Happy Hour with Fritz Hahn

Jun 21, 2018

Every other Thursday, Washington Post Weekend and Food reporter Fritz Hahn discusses happy hours, new cocktail destinations, local beers, date ideas and the late-night scene. Of course, he's also happy to talk about staples of the old Got Plans chats, such as weekend getaways, brunch spots, new exhibits and other ways to have fun in the Washington D.C. area.

Hi everyone. So sorry for running a few minutes late. Before we get started: If you haven't already, check out our latest GOG project: 24 Dishes That Shaped Dining in D.C. Lavanya and I went all the way to the beginning of the 19th Century with this one. 

Also: This weekend has a Barbecue Battle, a Crab Cake Cookoff AND a Taco Throwdown!

Thanks for an entertaining and informative article. I'm wondering why you chose to write about oysters and not Chesapeake Bay crabs?

Glad you enjoyed it. I'd say that oysters, because of their ease of preparation and slurping, became a much more popular dish in D.C. than crabs ever have. Going back over old menus from the 1800s and early 1900s, you find oysters up there with terrapin stew and other delicacies. (Most of the early crab mentions I found in DC were soups, not bushels of steamed crabs.)

Hi Fritz! Are there any good outdoor / waterfront spots with happy hour near the park on game days? I'm heading down for the game tonight and most of the spots (Salt Line, All Purpose) don't run happy hour. I'm thinking about checking out Due South Dockside and Morini Piccolo, but they don't seem to have menus posted. I'm not a beer person, so Bluejacket et al are out. Thanks!

Due South would be a good choice - $6 wines and mixed "and" drinks (vodka and soda, gin and tonic, etc.) until 6:30. 

Whaley's, last time I was there, was $7 wines and cocktails - they had a really nice rose that went well with $1 oysters.

Hi Fritz, I'm looking for some easy-to-do-at-home mocktails that are more than just mixing some fruit juice combination and seltzer but don't require ingredients/tools I can't get from my local grocery or liquor store. I'm thinking one punch and one poured mocktail. Bonus if they actually resemble a real cocktail. Can you point me to any resources please? Thanks!

 I've got just the thing: A few years ago, my editors talked me into writing about my annual Dry January hiatus from drinking. I included a series of tromp l'oeil cocktails by bartender Jon Harris (then of Firefly, late of the Commons Club in Chicago), which actually remarkably similar to gin and tonic or an Old Fashioned. Then we got him to come to the Post's video studio and make them for us on camera.

My friends and I enjoy bars with a water view, but we’re tired of the places in Georgetown and the Southwest Waterfront. Can you recommend some that don’t require a drive all the way out to Annapolis? Related question, why are there so few waterfront bars in D.C.?

Well, you've listed two of the three potential neighborhoods - the other would be Yards Park, where Whaley's Rose Garden, District Winery, and Due South Dockside all have views of the Anacostia. 

Leaving D.C., you can take a water taxi to Alexandria, then have drinks at Blackwall Hitch or the cool little dockside bar at Vola's Dockside Grill. Further up the Potomac, there's McCloone's Pier House at National Harbor, or Jose Andres' Fish at the MGM Casino. 

And if you're up for a drive, it's not too far to Proud Mary, a dockside tiki bar with live music at the Fort Washington Marina.

As to why there's not much on the water, that's easy: Most of the waterfront in D.C. proper, at least on the Potomac shore, is owned by the government: the C&O Canal park, the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Memorial, East Potomac Park and so on. They're not really inclined to open waterfront bars there. 

You'd have more luck on the Anacostia: While Anacostia Park takes up the bank across from the Navy Yard, there's an interesting little stretch north of the Sousa Bridge, home to the Seafarers Yacht Club, a rowing club and some railroad tracks, where someone could, theoretically, do something cool.

Looking to celebrate a birthday with coworkers (who are also friends) with a decent margarita during a weekday happy hour. Not trying to break the bank and would like to sit outside if possible!

Happy hour margaritas outside - that sounds lovely right now. The margaritas at El Rey on U Street are pretty good, and only $6 at happy hour. Georgetown's El Centro has a pretty nice back patio and $5 margaritas from 3 to 7, in case you feel like skipping work a little early. 

El Chucho in Columbia Heights is a "but" option: It's not always easy to score seats on the roof. BUT, if you can get them, I would: Delicious margaritas, and only $5.50 at happy hour, and all-night Mondays. 

Triple craft burger bar in the Washington Sailing Marina and the cafe at the Columbia Island Marina are two low profile ways to drink on the water that are also a bit off the beaten path

I have mixed feelings about Triple Craft, to be honest with you: Both Holley Simmons and I went last year when it opened, and outside of the views, thought the experience (food, drinks, service) was kinda meh.

I have not been to Columbia Island in ages, though - probably since it was offering live music and barbecue a decade ago. Worth checking out?

Fritz, colleague from NYC is here next week and loves blue and jazz. Can you recommend some spots or shows I might have missed? I already sent him details on the Hamilton's Sunday show, jazz at the Tabard and the blues Mondays and Jazz Fridays in SW. We're looking for shows that start early evening and wrap up before 10 as he has to metro all the way back to the exurbs to get to his hotel. Decent food and drink would be good. And has to be metro accessible and in DC or MD. Thanks!

I'd add a few more:

Sotto has become a very reliable destination on weeknights, and its 14th Street location makes it very easy for a bar crawl. Omrao Brown, formerly of Bohemian Caverns, has done a fantastic job booking the acts there. 

Mr. Henry's on Capitol Hill has great burgers, a fantastic jam session run by trumpet player Herb Scott on Wednesdays, and weekend showcases with Kevin Cordt, Julia Nixon and other local talents.

JoJo is, to me, better than Twins for jazz on U these days, though they've started turning tables after two hours on weekends. Maybe easier if you're going midweek?

I wrote a story about the quasi-revival of D.C.'s jazz scene a few months ago, which might be helpful.

Triple Craft is good for the views but by no means a dining destination. I recall Columbia Island being sorta similar to East Potomac's food/beer options where if you're good with something basic and a pitcher of decent priced beer than that's all you need. It's been awhile since i've been there but at least it's close to the water and presumably away from the crowds.

Yeah, that makes sense: Columbia Island, like East Potomac Park and most of the National Park Service facilities, is run by Guest Services, and their fare is pretty run-of-the-mill. But I remember the beer being cheap, even by mid-2000s standards! Will put that on my to-do list.

Okay, that's going to do it for this week. See you back here in two weeks, when we'll all hopefully be recovering from a festive Independence Day. See you then. 

PS: Post Points code is HH4620

In This Chat
Fritz Hahn
Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes.
Recent Chats
  • Next: