At Mighty Pint, generous offerings are light on your wallet
By Fritz Hahn
Friday, October 1, 2010
As I grabbed a seat at the Mighty Pint one Thursday night, the bartender nodded and asked what I wanted.
He pulled a quarter from atop the cash register and asked, "Heads or tails?" as it flipped through the air.
"Tails," he said with a smile after it landed on his wrist. "Sorry, man. $5."
Well, I'd have another shot for a free beer once this glass was empty.
The current economic climate has had an obvious effect on bars and clubs, perhaps most notably by the number of specials to lure in extra business. But few can match the Mighty Pint, which opened in the old Madhatter space on M Street in May, when it comes to deals that leave your wallet feeling a little more full.
Every Thursday, for example, the Pint's "Flip Night" lets customers attempt to win free drinks with a flip of the coin. No matter what drink you order after 8 p.m., your bartender flips a coin. You call the toss, your drink is free. You lose, you pay the usual price.
And that's saying nothing of the regular-ol' happy hour, which runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day -- a full nine hours -- and offers $3 pints of Guinness, Yuengling, Miller Lite or Blue Moon and $5 pints of mixed drinks.
(This is one place where "pint size" isn't an insult -- it's the way all draft beers and cocktails are served.)
But when happy hour is winding down and you're getting ready to settle up, one of the personable bartenders will sidle over and say something like, "Hey, just wanted to let you guys know that we've got specials that start at 8 p.m."
Those specials include 25-cent wings, $3 Yuenglings and $10 pitchers of Miller Lite on Mondays; $2 22-ounce Miler Lite drafts and $6 16-ounce cocktails on Tuesdays; $2 16-ounce PBR cans on Wednesdays; or the flip-for-a-free-drink deal on Thursdays, which also includes $1 slices of pizza and half-price appetizers. All those deals start at 8 p.m. and run until close.
The scene: There are plenty of places in the D.C. area to drink really cheap beer, but many are run-down and not places you'd want to hang out once you no longer carry a student ID. Not so with the Mighty Pint. A top-to-bottom cleaning and removal of old paint and plaster has the place looking pretty pubby, with burnished wood, exposed brick and scrubbed black and white tile.
The upstairs bar is more spacious, thanks to removed walls and seats, with room for about 100 to watch sports on multiple flat-screen TVs.
"We came here when it was Madhatter, but this is something different," says Anthony Cirillo, 24, a service representative who was at the downstairs bar. "I like the pint-size drinks. There's a nice crowd on Friday night," when DJs spin Top 40 hits and the area near the stairs becomes a makeshift dance floor.
"Nothing drew me to Madhatter more than a couple times," says Jeff D'Onofrio, 23. "This place gives me reasons to come back. The bartenders are great. I haven't had a bad experience yet ."
D'Onofrio, Cirillo and their friend Aaron Wolf, a 24-year-old security consultant, often drop in for Monday Night Football. "They have great deals," D'Onofrio says. "These are the best wings in D.C. I watched people eat wings at other restaurants and pity them for how small they are compared to these." (He's not lying, either -- Mighty Pint's wings look like turkey legs compared with what some D.C. bars serve.)
In your glass: Beer and mixed drinks. The bartenders don't do anything more complicated than making orange and grapefruit crushes, the beachy mix of fresh-squeezed fruit, vodka and soda, or special "bomb" drinks, like the Browning Bomb -- a shot of Jagermeister dropped into a pint of ginger ale.
On your plate: The menu's pretty basic, too, with many cheesesteak and hoagie options reflecting the owners' Pennsylvania background.
Price points: Beers are $5, mixed drinks are $8 to $11. A large bucket of tater tots costs $5.50, and a big plate of wings is $8.
Nice to know: Because some of the owners have ties to Penn State, the bar has become an official alumni gathering spot for football viewing on Saturdays. On Sundays, it's all about the black and gold, as Steelers fans take over upstairs. The typical Pennsylvania game-day menu includes overstuffed sandwiches (in the Primanti Brothers style -- fries or tater tots, cole slaw and meat stuffed between slices of bread), fried pierogies, kielbasa, mini chili dogs and (of course) cans of Iron City Light beer.