Happy hour is Washington’s most beloved pastime. D.C.’s myriad staffers, interns, and legislators converge after work to unwind, enjoy the company of their peers, and just get really hammered in general. Out of a job because of the government shutdown? Don’t fear, there are bars and restaurants here to take care of you until whoever the hell is running this government gets their act together.
Here is a list of the bars and restaurants taking the best care of the thousands of government workers currently locked out of their D.C. jobs.
1. Tortilla Coast
A favorite location for hill staffers to converge on after a happy hour in one of the House office buildings is Tortilla Coast, located right outside of the Capitol South metro stop. Both the Capitol South and Logan Circle locations will be serving $6 frozen margaritas, drafts under $4, and cheap appetizers. Watch out for young interns looking to network; they like to get aggressive!
2. Madam's Organ
One of my favorite live music bars is Madam’s Organ on 18th street in Adams Morgan. This lively restaurant and blues nightclub, a play on words from its location in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, offered half-priced food and free drinks on the house until 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Hopefully they will get the memo that Congress is helpless to resolve this shutdown, and keep the specials going all week long.
3. Capitol Lounge
Nonessential government workers, especially Hill staffers, should up Independence Ave to Capitol Lounge. A favorite of “hillterns,” Capitol Lounge is a great after-work bar with awesome drink and food specials. The self-proclaimed “bar everyone can agree on” served their usual 25 cent wings on Tuesday, while also giving away free beer to anyone with a valid government ID. Keep your eyes open for shutdown specials to continue throughout the week.
4. Glen's Garden Market
Drinking in upscale markets is becoming more and more acceptable across the U.S. Glen’s Garden Market in Dupont is holding a weeklong “Snark & Sarcasm #Shutdown2013 Party” for all furloughed government workers. The first round is on Glen between 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. After that, local taps are just $4 into the evening.
5. Kramerbooks & Afterwords
For those who like to cuddle up and read a new book with their double whiskey, Kramerbooks is the place to go. Their independent bookstore-café-patio atmosphere is great for the reading enthusiast. Furloughed government employees looking to try something new should head over to Kramerbooks & Afterwords just off Dupont Circle for $5 beer, rail drinks, and house wines from opening to close. Members of Congress must pay double.
6. Hill Country Barbecue
Hill Country has some good looking food and drink specials. Those who bring a valid government id can get $3 PBRs, $5 well drinks and shots, and $20 margarita pitchers all day long. Hill Country is a great country bar downtown that regularly features live performances.
7. Kangaroo Boxing Club
This week Kangaroo Boxing Club is living by one motto, and one motto only: “If the government is screwing you, you might as well get $3 screwdrivers.” This week KBC is opening at 12 noon, and will honor their $3 screwdriver promise until 5 p.m. Patrons who show their federal ID will have their first drink served on the house.
Urbana is just taunting lawmakers to keep the government shutdown. The longer the shutdown remains in place, the longer Urbana will extend their happy hours each day. Drink specials went until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, and will continue an hour later each day until 12 p.m. Some of their happy hour specials include $7 cocktails, $6 glasses of fine wine, and cheap bar appetizers that include $1 oysters.
9. Thomas Foolery
Thomas Foolery isn’t messing around this week. They are continuing to throw what they call an “angry hour,” a rich happy hour tradition. Fun is a central theme at Thomas Foolery, but that doesn’t mean you have to be all sprightly to gain access to their taps. Order your drink in an angry voice between 5 and 7 p.m., and you’ll save $1.
Marvin, a multi-level bar and restaurant at 14th and U, is my #1 place to be during this shutdown. The upstairs patio opens at 12 noon, and each day the government stays closed Marvin will open with a new DJ at 1 p.m. so you can dance on into the early evening. They also have a tiered system for drinks – from 12-1 p.m. Stella draft beers will cost you $1, from 1 p.m. -2 p.m. $2, from 3 p.m.-4 p.m. $3, and so on. Bring government id, and the Stellas are $4 all night long. This is how it went down on Tuesday, and Marvin hopes they can continue to serve the people as long as Congress refuses to.
It’s really great to see the restaurant and bar owners of this once-proud city opening their doors early and inviting the downtrodden government employees to their establishments with open arms. Not only are owners providing cheap drinks and a social environment, there are also a ton of food specials throughout the city for government employees looking for healthy nourishment. Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken is throwing in a free donut with the purchase of any donut or chicken meal for those with a government ID.
Check out more great food deals at Z Burger, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Sprinkles cupcakes, Pork Barrel BBQ, Range, Nando’s Peri-Peri, and free Jose Andres sandwiches between 3-5 p.m. until government reopens. While the government shutdown is financially painful and certainly unenjoyable, hopefully this list of fun social gatherings can help make it bearable.
Follow Alexander on Twitter: @AlexdeAvilaCA.