Happy Hour with Fritz Hahn

Dec 06, 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. Happy holiday season. We've had a lot of Christmas and Hanukkah bar content lately, and there's even more in tomorrow's Weekend Section, as Hau Chu and I try to get into the holiday spirit with ice skating, parades and cutting your own Christmas Tree

Oh, and if you didn't see my story about ways to take advantage of local embassies, please have a read. Happy hour rum sours with the Haitian ambassador sounds like a good time, doesn't it?

Do we know which dive bar full of Hill Staffers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been tweeting about? What is the speculation?

This is a $20,000 question in D.C. 

No one has, to my knowledge, been able to figure out exactly which "dive spot" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went to and found bartenders and managers moonlighting from Congressional offices, though that has been happening for years and years.

I've talked to bartenders/owners at some suspects and gotten "I don't know" and "No comment." I do wonder if what happened to Fiola and the Red Hen is making bars jumpy about saying whether high-profile pols have been in, or if they don't want to say that their staff is made up of staffers working second jobs. 

I believe @barredindc was the first to suggest Big Stick, based on photos from the bar's Instagram, though I'm not sure I'd call that -- or anywhere in Navy Yard -- "divey."

Follow-up: If you want to join the guessing game, the obvious clues are "dive" and "late-night food." Around the Hill, my mind went to Bullfeathers first because of their late-night menu and location on the House side. 

And while the Tune Inn is a dive and serves food until 2 a.m., the staff are not moonlighting Hill staffers. 

The National Gallery of Art’s ice rink is very beautiful but very crowded. What are some other outdoor ice skating options in the area?

I wrote a piece about outdoor skating a few years ago, and my favorite was the rink at Quiet Waters Park, south of Annapolis. It's in the middle of a 340-acre park, surrounded by trees and water. Really scenic and wonderful. 

Closer in, most of the outdoor rinks are rather same-y. The rink at the Wharf, which Hau wrote about for this week's cover story is nice, and the ever-popular Georgetown rink on Washington Harbour is great if you don't go on Friday night or Saturday afternoon. 

I haven't been to the pavillion in Manassas in years, but I remember it being really convenient (in the heart of the historic downtown) and well-maintained. 

What are some places serving drinks during the day that also have WiFi where I could get some work done remotely? Maketto and H Street Whole Foods are a couple places that have worked in the past but looking for places outside the H Street area.

Always nice when you have that flexibility. The Royal would be one of my top choices, as they have good cocktails, free wifi and happy hour starts at noon on Mondays. Busboys and Poets has worked for me in the past, as have Bluejacket and (surprisingly) District Chophouse. 

My husband and I have made a tradition of going to the US Botanic Garden to see the train display, but it seems more crowded every year (and TBH, it's mostly an excuse to go downtown for a festive outing). Are there any other seasonal displays that would make a good alternative?

The Seasons Greenings display is one of my favorite annual traditions. The lines are not.

Other festive train displays include one that travels around a Norwegian holiday scene in the main hall of Union Station; the large "garden railway" at Brookside Gardens created by local model train enthusiasts that includes Glen Echo Park and other MoCo landmarks; and the one under the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse, though that can have lines, too. 

If you really want to get into the spirit, head to Baltimore (maybe via train from Union Station) to see the huge "Magical Holiday Express" celebration at the B&O Train Museum

Hey Fritz, I’m going to London for the first time in March. It’s been fun to follow your trips to London on IG. Anyway, would love some suggestions - sites, food, drinks - etc. At some point, the post should commission a FH 36 hours in London article.

Thanks. I go to London a few times a year and there's always something new to discover. As anywhere, the sites are going to depend on your interests -- I find the Houses of Parliament boring, some people love them. The must-dos (for me) are the British Library and the British Museum, just so you can marvel at the mummies, manuscripts and treasures of world civilizations. I'd also probably recommend climbing to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral or the Monument (to the Great Fire) to take in the views. 

For drinks, I'd probably steer new visitors to the traditional ones -- the Anglesea Arms in South Kensington, the Princess Louise in Holborn, Ye Old Mitre in Clerkenwell, the Blackfriar in Blackfriars -- so they can get a taste for what a pub is supposed to be. (If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen a couple of those places multiple times.)

Anyway, I'm always happy to give a few more personalized recommendations via Twitter or email.  

Hi, I usually travel to be with family during the Christmas time but this year I staying in the DC area. What are good places to spend NYE? I have seen a couple of events and they are all very formal/super pricey. What are other alternatives? Thanks!!

New Year's Eve is a weird holiday in D.C. There's a lot of focus on the big, pricey, formal events, but even some normally good bars charge high covers for open bars and buffets.

I treat it like St. Patrick's Day, in a way: If I don't usually go to a bar and spend $100 on food and drinks in a night, why am I going to do that on New Year's Eve? 

The good news is that a number of bars that used to do $50 tickets for a buffet and limited open bar on NYE are now just open, no tickets or reservations needed. Those are the ones I prefer, honestly -- especially because if you go somewhere and it turns out to be too crowded/lame/boring/whatever, you can always go somewhere else. 

We're going to have a NYE roundup soon, including a lot of places that are just open as usual, or have low/no cover. The Anthem's P-Funk/Trouble Funk/Trombone Shorty throwdown is my current pick for live music. 

Okay, that's going to do it for today. Join me here on Dec. 20 for the last chat of 2018. 

PostPoints code is HH4632.

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: