The most common complaint about Washington’s restaurant scene is the rising price of food and drink. Seven-dollar local craft beers and $12 cocktails have become the norm at some bars, which is why it can feel great to go out for happy hour and pay for your beers with change you found in the bottom of your purse or pocket. Here are five happy hours where you can still get a beer for just $1, but remember: You still need to tip your bartender.
The Bottom Line: A fixture of the after-work Farragut Square bar scene for decades, the Bottom Line's Friday happy hour is one of the cheapest around. From 4 to 7 p.m., bottles of Miller Lite are $1, which rises to $2 from 7 to 9 p.m., and then $3 for the rest of the night. You might not spend all evening in this basement bar, but it's a good place to start. 1716 I St. NW.
Hamilton's: Don't confuse this laid-back “bar and grill” with the fancy music venue near Metro Center. This is a University of Wisconsin alumni hangout, with fried cheese curds and loaded tater tots on the menu. On Fridays, you might as well imagine you're back in college, with $1 Miller Lite and PBR cans from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Pro tip: If you're with a group, ask for a bucket. 233 Second St. NW.
Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club: The dim lighting and odd assortment of paintings and gilded frames on the wall can make Jimmy Valentine's feel like a bar from a David Lynch movie. The north-of-H-Street drinking den is one of the coolest places to drink in the neighborhood, and it's also surprisingly affordable on weekends: PBR tallboys are $1 each from 8 to 9 p.m. on Friday nights, with the price increasing $1 every hour until midnight. You'll probably wind up staying longer than you expect, but it's still cheap. 1103 Bladensburg Rd. NE.
The Madhatter: When a bar holds a weekly “University Night,” you know it must serve the budget-conscious. And the Madhatter, known for its weekend DJ parties as well as weeknight happy hours, doesn't hold back. University Night on Wednesdays features $2 Coors Light and $4 Stoli drinks, but it's Thursdays when things get really cheap: $1 mugs of Miller Lite from 8 p.m. until close. The handled mugs are only about 10 ounces, but that's enough. Want to class it up? Makers Mark bourbon is $5 all night. 1319 Connecticut Ave. NW.
The Red Derby: There are plenty of craft beers to choose from on the Red Derby's cans-only menu — Bell's, 21st Amendment, Uinta, 3 Stars — but some of the most popular fall under the heading of “Your Old Man's Beer”: Stroh's, Natty Boh and pony bottles of Budweiser are $2; PBR, Miller High Life and Miller Lite are $1 more. From 5 to 8 p.m. every day and all night on Thursdays, every drink at the Derby is $1 off, meaning you'll pay $1 or $2 for these retro choices while playing Trivial Pursuit, or just hanging out on the rooftop deck. 3718 14th St. NW.