The Penn Quarter and Chinatown neighborhoods are densely packed with restaurants and bars, so anyone looking to grab a bite to eat or meet for happy hour before going to an event at the Verizon Center will have dozens of options within a short walk. Whether you want to sit down for a full dinner, get a quick-and-easy meal, or celebrate with a late-night happy hour, this guide can help you find the perfect option.
For something fast and casual, consider a quick meal at one of two home-grown fast-casual chains: Cava Grill (707 H St. NW) for Mediterranean pitas, salads and bowls, or ShopHouse (710 Seventh St. NW) for Southeast Asian bowls, noodles and salads.
Taylor Gourmet (624 E St. NW) is another local favorite, though its hoagies in concept and name are inspired by Philadelphia. Asian-accented cafe and teahouse Teaism (400 Eighth St. NW) is perfect for a caffeine or food pick-me-up. Nando's Peri-Peri (819 Seventh St. NW) offers chicken by way of South Africa.
Grab a Reuben, egg cream and babka ice cream sandwich at On Rye (740 Sixth St. NW), a modern shop inspired by Jewish delis. Pop into A Baked Joint (440 K St. NW) for all-day breakfast, generous sandwiches on house-made bread and sweet treats. Two Philadelphia chains offer unique fast-casual menus: Honeygrow (716 Seventh St. NW) specializes in build-your-own stir-fries, and HipCityVeg (712 Seventh St. NW) offers vegan fare with a bit of fast-food inspiration.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries (808 H St. NW) is a reliable crowd-pleaser, and burger lovers also flock to Shake Shack (800 F St. NW). For pizza, go thick or thin: St. Louis-style deep dish at Pi (910 F. St. NW) or quick-cooked, customized pies at &pizza (1005 E St. NW).
There are so many happy hours around Penn Quarter and Chinatown that you have no reason not to arrive early. Happy hours last until 7 p.m. daily unless otherwise noted.
Sister bars Iron Horse Taproom (507 Seventh St. NW) and Jackpot (726 Seventh St. NW) take $2 off all happy hour beers until 8 p.m. every day. Jackpot has $5 rails during happy hour, plus free popcorn, while Iron Horse offers a $6 cocktail of the day and skeeball machines.
The newest bar near Verizon Center is Free State (501 G St. NW), which focuses on craft beer and spirits from the Mid-Atlantic region. Happy hour, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. on weeknights, takes $2 off drafts, spirits and glasses of wine.
District Chophouse (509 Seventh St. NW) discounts pints of its house-made ales to $3.50 Monday-Friday, with $5 wines and rail drinks, and $7 appetizer specials. R.F.D. Washington (810 Seventh St. NW) rotates its weekday happy hour specials regularly, but pre-game deals frequently include craft beers from Bell's, 3 Stars or Goose Island for $4 to $5.
If the weather's nice on a weeknight, Bar Deco (716 Sixth St. NW), pours $5 local beers and house wines and $6 rail drinks and selected cocktails on the spacious rooftop deck as well as its TV-filled bar.
For something fancier:
Proof (775 G St. NW) pours $5 happy hour house wines and $8 classic cocktails on weeknights. Flight Wine Bar (777 Sixth St. NW) offers discounted flights and wines by the glass from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and all night Monday. The cocktails at Denson Liquor Bar (600 F St. NW) are pricey at $14 each, but Monday-Friday happy hour prices drop to $9 for cocktails and $6 for wine.
Pre- or post-game dinner
José Andrés dominates the restaurant scene near Verizon Center. His portfolio includes Oyamel (401 Seventh St. NW) for Mexican, Zaytinya (701 Ninth St. NW) for Mediterranean mezze and Jaleo (480 Seventh St. NW) for Spanish tapas, as well as the newer China Chilcano (418 Seventh St. NW) for Chinese-Peruvian fusion.
He's not the only game in town, though. Former "Top Chef" Mike Isabella's Graffiato (707 Sixth St. NW) focuses on house-made pastas and wood-fired pizzas. For a large menu with something for everyone, there’s the Smith (901 F St. NW), a brasserie import from New York, while pizza and pasta are the name of the game at casual Italian spot Alta Strada (465 K St. NW).
The Daikaya team serves fried chicken and chicken ramen at Bantam King (501 G St. NW), a funky shop in a converted Burger King. For a taste of Chinatown as it once was, try New Big Wong (610 H St. NW), or Chinatown Express (746 Sixth St. NW), where the noodles are made by hand in the front window.
There's no closer bar than the Greene Turtle (601 F St. NW), which has an entrance leading to and from the arena. Happy hour, which includes $3 domestic beers and $4 margaritas and wine, runs from 3 to 6 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. until last call Monday through Thursday. (Happy hour on Friday is two-for-one drinks, but it's only offered from 3 to 6 p.m.)
Also right by the arena doors, Clyde's of Gallery Place (707 Seventh St. NW) has specials at its bars every day from 3 to 6 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., including $5 wines by the glass and $6 draft beers. It's also known for its late-night food menus, offered until 1 a.m., including bar snacks, burgers and the legendary half-price raw bar.
Penn Commons (700 Sixth St. NW) sells its 30-plus draft beers for $5 from 4 p.m. until close every day (and all day Sunday), along with a selection of $5 cocktails. Oyamel has a late-night menu (10 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday) where $4 gets you either a Mexican beer or a pair of authentic tacos.
Texas-inspired Hill Country (410 Seventh St. NW) offers $4 PBR cans, $5 margaritas and sangria, and $20 pitchers of margaritas or Shiner draft beers from 3 to 7 p.m. every day, and from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. There's often free live music, too.
This story has been updated; it was previously published April 14, 2016.