Sample new restaurants for less at happy hour

August 2, 2013

The glut of restaurant openings in recent months has left D.C. diners with more choices than ever. But what about happy hour fans who visit those restaurants' bars?

Some of the buzziest newcomers, including Kapnos and Le Diplomate, offer no deals at all. But if you're looking to try cocktails and snacks without breaking the bank, there are a number of options out there. Here are a few of our favorites.


Casa Luca's bar offers discounted Italian cocktails, prosecco on tap and artisan meats and cheeses during its Monday-to-Thursday happy hour. (Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post)

Teddy and the Bully Bar
When: Daily from 3-7 p.m., and then 10 p.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday and 11 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday. (The bar's closing times may extend based on the level of business)
What to drink: The standard offer includes $5 microbrews, $6 call drinks, and $8 glasses and $26 pitchers of sangria. But every day also brings a special cocktail deal, all of which cost $8.
Mondays are Mint Julep day, where you get to pick the bourbon, including a mint-infused Woodford Reserve.
Tuesdays are for margaritas, with a choice of tequila or mezcal.
Wednesday is devoted to the three house-aged cocktails, which are kept in wooden barrels for 26 days. (The Rough Rider, with rum, maraschino and grapefruit, is my pick.)
Thursday is a choice between a draft Americano and a draft Rickey, made with Green Hat Gin and a Woodford Reserve syrup.
Friday involves mules (ginger beer highballs, essentially) with a choice of vodka, rum or gin.
Weekends might be the best deal: Any signature cocktail for $8.
What to eat: There are 10 different options, including $7 Teddy Burgers, a choice of veggie, oyster or sausage flatbreads ($6-$9) and delicious buttermilk onion rings ($5).

Azur
When: Daily from 5-7 p.m.
What to drink: The standout drinks are $6 cocktails. For the best flavors, look for those that include Don Ciccio Italian liqueurs. These are hand-crafted in Washington by Francesco Amodeo, who recently revamped Azur's cocktail menu. The Man Oh Man is an aromatic gin martini that draws spicy flavors from fennel liqueur, while Straight Up Not Right is made with sweet, fresh mandarin liqueur and the bitter kick of Aperol. If you don't want cocktails, try four different New Belgium beers for $5, or red and whites for $6.
What to eat: Make sure you ask about the oysters, which could come from either coast and cost $1 each. A large portion of calamari (with spicy sauce and peanuts) costs $12, as does an appetizer-sized order of fish and chips.

Casa Luca
When: Monday-Thursday from 4-6 p.m.
What to drink: Like sister restaurant Fiola, Casa Luca's happy hour has an easy-going Italian feel. Classically bitter cocktails, such as the Americano and the Aperol Spritz, are $5. That's also what you'll pay for draft prosecco or two draft wines. (Don't miss Col dei Venti Barbera Vino da Tavola from the Piedmont region.) Don't feel like Italian? Try a DC Brau for $4.
What to eat: $9 will get you two ounces of fennel salami or prosciutto di Parma, or a similar size chunk of artisanal buffalo or sheep cheese.

Ghibellina
When: Tuesday-Sunday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. (The restaurant is closed Monday)
What to drink: Even happy hour can be pricey on 14th Street, unless you visit Ghibellina, where happy hour is a half-price sale. Draft beers cost $3 or $4, wines are $5 and house cocktails are $6.
What to eat: Pizzas, like the rapini-and-chili-flake-covered Bianca, are also half-price. (Usual price per pizza: $13-$18).

B Too
When: Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m.
What to drink: A short list of the Belgian draft beers are half price, so you'll pay $3.50 to $5.50 for Palm, Stella Artois, Hoegarrden or Gulden Drak. $6 cocktails include a champagne-and-cognac sparkler and an herbal mix of Belgian vodka and absinthe. Two rotating wines cost $5.
What to eat: Pastries stuffed with potatoes and bacon and served with melted Chimay cheese ($6) and salmon waffles with a yoghurt dip ($10) are the highlights of the half-dozen bar snacks.

Bearnaise
When: Daily from 4-7 p.m.
What to drink: Spike Mendelsohn's new French joint offers a half-price punch, which rotates frequently, and half-price Grey Goose drinks.
What to eat: Happy hour is for drinks only.

Fritz Hahn writes about bars, drinks and nightlife for The Washington Post weekend section.
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Fritz Hahn | August 2, 2013