Stop 1: DC Reynolds
3628 Georgia Ave. NW. 202-506-7178. www.dcreynoldsbar.com.
DC Reynolds wasn't the first to offer a buy-one, get-one-free happy hour, but that six-day-per-week offering, which extends to all beer, wine and liquor from 5 to 9 p.m., frequently guarantees logjams on the Park View bar's vast back patio. And enjoying the outdoors with a beer in hand has just gotten easier: DC Reynolds was able to expand into the back yard of the neighboring Walter's (see below), where there's an extended bar counter and extra standing room for 30 or 40 people. On a crowded weekend night, that can mean the difference between moving on or having two more before you go.
Stop 2: Walter's
3632 Georgia Ave. NW. 202-486-7328. www.waltersdc.com.
The former home of the Blue Banana and Park View Patio (remember them?) is now home to Walter's, a family-friendly sports bar opened by the owners of DC Reynolds, located two doors south, and the Looking Glass Lounge, which sits one door to the north.
Things have gone back to basics: nine flat-screen televisions, some of which could be a little bigger; a simple patio filled with biergarten-style benches and high wooden walls decorated with metal beer signs; a menu strong on ballpark-style fare, such as a foot-long hot dog, which is served in a comically small six-inch bun, and jumbo pretzels with mustard; and a short-and-sweet 10-tap beer list ranging from local IPAs to cider to a generic tap just labeled "Beer." There's a list of bottles and cans, and the bar serves wines by the glass.
Fittingly for a bar named in honor of Washington Senators Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, happy hours are timed for baseball games. Specials from 4 to 8 p.m. include $5 wings, $4 DC Brau drafts and cans, and $3 shots of Powers whiskey. If your team is playing on the left coast, the West Coast Happy Hour runs from 8 to 10 p.m. with $4 West Coast and "Mountain West" drafts; Avery's Ellie's Brown Ale and Anchor California Lager are the current selections, with Lagunitas coming soon.
Stop 3: The Pitch Tavern
4015 Georgia Ave. NW. 202-560-5142. www.dcpitch.com.
The Pitch sports bar opened in January, but raised eyebrows when it closed for the month of May for "rehiring and retraining, and some building maintenance work," according to manager Elena Davis. It reopened in early June, and service is better than ever.
If the weather's good and the game's on, consider a stop here for two levels of screens and a third-floor deck. You might come to watch the Nationals or, in a few months, "Monday Night Football," but the Pitch also shows cricket, rugby and a variety of soccer matches, from international friendlies on pull-down projection screens to D.C. United away games.
Happy hour runs from 4 to 8 p.m. on weeknights, with $3 Budweiser and Bud Light, $5 drafts from locals 3 Stars, Heritage and DC Brau and a $5 Pitch Punch, as well as $5 wings. (Choices include mumbo sauce and an Old Bay rub.) In the future, Davis says they’re looking into hosting DJs and bands on weekends, but there’s no start date yet.
Stop 4: Slash Run
201 Upshur St. NW. 202-838-9929. www.facebook.com/slashrun.
Make Slash Run your last stop, because once you're there, you might find it really hard to leave. Conceived by Jackie Greenbaum and Gordon Banks, the pair behind El Chucho, Bar Charley, Sidebar and the Quarry House Tavern, among other spots, they've pitched it as a "hair-metal inspired" neighborhood beer and burger hangout.
The menu has a dozen creative burgers, from the Jucy Lucy, stuffed with molten cheese that may just squirt onto your shirt (or your neighbor) if you're not careful, to the Buffalo '66, topped with buffalo sauce, blue cheese and celery and served with a side of buffalo wings instead of the usual fries. (Costs range from $9.95 to $15.95.)
You'll probably want to pair your beer - locals are well-represented here - with a two-ounce pour of whiskey from a list that's deeper than your average neighborhood bar: W.L. Weller Special Reserve ($7) or I.W. Harper ($11) bourbon, or High West Double Rye ($9). One-ounce shots are also available if you're flagging on the crawl. (Worth knowing: Whiskey is 20 percent off on Wednesdays.)
Fans of Greenbaum's other establishments will look for a cocktail menu, but they won't find one (yet). "It's deliberately not cocktaily," Greenbaum says. "It's not that kind of place, and we wanted to be clear about that."
In the meantime, acquaint yourself with the 100 CDs in the jukebox. It’s strong on metal – Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne – but you’ll also find a strong dose of local punk, including Minor Threat and Bad Brains, and go-go, with Rare Essence’s classic “We Go On and On” and Chuck Brown’s “Greatest Hits” among the CDs taking my money. I came close to punching in the Who, Run DMC, and Waylon Jennings before settling on Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First.” Greenbaum says the selection will rotate regularly, and the new “menus” will be published on the bar’s Facebook page.
There’s a friendly-if-cramped vibe at the C-shaped, glitter-topped bar, and more space (if a guaranteed wait) in the dining room, where the chrome-edged tables and stained-glass light fixtures could have come from a 1980s Shakey’s Pizza. More familiar: The mural of Marion Barry riding a tiger through a neon jungle, which came from Adams Morgan’s late Chief Ike’s Mambo Room. Happy hour runs all night Monday and from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with $1 off drafts and rail drinks, and $2.50 Natty Boh tallboys. On Wednesday nights, whiskey is 20 percent off all night. Greenbaum says that they’re considering adding a late-night happy hour, but even without it, this is the perfect place to end the night.