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Posted at 1:59 PM ET, 07/26/2006

Drinking on the Fringe

By Fritz Hahn

On my way out to a doubleshot of Fringe last night -- "Lunch" and "Vaud Rats" -- I swung by Poste for the festival's daily happy hour. The weather was fine (if gloomy) and many of the tables on the gorgeous patio were packed.

Inside, the bar has compiled a list of special Fringe Festival cocktails -- for 11 and 12 bucks each, including tax. (So much for the "special.") The most interesting libation on that menu is the Stage Wrong, a sweet-and-tart drink based around homemade Loganberry-infused vodka, plus triple sec, cranberry juice and fresh lime.

The lounge's regular happy hour had just expired, along with our dreams of $4 beers, wine and garlic fries. When a group of fellow theater-goers asked if there were any deals to be had, the bartender said, "Well, I guess we can extend the happy hour to 7:30 for Fringe people." One large tower of garlic fries and a glass of lively tempranillo later, I was ready for the show. Grand total: $8.80 plus tip.

This got me thinking about where I'd want to meet up with people for happy hour before heading to a show in the Penn Quarter/Mt.Vernon Square area, and where I'd want to go afterwards to dissect what we'd just seen. If you have any additional suggestions, please stick 'em in the comments field.

Ella's remains my budget-friendly favorite: Free pizza and $3 beers from 5 to 7. Of course, there's always less pizza than mouths to feed, so you may only get a small slice or two, but it's a great place to grab a quick after-work bite. One problem: Not a lot of room for groups in the bar area.

The Capital City Brewing Company doesn't brew beer at its H Street pub anymore, but the drinks are fresh -- the beers come from the Shirlington branch -- half-price until 7 p.m. There's plenty of room to gather around the large copper-topped bar.

Those arriving on the early side should check out the District Chophouse, which has two beers (including the Nut Brown Lager) at half-price between 3 and 7. The total price, including tax, is around $2.25 a pint.

After the show is a different story. A friend and I came out of "Vaud Rats" -- which I highly recommend -- at 11:30 and wanted to grab a quick beer and (possibly) a snack before heading home. But R.F.D. was turning off the lights and locking up, Matchbox had chased most of its customers out and while I'm often a fan of the specials at Eat First, we weren't in the mood for Chinese. Thankfully, the Capital City Brewing Company was open and pouring its Biere de Garde, an amber-colored, caramel-and-malt style that's not often seen in Washington.

Another option is the Irish Channel, which boasts that it never closes before last call -- unlike a certain Irish chain closer to the Metro station. There are daily drink specials, too: tonight's is $2.75 Miller Lite from 7:30 to close.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | July 26, 2006; 1:59 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Theater  
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Did you like the shows?

Posted by: theater buff | July 27, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't the Chophouse happy hour end at 6 these days? Its a good deal, but that's WAY too early to end a happy hour.

Posted by: beeeeeer | July 30, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

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