Bar 7

At District, Bar 7, it's free drinks at happy hour

Lou Smith picks up a drink at District in Adams Morgan.
Lou Smith picks up a drink at District in Adams Morgan. (Photos By Robert A. Reeder For The Washington Post)
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By Fritz Hahn
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 27, 2010

The lure of happy hour: Meeting friends after a hard day at the office? Absolutely. Blowing off steam? Sure. But for many it really comes down to one thing: cheap drinks. And the only thing better than cheap drinks is free drinks. Why pay $3 for a beer at some downtown bar when other places will hand you a drink for nothing?

Two of the more popular free-drink deals take place Fridays at Bar 7, a lounge across from the Convention Center, and Wednesdays at District, the Adams Morgan club formerly known as Chloe. Both offer free drinks -- though you should still tip your bartender a buck or two each time he or she serves you -- along with DJs and other specials. Taking advantage of these events can take planning -- you need to get on an e-mail list or print a flier from District to take full advantage of the free drinks -- but it's worth the effort. We thought we would put them head to head.

What's the deal?

Bar 7: Free rail drinks from 5 to 7 p.m. on Fridays, plus $5 specialty cocktails.

District: Free rail drinks from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, plus $5 Jameson and Ciroc cocktails.

What's the vibe?

Bar 7: Jumping. If you didn't know better, you'd swear it was closer to midnight, even though it's barely 6 p.m. When we went, both levels of the upscale lounge were packed with well-dressed women and men grooving to the music. Most of the action took place on the narrow main floor, where the crowd gathered around the low tables and the banquettes that line the walls and pressed three deep at the long bar.

"It's a great place for professionals to meet and mix, and in a time of recession it's very economical," said Kelia Cummins, 31, who works for the State Department. When she recently returned from an overseas posting, her friends told her that Bar 7's happy hour was a good way to "be social and save money at the same time."

District: Laid-back, with people hanging out in large booths with friends. District is a spacious nightspot with two large bars, plenty of seats and a cavernous main area open to two levels.

"I love the young professional vibe -- the community, the networking," said Farrin Stanton, a 24-year-old from Germantown who works for the GSA. She said she's missed the party only a few times in recent months. "The best part is the open bar."

" . . . and the worst part is that it only lasts an hour," interjected her friend Andrew Adams, 24, of Arlington.

"It's a good place to go after work," said Breanna Davis, 23, a nanny from Odenton. "The environment allows you to see your friends and catch up after a long day."

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