If you only go to five happy hours this week...

March 31, 2011

Where are you going for happy hour tonight? Do yourself a favor and skip same-old $3 Miller Lites and over-fried wings. The difference between a happy hour and a good happy hour is measurable. So starting this week, we’ll give you the lowdown on a fun place to go after work to find discount drinks, low-priced (but good) food and a festive atmosphere.

But that’s not all: We want to hear about your favorite happy-hour destinations. Send an e-mail to nightlife@washington
post.com
telling us where you go and why, and you may be featured in this space. You can also upload your favorite happy-hour photos to a gallery on our Web site: Follow the link on goingoutguide.com/bars for easy instructions.

To begin, we’ve planned a work week’s worth of happy hours for you to explore.

Monday

There’s a lot of good beer to be had in Clarendon these days, but if you’re trying to save money, nowhere comes close to Lyon Hall’s happy hour. Every day from 4 to 7 p.m., all of the Alsatian-inspired bistro’s “Session” draft beers are $3.50, and this list includes New Holland’s crisp Full Circle kolsch, the hoppy Yards IPA and refreshing Weihenstephaner wheat beer. If you prefer a glass of wine, everything on the French and Austrian list is half-price, so you can score a lush Michel Sarrazin Bourgogne Rouge or the minerally Trimbach Riesling. Throw in one of the $5 gourmet frankfurters (with such toppings as sauerkraut and mustard to Gruyere cheese, ham and pickled cabbage) or a $10 pot of mussels.

3100 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington. 703-741-7636. www.lyonhallarlington.com .

Tuesday

Barcode’s sleek design, high tables and glowing LED lights say Euro-lounge, but the sports and CNN streaming on TVs behind the marble bar say “D.C. after-work spot.” The daily happy hour attracts downtown workers for half-price beers, wines and rail drinks at the bar from 4 to 7 p.m., spilling over to tables on the wide sidewalk patio area. On Tuesdays, DJs from the popular Glow dance party at Fur spin techno and house, and all bottles of wine are half-price all night.

1101 17th St. NW. 202-955-9001 .
www.barcodedc.com
.

Wednesday

“Sustainable seafood” usually conjures images of expensive line-caught fish, not cocktail shrimp or fish tacos. And yet that’s exactly what you’ll find at Crackle Bar, Tackle Box’s cozy lobster shack-inspired bar and lounge. The Monday-Friday happy hour is prime for a Georgetown meet-up, with $2 house margaritas, $1 oyster shooters, $3 calamari plates, $5 steamed shrimp and $1.50 bottles of Bud and Bud Light from 5 to 7 p.m. But it’s even more fun on Wednesdays, when you can order half-price fish tacos all night ($4 for two, $5.50 for three). Topped with slaw and pico de gallo and served in a plastic basket, this is a pretense-free pleasure.

3245 M St. NW. 202-337-8269.
www.tackleboxrestaurant.com
.

Thursday

Despite the influx of restaurants and bars in recent years, Silver Spring is not a happy-hour destination. Yet. But there are signs of life. Babe’s Sports Bar and Grill — a reincarnation of the old Babe’s Billiards in Tenleytown — has filled the former Galaxy nightclub with TVs and pool tables, and it offers five hours of deals on weekdays and four more on weekends. Between 3 and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, Budweiser and Miller Lite sell for $1.95. The dozen draft beers are $1 off, meaning a Shock Top or Yuengling goes for $2.95. Mixed drinks cost $3.95, and all appetizers — including “deep fried to perfection” calamari — are $2 off. (You can also get all these deals between 1 and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.) Anyone can do drink specials, so here’s the real reason to stop on weekdays: Pool is discounted until 7 p.m. Shoot by yourself for an hour for $4, two players can have a table for $6 per hour, or a foursome pays $10 for the same amount of time. Beats sitting around and staring at a TV.

1115 East-West Hwy., Silver Spring. 301-562-1115.

Friday

The week is over, the weekend is beginning, and how do you kick it off right? $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon cans all night at Hamilton’s . Yes, PBR gets rapped as a trendy hipster beer, but if you pop into the upstairs bar on Friday night, you’re going to have a hard time finding anyone wearing skinny jeans in the sea of kickball players, government staffers, hashers and regular folks enjoying cans of cheap beer.

233 Second St. NW. 202-347-6555. www.hamiltonsdc.com.

Fritz Hahn has written about bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. A product of Prince George's County public schools, Fritz majored in journalism at the University of Maryland and lives in the District.
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