Dear PoPville – So Where Can I Get a Reasonably Priced Drink?

Dear PoPville,

I was reading the recent ‘Judging Bars’ article and comments. At one point someone asked ‘ Where do you cheap bastards find beers for less than $5, and mixed drinks for less than $10?’, and it spawned a flurry of responses.

My question is would you be so kind to pose a similar question so readers can share which bars they get the best bang for their buck at and why? DC is full of all kinds of bars that many people never wander into and a new resident myself loves finding out about the off the beaten path places that the locals know about.

DC Reynolds has a pretty sweet happy hour at 3628 Georgia Ave, NW:

Monday-Friday, 5-9pm
ANY drink, buy one, get one free!
Yes, every weekday”

Where do you guys recommend?

89 Comment

  • Pearl Dive has an awesome happy hour though it does get crowded

  • Mandu’s happy hour has $3 drafts and $4 Sojutinis (which are AMAZING) every weekday from 4-7, I believe. Their brunch also has $4 Soju bloody mary’s and $4 Sojutinis.

    Looking Glass and Red Derby both have beer and a shot combos for $5 which are both good fun and good value.

  • Town Hall in College Park. 🙂

  • Fox & Hound… Bottom Line… Solly’s… the Pug… Lucky Bar

    • This, plus…Trusty’s.

    • fox and hound was great 20 years ago when it just smelled.Now it’s like friggen CSI Egypt.You will contract a disease upon entrance and lord help you if you actually decide to use the restroom.

  • Go get a glass of vodka/gin at Stan’s, but avoid the food unless you want to commit seppuku by grease.

  • Sidebar in Silver Spring has $6 cocktails (housemade ingredients, mixed with care) for happy hour Monday-Saturday from 5-7p.

  • DC Reynolds, DC Reynolds, DC Reynolds. And their beers (decent, mostly local selection) are $5/pint regular price.

    If you want to check out more places nearby, there are 2 other joints on the same block – Blue Banana has a couple $4 everything nights every week, I think, and Looking Glass Lounge has cheap rails & beers for happy hour. They’re each a bit different from one another but I’m glad to have all of them in my neighborhood.

    • Rockville is DUI city! Be ware. I went up there a few months ago and Dave & Busters was dead. i asked the Bartender what was up and he said all of his customers were pulled over and that it’s killed business.

      • That was my thought. Whatever you might save on drinks by heading to the suburbs you’ll more than make up on cab fare.

        • Depends. I just take the S line or metro up and back to Silver Spring sometimes. Heck, getting to H Street is a lot harder/longer or more expensive (cab) than *some* areas on the other side of the DC line. Can’t speak to D&B, though. Haven’t been there since I was a kid (people go there for the bar?).

    • Do you mean Hank Dietel’s Tavern?

  • Bring a flask, buy two beers at most… Been doing this for years..

    /don’t let wreckless consumers judge you.

    • I used to do that. 🙂

      Also, if you’re a girl you can easily get a guy to buy a drink for you. Just be sure to stop after one or two drinks (especially if he doesn’t seem too interested in your conversational skills) or else he’ll be expecting something in return. And of course keep an eye on that drink at all times, even if he seems nice.

      • That only works if you’re hot.

        • Nah, I’m not hot but I always get drink offers. You just have to appear approachable– you don’t have to flirt, but don’t look like you’re ready to bitch out the first guy that talks to you.

    • BOOM! I do this occasionally when i want to save a few bones

    • Yep I have been doing the flask thing lately, or taking refilled minis.

    • Get $250K-per-year guy to buy you a drink. But don’t call him Rich.

      • Yeah, but he’ll manage to find a place that sells $25 drinks and complain that he can’t afford to buy you more than one.

  • Happy hour at Pizzeria Paradiso, Tuesday & Wednesday, 5-7, 1/2 drafts (bar only). Iron Horse $2 off drafts 5-8pm everyday. District Chophouse, $3.50 drafts 3-7 weekdays. For latenight, Smoke and Barrel reverse happy hour starting at 10 on Fri and Sat, $1 off drafts each hour. ‘Beermergency’ at Meridian Pint on Tuesdays, 12 drafts priced at $3 from 11 until they run out.

  • Derby, Raven, Velvet.

  • goaldigger

    Iron Horse Taproom’s Happy Hour Specials

    Monday – Friday 4pm to 8pm
    Sat. and Sun. 5pm to 8 pm

    $2 off all regular draft beer prices (normally $5-$8). They have nice assortment of craft beer vs old man beers in a can
    $5 rail drinks

    • +1

      Happy hour til 8 with a lot of good beers for $4 is excellent.

    • You don’t know beer if you make a statement like old man beers in can..Chrisssakes most decent bars in the city carry cans now places like red derby have 60 different kinds. iron horse is pretty so so as bars go and an 8 dollar draft -2 for HH is still $6.60 that’s 7.

  • I know it’s currently “on vacation,” but Radius in Mt. P has their pint/slice happy hour combo for $5. Awesome deal.

  • Locolat at Florida & 18th has half price beers from 5-7 Tuesday and Wednesday. Nothing on tap, but a good selection of Belgians in bottles. And they also carry DC Brau’s Citizen in cans, regular $5, $2.50 on HH. A decent sidewalk patio adds to the appeal.

  • -Local 16 has a $5 anything happy hour.
    -El centro has VERY strong $4 margaritas at happy hour. Seriously, I am by no means a lightweight, but am usually good to go after one of these.
    -Zabb across the street from Mandu has $3 beer and appetizers during happy hour (theirs goes until 8 pm)

    And although it can get fratty and annoying, Front Page on New Hampshire in Dupont has $3 house wine during happy hour, which is the cheapest wine special I have ever seen in this city.

  • Derby. Or just drive to sterling.

    • Where are the cheap drinks in Sterling?

    • I second this. $5 strohs + shot of jack/jameson/jose combo. $7 to get a Schlitz tall boy instead of a Strohs. They have a wide variety of beers… all in cans but cheap. Nice rooftop deck too.

  • Back when i had a social life, we used to drink for nearly free all over the city. You just need to make investments in getting to know bartenders and then they will hook you up and you give them large tips. Is this not still the formula?

    • it’s still the formula… go to your regular spots, tip well and start watching the freebies flow in

    • It certainly is if you drink that way, but these days it seems people don’t have a local they hang out in. It’s always people on the move looking for that new trendy place that makes you wait in line for 2 hours.

      I never understood it myself, but I suppose some people enjoy that sort of thing. I vastly prefer knowing that I will know most of the people in the bar, and especially like having all my drinks rung up as happy hour PBRs.

    • thebear

      It depends on the establishment. Some places have management that either puts extremely strict limits on giving freebies, or don’t allow them at all, and can bartenders who don’t obey. Probably fear of liability on top of just being greedy.

  • DC Reynolds is awful. Don’t go there.

    /me sneaks off to patio @ DC Reynolds

  • Justin’s near Nats Park. $3 draft beers from 4-6, $4 beers from 6-7. $4 and $5 for rails. And their beer is well selected – usually Oberon, Elliot Ness, Racer 5 and Scrimshaw Pils.

  • best bang for your buck as per cocktails: Stan’s. Hands down. DC institution that is frequented mostly by those who are either from the area or have lived here for 25 + years…. be warned.

  • Haven’t been there in awhile, but Lia’s in Friendship Heights has a good happy hour. Kitty O’Shea’s in Tenleytown, too.

  • mtpgal

    I know, I know what you’re allllll going to say. But. Ruby Tuesday in Columbia Heights has one of the best happy hours. It’s really cheap, the bar stools are comfy and pretty much always available, and if you want to rub elbows with a cross section of DC that’s the place. When we’re trying to pinch our pennies the husband and I head over there and we see or hear something interesting from our fellow patrons.

    • I agree 100% about Ruby Tuesday. It’s a great place with a great crowd at the bar. Their HH is great, but even their non-HH prices are great. Beer is less than $4 most of the time. Also, its a bonus that they do a reverse HH after 9PM. There will be people who will hate this suggestion under the guise of “authenticity” though. Sigh…It’s a shame, b.c. its a great place to chill.

  • Cheapest drink prices (regular prices, not just happy hour) I’ve seen recently were at the Big Hunt in Dupont – I think a gin and tonic cost me $5. As jjdarling mentioned, the happy hour drinks at Mandu are a really good deal (particularly the $4 Sojutinis for those of us who don’t drink beer).

    • Gah! I knew I was forgetting a cheap place… Yep, Big Hunt should definitely should be mentioned. Awful bathrooms though.

  • tterrag

    Hot N Juicy Crawfish at 2651 Connecticut Ave, NW
    Happy hour Monday-Wednesday, all day
    $1 any beer

    Zabb at 1836 18th St, NW
    Happy hour Monday-Sunday, 3-8p
    $2.50 Sake, Singha Beer, Kirin Light Beer
    $5 House wine
    $3 Appetizers
    $6 Maki (rolls)

    I also second the happy hours at DC Reynolds and Mandu.

  • orderedchaos

    The DC Happy Hours website is a good resource. Not always 100% accurate and comprehensive, but a simple, searchable database:

  • I recommend buying a six-pack and sitting on your front porch and chatting up your neighbors. Cheap and cheerful!

    • I’m shocked it took someone this long to mention porch drinking! I should just start inviting people to my porch for beers and charging $2/beer 🙂

  • The Heights has a good happy hour from 4-7 – cocktails $4.50 and lots of good reduced-price appetizers (“small plates” without the attitude – even a burger.) At the bar, or the communal tables – one inside, one on the patio.

    Also Acre 121 – which by the way – has Bob Perilla & Big Hillbilly Bluegrass playing tomorrow night! No need to trek to Madam’s Organ!

  • Don’t forget gallery openings! There’s always free wine!

  • As much as I hate leaving the District, Mister Days in Clarendon has the best happy hour I have ever heard of. $2 for all of their drafts –microbrews, Guinness, Shocktop, etc–and a $3 food menu that has full size portions of things like nachos, mozzarella sticks, and wings.

    • Looney’s in College Park has $3 drafts after 2:00. Plus, half price appetizers and hot college girl bartenders.

  • An off-beat choice but i’ll put it out there:
    Bistro Cacao on Mass Ave NE – $4-5 premium beer and wine EVERY day from 4-7 and half price cheese/charcuterie plates. On a nice day, they have one of the most pleasant front patios on earth.

    Any other Capitol Hill/H st suggestions?

    • Nice! I love Bistro Cacao but didn’t know about their happy hour.

      The only Capitol Hill spot I can recommend for cheap drinks is Phase One. My usual vodka soda is $4. Usually they have drink specials that are an even better deal. But they do charge a cover Fridays and Saturdays and you have to be in the mood to be around a bunch of lesbians.

    • Argonaut has pitchers of Longhammer IPA for $12 at all times.

    • Cafe Toscana on the Hill right behind the SEC has a good happy hour. The beer and wine choices are limited, but ok. Best deal are the half price appetizers and $5 individual pizzas though.

    • msmaryedith

      For H St, Smith Commons has a good happy hour on the second floor–$5 for most drafts, select wines, and select cocktails. $2 off small plates. It’s 5-7 Tues-Sat, 3-7 Sun, and 5-close Mon. Had a great time hanging out on their patio last night! H St Country Club and Red Palace both have good deals 5-8, and Jimmy’s has $1 PBR Tallboys on Friday nights from 8 pm (price goes up $1 every hour til midnight).

      On the Hill, Sonoma’s is good ($5 cocktails/wine and $3 beers)

  • Used to be Toledo Lounge had $3 beers until 8 pm (was $2 back in the day!). But they are under new management now and I hear those heady days are long gone.

    • There is nothing cool about Toledo Lounge anymore. The new owners pretty much killed everything that was great about that place. It’s always empty when I walk by.

      • That place was a dump. Average draft selection and some of the worst fries I’ve had in town. That surly bartender Tom was a drag too. I’ve not been by since the remodeling. It still looks too much the same.

  • Derby has one dollar beers til 8pm with tax included that’s about as cheap as I’ve seen.

  • Zabb on 18th and T had $2 beers and sake until 8 p.m.

  • Derby. Definitely; the Red Derby.

  • The Spot, on Barracks Row. My buddy Nick Stefanos always hooks me up when he’s tending bar there. And he plays great music on the bar’s stereo!

  • I am so bookmarking this page for future happy hour planning purposes…

  • Southern Hospitality in Adams Morgan has a great happy hour with daily $4 drafts, $5 wine & $6 rails, plus 1/2 price wine bottles on Monday night. Their bartenders are pretty awesome too!

  • I recently had a pbr and jager for $4.92 at the mellow mushroom. Alas, it was the MM in Phoenix.

  • Angles in Adams Morgan

  • The Getaway has $2 tall boys of Rolling Rock and PBR from 5-7 weekdays and Sunday from 5 til close.

  • The Bottom Line on Fridays $1 Miller light till 7 then they got to $2 till 9 then back to $1 at 11. and $3 dollar rails (mind you the rails are tiny)

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