Tired of paying $30 plus tax and tip for two measly cocktails at D.C. bars? Join the club.
But it doesn't have to be that way: An increasing number of bars have opened this year with prices that are decidedly lower than average. The next time you'd like to hit the town for a few drinks without breaking the bank, try one of these six bars, which offer cocktails for $10 or less outside of happy hour.
There are only four cocktails on the menu at the 801 bar on Florida Ave. NW, and they're all better suited for sipping poolside at the beach than on a cold evening in Shaw. But when you're paying only $9 for an Eastern Shore-quality Orange Crush (Stoli Ohranj, fresh orange juice, triple sec and Sprite), or $10 for a margarita with a touch of Bayou Satsuma rum, you'll have a few more bucks stashed away for your next weekend in Rehoboth or Dewey. 801 Florida Ave. NW. 801dc.com.
All Souls Bar
All Souls, a one-room neighborhood bar at the corner of Eighth and T streets NW, is enough off the beaten path that it's comfortable even on nights when U Street and the rest of Shaw are heaving. Former Jaleo bartender David Batista keeps the cocktail list simple: Each drink has a number, not a name, and they're all $9, even when the ingredients are high-end. Batista's Perfect Manhattan, for example, uses Maker's 46 and sweet and dry Dolin Vermouth. (The lone exception to both rules is the All Souls, a shot of neat Makers and a glass of sparkling rose for $11.) 725 T St. NW. allsoulsbar.com.
When Bar Charley opened in 2013, co-owner Gordon Banks sought to make quality cocktails while keeping price points low. More than three years later, that's still the case: Mai Tais and other tiki drinks flow from the Dupont bar's taps for $8.95, or just $5 during happy hour, which is all night on Mondays and until 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. A list of “Old School drinks,” such as an Old Fashioned and Sazerac, are $9.95 outside of happy hour, when they're knocked down to $6. The wallet-friendly pricing continues throughout the menu: Of the 15 selections on the Manhattans and Variations list, nine of them cost $10. 1825 18th St. NW. barcharley.com.
This U Street bar, which opened in October, was created by three bar veterans. Mixologists Chad Spangler and Glendon Hartley created cocktail programs for Provision 14, Ocopa and the forthcoming Pamplona in Arlington. Chris Willoughby owned U Street hotspots Jin and Mango's. They've got consumers in mind: The first page of the cocktail menu is an “All Day” happy hour, so you'll pay $7 for your choice of a Tanqueray Tom Collins, a Cana Brava Daiquiri, a very drinkable Old Fashioned, a Mint Julep or a shot of Wild Turkey and a 7-ounce pony bottle of Rolling Rock. There are around 30 other cocktails on the menu, most of which are in the $11-$12 range. Don't overlook the $9 Floridian (tequila, Luxardo Maraschino, lemon) and Agricollins (Rhum Agricole, cane sugar, lime, soda). 928 U St. NW. servicebardc.com.
Ten Tigers Parlour
Chef Tim Ma's Asian street food is probably going to be the draw at Ten Tigers Parlour, the replacement for Chez Billy that's scheduled to open on Saturday in Petworth. But there's a shortlist of themed cocktails, including the Canton Alley (Four Roses bourbon, ginger liqueur, black vinegar and grapefruit juice) and the Mekhong Manhattan (Mekhong Thai whiskey, sweet vermouth, honey and bitters), for $10. 3813 Georgia Ave. NW. tentigersdc.com.
The chalkboard menu at this cozy new Park View bar includes seven cocktails, with the New Orleans classic A la Louisiane (Pikesville Rye, Dolin Rouge, Benedictine, Peychaud's bitters) and the floral Whitney (Ford's Gin, Suze and Dolin Blanc) at the top of the recommendations. All cocktails are $9. The price falls to $7 from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 3216 Georgia Ave. NW. uniondrinkery.com.