Editors' pick

Happy Hour at New York Avenue Beach Bar

Happy hour

Editorial Review

By Fritz Hahn
Friday, July 20, 2012

New York Avenue Beach Bar is one of this summer’s hits. Once a 6,000-square-foot parking lot, it was transformed in May into a bit of Ocean City with almost 80 tons of sand, an array of picnic tables, and thatched bars serving frozen cocktails and canned beers (bring your own koozies).

Drop by on Friday and Saturday night and you’re frequently greeted by a long line waiting to get in. Once inside, it can be so crowded that it’s hard to walk around. People are dancing while the DJs spin pop music and ’80s and ’90s hits. Large groups hang out in the sand or on the “boardwalk” by the bars, where there are more lines to buy $5 cans of Tecate and $9 mixed drinks. The crowd is a mix of people wearing sundresses, T-shirts, and flip-flops and folks who dressed up for clubbing at the neighboring Avenue or Bar 7 but decided to pre-party in the sand.

At the weeknight happy hour, though, it’s a completely different scene. It’s easy to get a seat at a picnic table or one of the plastic Adirondack chairs. There’s no line to play beanbag-toss games. The bartenders aren’t swamped, so you can talk them into making you a custom rum drink. (Several are veterans of the Passenger, the nearby bar known for its craft cocktails.) Plus, there are some good bargains to be had.

The happy hour discount varies: Past deals have included $1 off all beers, $2 off mixed drinks, $5 frozen margaritas and $3 Heinekens. There’s always a food truck onsite, and recent favorites include the Sundevich sandwich truck and Goode’s, which specializes in Bajan favorites such as jerk shrimp and curry chicken. You can’t beat the laidback vibe of this spacious alfresco bar, as long as you know when to go.

Happy hour, 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Closed Mondays. 645 New York Ave. NW. 202-656-9229. www.nyavebeachbar.com. No cover charge.