honey Glazed Duck Wings (you get six!).

When available: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at the bar and patio.

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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