The after work happy hour is a DC institution as sacred as any Smithsonian. In a city packed with people who take their work very seriously, it is a relief to know that locals are just as easy to relax off duty. Practically every restaurant or bar in town offers up a happy hour menu with special prices or items, but it can be tough for a newbie to navigate the many options available. Here are Buzzuto’s DC happy hour picks by neighborhood.

Dupont Circle: The Big Hunt, 1345 Connecticut
The Big Hunt’s punky state of disrepair may seem off-putting at first, but the dim lights, arcade games and psychedelic circus décor are not without their charms. Depending on the day, you could be in store for a cheap plate of wings, discounted brews or burritos, and, if the weather is nice, a table on one of the best rooftops in town.

West End: Recessions, 1823 L St. NW
Recessions is an easy-to-miss underground haven that looks like a 1970s basement. Locals love it for its embrace of the low-brow, pool table and darts, and cheap King-Kong sized beers on tap.

Chinatown: VAPIANO, 623 H St. NW
This sleek Italian cafeteria style chain offers a variety of eats to accompany your beverage, with the added bonus that their scanned cards payment system means no awkwardly splitting checks when you’re out with a group.

Metro Center: Chef Geoff’s, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
This dialed-down classy spot is a good option for those who want to catch up with old friends or foodies who crave appetizers with a twist.

Think we missed a great happy hour in the DC area that should have made the list? Tell us in the comments below!


Natalie Shure is a freelance writer in Washington, DC. She co-writes the local blog Broads of the Beltway.