D.C.-area nightlife, events and dining

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Beach-theme happy hours without going to the beach

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 4, 2011

Though I was born in January, I'm not a fan of winter. I enjoy a warming cocktail in front of a crackling fire. But freezing rain and bitingly cold wind? No thanks.

Although the temperatures are starting to show some promise of warmer weather to come, I know it's still a long time until we can cross the bridge for Memorial Day weekend. And so, to help us get to that point,

I decided re-create some of my favorite beach experiences now.

Step One: Beach drinks

On the Delmarva shore, no drink is as synonymous with summer as the Orange Crush. The recipe varies with the bar, but it's usually a mix of orange vodka, triple sec, Sprite and juice from a whole orange. (Of all the variations, I'm partial to the ones that substitute fresh grapefruit.)

In search of fun beach drinks instead of the more ubiquitous Trader Vic-style tropical cocktails, I headed for Mango Mike's in Alexandria. Mango Mike's boasts a sister bar on the boardwalk in Bethany Beach, where you can watch the waves roll in from the second-story deck while sipping frozen drinks. I've been to the Duke Street bar before, but I'm more used to visiting in patio-friendly weather, when it's possible to sit outside on an Adirondack chair under a palm tree and sip a pina colada from a coconut husk.

The interior has the campy beach-vibe atmosphere - a corrugated metal roof over the bar, plastic leis, aquariums filled with brightly colored fish - though the lighting was a little dim for a Friday night, and the only seats friends and I could find at happy hour were near a large fireplace in the lounge, which wasn't exactly what we were looking for. At least the drink menus are roughly the same: The frozen, electric-orange Mangorita, which is $2.95 from 4 to 7 p.m. on weeknights, is a sweet, fruity mango-based margarita with no hint of the tequila therein. (Despite the name, the ones we tried on a recent trip could have used more mango.) The Orange Crush is respectable, though, if a little thin. The fiery jerk wings and coconut-covered shrimp didn't disappoint, and the drinks offered just the kick we needed.

Mango Mike's

4580 Duke St., Alexandria

703-370-3800

www.mangomikes.com

Step Two: Pounds of shrimp, pitchers of beer

Whether you're in Ocean City or Rehoboth, one of the most popular happy-hour themes revolves around a pound of steamed shrimp cooked in Old Bay, served with a pitcher of beer. (Pepper's Tavern on the Ocean City boardwalk is a favorite.)


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