Sure Capitol Hill bars have a pool of young, social, and thirsty clientele just waiting until last votes end and the pouring begins. But each spot knows it needs a good happy hour special to keep the regulars happy--whether they be young or old, Republican or Democrat, House or Senate--as well as attract newcomers.
Here's a rundown of what to expect from your favorite watering hole this recess.
Capitol Lounge has been a bit of sausage party lately. A bartender told the Alley that every Wednesday for the past month the bar has been almost solidly male. "Maybe one girl for every 20 guys," she said. But specials like $12 pitchers after congressional softball games on Thursdays attract what is generally a younger, sports-minded, co-ed crowd.
Bullfeathers continues to attract a GOP-heavy crowd. Located right under the National Rifle Association offices, the spot has remained popular among House Republicans despite RNC political director Rick Wiley's Twitter call last fall. Nats fans can find specials two hours before and one hour after every home game: $3 Budweiser, Bud Light and Shock Top, $4 rail drinks and $3 house wine.
Tortilla Coast is typically a favorite among younger staffers both for its convenient House-side location and the tasty frozen concoctions it serves up. Dinnertime draws an older and more diverse crowd, but bartenders say the frozen margaritas are most popular--especially when they go for $6 during the early weekday 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. happy hours.
Pennsylvania Ave. House side
Sonoma has straddled the line between wine bar and fine dining since opening on Pennsylvania Avenue 7 years ago. Both tend to attract an older crowd, though the loud music upstairs lounge draws in the 20-somethings. The restaurant amped its wine selection last year when it hired a new wine manager trained at pairing flights and Californian wines with Italian dishes. Many bar managers will tell you D.C. is a beer town, but Sonoma continues to prove that it also has a taste for wine. Happy hour lasts from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and includes house wine, sparkling wine, craft beer and spritzers for 5 bucks.
Pour House sees its biggest crowd during football season, and the traffic absorbed from Hawk 'N Dove's closing last fall brought an additional bump in stool traffic. But management at the Pour House said most of the old bar's clientele has moved to other areas like H Sreet while the Pour House continues to draw in sports fans and young staffers. Specials include $3 pints and $12 pitchers of Yuengling on Thursdays.
Tune Inn or, Tune Inn 2.0 as it should probably be called, has come back shinier and more popular than ever after rebuilding from a catastrophic fire last June. The fried-food-friendly bar reopened in early November 2011 and the regulars--veterans, truck drivers, staffers, and Congress members--all loyally returned. News of the fire as well as Tune Inn's appearance on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" with Guy Fieri" has added a new cohort to the batch of regulars: tourists. The Tune Inn doesn't need a happy hour. Draft beers are always priced around $3.