Mug Shots: A Change of Scenery for Happy Hour

Posted March 7, 2008 at 4:00pm

If you’re a staffer, odds are you live on the Hill. And if you live on the Hill, odds are you never leave. It’s easy to fall into the habit of walking to work and then to the bar. With the newest Metro fare hike, who can blame you?

[IMGCAP(1)]But while there’s a comfort in the bar where everybody knows your name, every now and again it’s important to branch out and see some different scenery. So grab your Metro card and check out some of these fun bars. You still won’t have to travel too far.

Chef Geoff’s Downtown (1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) offers a lively bar scene on Monday nights. Young people in suits and pencil skirts fill the area by the wooden bar to indulge in half-priced wine night. The wine list is extensive, featuring several zinfandels, sauvignon blancs, chardonnays and other varietals. The deal runs all night and all the wines on the list are half-priced, so the only limit to which wine you choose or how many glasses you enjoy in a sitting is your own tolerance. In addition to the wine special, Chef Geoffrey Tracy’s full menu is available at the bar, as well as $5 burgers and $8 pizzas during happy hour. If you’re looking to rub elbows with the private sector, this is the place to go.

Daily Grill (1200 18th St. NW) is an old favorite of Mug Shots — she just can’t get enough of the dirty vodka martinis. The restaurant is evocative of the smoky establishments of yesteryear (though, with the recent ban, the bar is smoke-free). Appetizers include fried calamari, popcorn shrimp and mini burgers and are a mere $2.95 during happy hour on weekdays, provided you order at least two drinks. It’s not hard to make the drink minimum considering the $5.50 house martinis and spirits as well as $3.50 Yuenglings and Miller Lites. Happy hour runs from 3 to 7 p.m.

If you happen to be making deals at the White House or chatting up union officials at AFL-CIO and feel a hankering for booze, swing by Georgia Brown’s (950 15th St. NW). This Southern cooking establishment offers $3 house wine and selected half-price appetizers during happy hour. The major bonus here: The house wines are divine. With selections offered from South Africa, you can’t go wrong with a glass of shiraz or chardonnay. In the event that the specially priced appetizers are not to your liking, you can order one of the restaurant’s popular side dishes for the low cost of $5.50. These dishes include maple whipped yams, red rice and — Mug Shots’ personal favorite — macaroni and cheese.

If you’re looking to kill time before a Wizards game or are looking for a place to catch up with friends, check out PS 7’s (777 I St. NW) in Chinatown for a fun lounge scene.

Chef and owner Peter Smith is a veteran of the kitchen at Vidalia and offers some tasty treats for a low fare. During happy hour, which runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m., customers can dine on tuna sliders and wild mushroom spring rolls, both $7, and other creations. Nine different cocktails, including The Wry Manhattan and Vanilla Sidecar, also are available for $7. For those who steer clear of hard liquor, $4 wines-by-the-glass and $2.50 beers also are served.

Next time you leave the Dome and head for a familiar haunt, consider giving your SmarTrip a swipe and exploring life off the Hill.