The Interns' Guide: Happy Hour

By Fritz Hahn Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 12, 2007; 12:08 PM

Happy hour is an essential piece of life in D.C. For interns, it's a way to start honing important skills: meeting people and expanding your social circle; networking (bring business cards); blowing off steam after a day in the office. The bonus, of course, is that you can do all of these without busting your budget, and check out new bars and nightspots while you're at it.

What follows is a list of our favorite D.C. happy hours for interns and young people, heavy on food and drink bargains. You won't find too many swank joints on this list, but if you keep going out for $2 Miller Lites, you'll save up enough to hit the classier martini lounges every now and then.

(This article only focuses on happy hours, so if you're looking for open bar deals, click here, and those who'd rather check out discounts at nightclubs can click here.)

The Adams Morgan biker bar is home to a hard-rockin' jukebox and one of the best (and longest-running) happy hours in the city: The High Life Countdown. Every Saturday night, pints of Miller High Life cost a quarter between 5 and 6, with prices rising 50 cents every hour until 11, when they hit $3.25. Don't forget that you should tip the bartender, even when your beer costs less than a bus transfer. Happy hour during the work week isn't bad, either: $1 hard tacos, $1.25 soft tacos, 25-cent wings and selected draft beers between $2 and $3 from 5 to 8.

The Bungalow
The four Northern Virginia pool halls all have vacation-themed bars and plenty of specials to go around, like $1 longnecks on Thursday night, or Monday's "fiesta" with $1 tacos, half-price piles of nachos, $1 margaritas and $1 pony bottles of Corona. Ladies play pool for free on Wednesday nights and get discounted cocktails to boot.

Cafe Asia
After-work deals at Cafe Asia are legendary and a great way to snack before dinner. Between 4:30 and 7:30, pieces of nigiri are a buck each, sushi rolls are around $4 and draft beers, including hard-to-find Sapporo, are $2.

Cafe Citron
There's a line out the door on weekends, but happy hour is a better time to be introduced to the Latin hotspot. Crowds bustle for $4 mojitos -- some of the best in D.C. -- and $5 glasses of house sangria, $3 beers (choose the Portuguese Sagres over plain-old Corona) and large pitchers of margaritas, which are $21, but heavy with tequila. If this makes you hungry, there are food specials, too, including $4 plates of wings and $6 quesadillas.

Carpool (Herndon)
Younger and hipper than many nearby bars, Carpool mixes pool tables, a half-dozen dart boards, couch-filled lounging areas, an outdoor patio and a lively bar. Daily specials include $2.50 pints and half-price appetizers from 4 to 8, while women get free pool and rotating drink specials on Wednesday nights.

Capitol Lounge
Walls covered in political memorabilia from Richard Nixon to Marion Barry, a basement lounge decorated like a Shriner's hall, a room full of pool tables and TVs behind the bar tuned to both CNN and European soccer -- Capitol Lounge is the Hill's weirdest rec room. It's extremely popular at happy hour, too, with $3 beers (Bud and Bud Light bottles, pints of Yuengling and the house Capitol Amber) from 4 to 7. Don't miss the bar-food specials: Interns and their supervisors rub elbows in the narrow bar on Tuesdays for 10-cent wings, and Monday's half-price pizzas are better than you'd expect.

The Deck
If your group house or shared accommodations lacks a porch or backyard, the Deck is the next best thing: A large, sun-dappled Glover Park patio with a tiki-style bar and plenty of tables and chairs for lounging. On weekends, the Deck opens at noon with specials like $3 Miller Lites (Saturdays until 5) and $4 imported beers (all day Sunday).

The Front Page
Tacos and beer are the reason the Front Page is near capacity on Thursday nights. Sure, there are $2.75 drinks every night of the week (beers, rail drinks or house wines), but Thursday nights add a taco bar (2 for $1), $2 bottles of Corona and Miller Lite, and $10 buckets of six beers. Though it starts at 4, the crowd is thickest around 6, and thins toward 7. Later, DJs spin '80s pop and current Top 40 music for dancing.

Washington's sleekest gay bar offers two drinks for the price of one every day from 5 to 9, which means you're only shelling out $6 or so for some of the best cocktails around. (Check out the mojitos muddled with fresh fruits and berries.) On Wednesdays, the specials are extended until midnight.

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