Over the last few years, brewery and cidery taprooms have become bars in their own right, offering a place to hang out as well as taste a producer’s freshest offerings. What makes a visit even more enticing? Happy hour. Here are four of my favorite deals in D.C.
The scene: Happy hour just feels better when it doubles as dinner. The Atlas Brew Works on Half Street SE shares its space with Andy’s Pizza, the New York-style slice joint that took first place at the 2021 International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas. The two team up on weekdays for happy hour, offered inside as well as at picnic tables in a streatery. A $10 combo includes two foldable slices of Andy’s — I’m partial to the white pizza, topped with mozzarella, provolone and dollops of ricotta, or the loaded sausage and peppers — and a pint of selected beers, such as Dance of Days pale ale or the Atlantico Mexican-style lager. Atlas’s flagship offerings, such as Ponzi IPA and Bullpen Pilsner, are also $5. The deal runs from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and also from the second inning through the seventh inning of Nationals weeknight home games — in case the Nats are getting blown out, or you need another reason to sneak out of the ballpark early.
Atlas’s original location in Ivy City also offers happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, with $5 pints of the six core beers, and $10 flights, which are selected by Atlas staff. Downside: no pizza.
The deal: Half-price drafts and cans on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.
The scene: DC Brau offered one of my favorite pre-pandemic happy hours, with half-price drafts from open to close every Friday. While the hours have shortened, it’s hard to say no to $3.50 pints and cans of its flagship beers and hard seltzers. That last part is crucial: The deal covers the Pils, Joint Resolution hazy IPA, Penn Quarter Porter and other year-round offerings, not the one-offs like the Wake Up in the Future bourbon-barrel-aged stout. Shaded beer-garden-style tables fill a swath of the Upper Northeast brewery’s parking lot, and there are pop-up food offerings inside.
Capitol Cider House
The deals: $4 house cider, $5 craft beer, $6 local wine, $7 cider cocktails and $10 cider-and-a-shot combos Thursday and Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.
The scene: Capitol Cider House pours three of its hard ciders for $4 each on weeknights — crisp-and-basic Capitol Cuvée; the Capitol Rosé, which takes its color and flavor from merlot grapes; and the juicy Sap Happy — but the Petworth cidery doesn’t limit the specials to beverages produced on-site. There are also $5 local beers, including some from City-State, and $6 wines from Maryland’s Big Cork and Virginia’s Gadino. A seasonal cider cocktail — currently a spritz with Rosé cider, Capitoline liqueur, ruby red grapefruit juice and ginger-honey syrup — costs $7, and a house cider paired with a shot is $10. The kid-friendly taproom has a wide selection of board games, as well as a patio. Capitol Cider House is currently open Thursday through Sunday, but founder Jared Fackrell hopes to open (and offer happy hour) on Wednesdays in the near future.
The deals: $3 off all drafts, $6 rail cocktails, and $6 selected red and white wines Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.
The scene: This one is something of a stretch, because no beer is actually brewed at Solace’s Navy Yard location — it’s all brought in from Solace’s mother ship in Sterling and the brewpub in Falls Church. Still, the brewery’s name is on the wall, and almost every one of the dozen draft lines usually pours Solace products, such as the full-bodied Lucy Juicy Double IPA, 2 Legit to Wit Belgian witbier and fruit-flavored Voda hard seltzers. House beers are $8, which falls to $5 at happy hour. Grab a seat on the patio with views of the Anacostia River and the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge.