On the Fringe: Drink Discounts and Happy Hours
Grabbing a drink before or after a Fringe Festival show? Don't forget to bring your little white Fringe button, because a number of local bars are giving discounts to Fringe-goers. While the theater venues are more spread out this year, they are still concentrated in three areas, so here are our suggestions for happy hour specials in each of those neighborhoods. (Hint: you can enjoy lots of these even without a Fringe button.)
From Mount Vernon Square to Chinatown:
The newest addition to the area is the tented, outdoor bar at the new Fringe Festival headquarters, Fort Fringe. With a rotating daily menu, this is the most convenient place to grab a beer before, after or during a show at the Fort Fringe venues, the Baldacchino or the Shop. The happy hour takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays from 4:30-7:30 with a $3 special surprise beer.
Fringe button holders can also take 10 percent off their Tex-Mex meals at Austin Grill, but everyone can tuck into the extended weekday happy hour specials, which run from 2 to 7 and include $3 Bud Light and Shiner Bock drafts and $5 house margaritas.
From 3 to 7 daily, the Irish Channel offers $1 off all drafts ($3.50 Miller Lite, $4.50 Yuengling, $4.75 Smithwicks, etc.) and $4.50 Ketel One martinis. But what's more interesting, especially for post-show discussions, are the late-night food and drink specials, which run from 7:30 to close. Wednesday, for example, finds Coors Light for $2.75 and shepherd's pie for $8.95, and Monday brings $3.95 Yuengling and $7.95 fish and chips platters.
Honestly, we'd send you to Rocket Bar just for the skee-ball and killer jukebox, but its current daily specials are good to know about, too: $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, $4 Miller Lite drafts and Budweiser bottles, and $5 rail drinks and house wines. These prices are available all day -- not just at happy hour.
From Logan Circle to U Street:
Showing your Fringe button at Marvin lets you skip the line to get in on Fridays and Saturdays. The lounge is also offering Heineken and Stella Artois drafts for $3.
Down on U Street, Nellie's Sports Bar will have $3 beers for Fringe-goers with buttons, while Polly's CafÃ© will be offering happy hour prices all day, including $2 Budweiser drafts, Miller Lite bottles, PBR cans and rail drinks. Meanwhile, at Twins Jazz, the first rail drink is on the house.
A staple of the U Street barhopping scene, Stetson's offers $3.50 rail drinks and Miller Lite from 4:30 to 8 every night of the week except Saturday. Food specials include half-price burgers on Monday, 25-cent wings on Wednesday and half-price turkey burgers on Thursday.
Solly's U Street Tavern offers $3 cans of PBR all day, every day, but from 5 to 8 on weekdays, the deals expand to cover $3 Budweiser, Miller Lite and rail drinks, plus $5 Sierra Nevada beers and Jack Daniels cocktails.
If Fringe Fest is also a date opportunity and you want to make it a little classier than Miller Lite, Vinoteca is the best pre-show destination. Sunday through Friday, the wine bar offers about 20 red and white selections for $5 each, plus a menu of soup, salad and sandwiches for $6-$7.
While you can certainly grab a drink at Chief Ike's, one of the Fringe venues, if you want a change of location and a little live music, you can take advantage of 15 percent off your check at Rumba CafÃ©. If you'd prefer the coffeehouse vibe, Tryst is also offering discounts with 15 percent off a drink at the bar, and the Diner is doing the same.
If you're in more of a margarita mood, then head over to El Tamarindo, which has a button discount of 15 percent on any order.
Tacos and beer are the staples of Asylum's budget-saving happy hour. Until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, choose between $1 hard tacos and $1.25 soft tacos at the neighborhood's favorite biker bar, then wash 'em down with $2 Miller High Life, $3 Shiner Bock or $4 Yuengling, Stella Artois or Bell's. Rail drinks are $4, wine is $5. Wings are a quarter each, but the tacos -- regular or vegetarian -- are a better bet.
The Reef's large rooftop deck makes it a popular place to hang out during the summer, and its daily happy hour, with $1 off all beers from 5 to 7, offers the chance to save a little money. (If you live in the 20008, 20009 or 20010 zip codes, you get an extra 10 or 20 percent off.) Some of the 16 beers are especially cheap during the early part of the week: at happy hour Sunday through Thursday, PBR is just $2 and Vermont's Otter Creek Copper Ale is $3, for example.
Laidback Toledo Lounge offers some of the best happy hour deals in Adams Morgan: $2 draft beers and $3 rail drinks from 6 to 9 Sunday through Wednesday and from 6 to 8 Thursday through Saturday. There food specials, too, including half-price burgers on Sunday and Tuesday and half-price appetizers on Monday.
--Fritz & Stephanie
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