Happy Hour with Fritz Hahn

Aug 16, 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. A few things to note before the questions: 

You've been to fast-casual restaurants for lunch. But have you ever considered them for happy hour? The $5 tamarind margarita at Rasa is worth it. 

I took a dive into D.C.'s cider scene, including big news about Anxo's expansion. 

Don't miss our guides to can't-miss Restaurant Week meals and spectacular D.C. gardens

Looking for a place to grab a bite before an overnight flight tomorrow. Child friendly and near Udvar Hazy a plus. Please help! Thank you.

I really like the branch of Foster's Grille in Chantilly, on 28 a few miles north of I-66 (and just south of IAD and Udvar Hazy). I put it in my list of the area's most underrated bars in 2016, based on the strength of its local craft beer selection. It's a great burger joint, where you'll find couples on dates and little leaguers getting food after practice. 

You missed Taqueria Local, on Farragut Square, which has $3 Corona and $6 Margaritas after 4 p.m.

We did consider it, honestly, but the tacos have been a bit meh when I've gotten lunch there. If you need a taco and a Corona for a total of $5 after work, it might work -- but I'd rather go to Taco Bamba.

I'm going to The Giz Sunday evening. But I haven't been to National Harbor since some of the gathering rooms still had unfinished ceilings. Where do I park? Is there a good GPS address for a garage or a lot? Why the HECK do places not make such information completely OBVIOUS on their websites? How much will I have to pay to park there and if it is a lot, is there street parking anywhere else that is walkable? Thanks. It was easier to find out that backpacks are not allowed, than to figure out how to get there. I don't suppose public transportation from downtown DC and back to western end of the redline is possible on a Sunday night, is it?

First: Public transportation outside of prime time can be tough - it's a 35 minute bus ride from Southern Avenue station to MGM.

The good news is that parking at MGM is still free, as long as you don't use valet. There are thousands of parking spaces under the casino. (Granted, "The Giz" could sell out.) 

Finally, the address I have saved in my phone, thanks to a botched rideshare pickup, is 100 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill, which will take you past a garage. 

One of my constant frustrations with the DC bar scene is the lack of good sports bars - as in bars that have numerous quality TVs (RIP Prospect), reasonably priced good bar food, and good service. I have yet to find a bar that has all three. With football around the corner, any suggestions on bars that meet these criteria?

This is a commopn problem -- I want a place where I can see multiple TVs, eat good food and drink decent beer, and it seems like you always have to compromise on at least one aspect. 

The basement of Meridian Pint has been a serviceable option for years: Plenty of TVs, labeled with what games they'll be showing; great beer; good bar food -- the trays of nachos are a good deal. But you have to get there early if you don't want to stand for a couple hours. 

First Down in Ballston is another I like - dozens of wing varieties and plenty of flatscreens that can be seen from most parts of the dining room, though you have to compromise if you're at the bar. 

Franklin Hall, in the Manhattan Laundry north of U, could use more TVs, but the food is decent and there's usually plenty of room. 

More common is the situation at places like G.O.A.T. in Clarendon: Lots of TVs, but the food is mediocre and $18 for three sliders and a side of fries.

What are the must go events this year? Any beers in particular to look for at various events? Also, any recommendations for restaurant week deals at places with good beer lists? Thanks!

So my story about DC Beer Week ran in Express today, but it's not online until tomorrow. (Subtle message: Pick up a print edition!)

This is shaping up to be the year of the Lager, starting with Lager Fest on Sunday at City Winery's rooftop deck, where you can try lagers and pilsners from more than two dozen breweries, including Port City's new unfiltered Franconian Pilsner. 

The official beer of DC Beer Week, a collaboration between 10 different breweries made at Atlas and available throughout DC Beer Week is ... Solidarity Pilsner. (Sensing a theme here?)

Many of the events have a familiar ring to them: The cask ale night at District Chophouse, the Brewers on the Block festival with dozens of local beers on tap outside Union Market, DC Brau's crab feast at Quarterdeck, the barrel-aged beer battle at Boundary Stone, Pizzeria Paradiso tapping super-fresh local beers, ChurchKey's putting 55 local beers on tap ... 

But I like the sound of a panel discussion with label artists and designers at Heurich House on Tuesday; Meridian Pint tapping beers from new-ish Maryland breweries on Wednesday; Craft Beer trivia on Friday at Glen's Garden Market; and for those who don't make it down to Richmond, two big RVA brewery events with the Veil on the Sovereign on Monday, and Meridian Pint hosting the official DC launch of Triple Crossing on Thursday. (Yes, you've probably seen TC on tap at ChurchKey, but it's going to be available more widely in the market from now on.)

I've enjoyed Biergarten Haus on H Street for NFL season. Lots of TVs if you head to the back room, food is solid (but not wings), staff is friendly and has never minded me hanging out to watch games.

Yes, especially if you can get a seat outside near one or two TVs. Perfect place to enjoy fall. But it's not for people who want to follow 3-4 games at once.

Is it worthwhile to purchase a VIP ticket to Snallygaster? How many of the beers are kicked before general admission?

Not many beers kicked before the gates opened last year. (I was looking for them, but someone correct me if I'm wrong.) 

The real bonus for VIP admission was not having to wait in long lines to get the Hill Farmstead/Suarez/Other Half beers. Those lines were *crazy* once the gates opened, and before Hunhapu and Florence and Arthur kicked. 

Any word on Ocelot's former brewmaster Mike McCArthy's new operation out in Winchester, Va? Curious to see what may come about with that and what it doest to the beer scene in that area (is there a beer scene?)

We've got time -- Vibrissa is not going to be ready until "Winter 2018."

That's it for today. See in two weeks, when we'll be looking forward to Labor Day. (Man, WHERE did the summer go?)

PostPoints code is HH4624

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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.
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