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Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 08/14/2006

Don't Believe the Hype

By Fritz Hahn

Here's a cautionary tale for interns and happy hour fans, especially those who read today's Metro section story about young people networking at happy hour while seeking out $2 beers. To find the best deals, they pass around an Excel spreadsheet that lists the city's best discount nights out. As reporter Philip Rucker points out, "Its accuracy is questionable. Still, to many interns, the listing is gospel."

"Questionable" is a nice way to put it. I've been forwarded a similar list from friends several times over the years, and I always try to reply and tell them that it's obvious how outdated the list is, but like so many urban legends, it continues to circulate.

How bad it? Let's start with the basics. Lulu's closed in April, so we can maybe give a pass there, but Tequila Grill served its last margarita over a year ago. If you go looking for $3 beers and $2.99 appetizers at Angelo and Maxie's, you'll find that it's been gone for more than two years and is now a McCormick and Schmick's. Intern favorite Red River Grill closed in January 2005, and reopened as Union Pub with a new look and different happy hour offerings. Mickey's Patio? The Barracks Row pool hall shut its doors for good in December 2004. Downtown, the John Harvard's Brewhouse and Ortanique are no more. Politiki was renamed something German and unprintable last year. And so on.

And as bars change, so do happy hour specials. I wouldn't want to get anyone's hopes up about $1.01 pints on Thursdays at the Ballston Rock Bottom Brewery, where the house-brewed beers are $1 on Wednesdays. (The price here is referring to a DC 101-sponsored special that was popular back in 2003.) Don't go to My Brother's Place for twenty-five cent drafts on Saturdays, though the $15 all-you-can-drink special isn't a bad deal. Those $1 Rolling Rocks at Madam's Organ? Only available to red-headed women, sorry. On the Hill, Tortilla Coast no longer offers deals on Foggy Bottom beers, has raised prices on Coronas from the $2.50 listed on the spreadsheet and added other (and better) specials throughout the week -- instead of $1 off margaritas on Monday, how do $2.50 Miller Lites sound?

I'm not trying to put a damper on anyone's fun. As someone who likes to meet friends for drinks without emptying my wallet, I love happy hour. I'd just urge people to take this happy hour list with a grain of salt. And if you're looking for happy hour ideas, I'd happily steer you towards both our happy hour listings and the Interns' Guide to Washington.

By Fritz Hahn  | August 14, 2006; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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area -- the McCormick & Schmick's $1.95 bar menu? A huge cheeseburger for a buck ninety-five is the best deal around. They do this at all of their bars. I've gone to the K Street bar for years. My friends who works in Tysons says the M&S bar there rocks.

Posted by: John | August 14, 2006 6:43 PM | Report abuse

By far the best site for finding happy hours in the DC area is

Way better than that out-of-date Excel spreadsheet.

Posted by: Sam | August 17, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know why DC doesn't have a

Posted by: Erin | September 1, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Amazingly this isn't an urban legend. My roommate and I combined forces to update the version of this spreadsheet we received in college. What developed was unbelievable guide to the best bar specials in DC that we then shared with close friends and co-workers. We're sure there are more spreadsheets out there; too bad you're missing out. When you've discovered your own maybe we'll see you out, until then we're going to drink $3 Yuenglings. Lucky us.

Posted by: Lulu | September 12, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

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