We don't know who invented happy hour, but we really have to hand it to them. The concept of a period of time where drinks and food are cheap and everyone has an excuse to unwind from work is, well, nothing short of genius. The only thing better than that? Experiencing it outdoors, in the summer. So just for you, we tracked down the best places in the DMV where happy hour specials can be enjoyed on a breezy roof deck, a chill patio, or both. Go ahead — round up your coworkers and head to one of these spots while we've still got a few good weeks of warm weather left.
Chez Billy and American Ice Co. photographed by Audrey Melton; Courtesy of Screwtop Wine Bar; Courtesy of Jackson 20.
When: Tuesday through Sunday, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Combine roof deck, patio, and picnic tables, and you have the best of all worlds for outdoor drinking at Chez Billy. Our fave French joint offers $5 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay by the glass, $5 Stella drafts, and a $5 cocktail du jour (at press time, the special involved caramel vodka and bourbon — uh, yes, please.) And don't miss the $9 half-dozen oysters on the half shell special.
3815 Georgia Avenue NW; 202-506-2080
American Ice Co.
When: Monday through Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m.
American Ice Co.'s happy hour is as no-fuss as the place itself, and that's what we like about it. One simple special: every weekday from 5 to 7 p.m., a PBR Tall Boy with a shot of whiskey is $6. The best part, bar none, is the outdoor space — you won't find a chiller spot this side of the Potomac. And the communal picnic tables guarantee you'll make some new friends.
917 V Street NW; 202-758-3562.
Screwtop Wine Bar
When: Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
We had to double take when we heard this quaint Arlington venue's happy hour was from "11 to 6," but the bartender assured us we didn't need to get our ears checked: "Yep, we have a seven-hour happy hour." Well, we certainly can't complain about that! In that time frame, six wines are $6 a glass and the wines change daily.
1025 North Fillmore Street, Arlington; 703-888-0845.
When: Monday through Friday, from 4 to 7 p.m.
This tavern specializing in classic American comfort food is situated in Alexandria's Hotel Monaco and has both a front and back patio for outdoor merriment. The usual Monday-through-Friday happy hour features $2 can beers, $5 wine, and $5 tavern bites, such as tater tots and deviled eggs. But if you prefer imbibing with your four-legged BFF, be sure to hit up the dog-friendly happy hour Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m.
480 King Street, Alexandria; 703-842-2790.
When: Monday through Friday; happy hour at the bar from 4 to 6 p.m.; in the restaurant from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
This perfectly-situated spot at Dupont Circle has some of the best people-watching and boasts one of the loveliest outdoor patios in D.C. The outdoor setup is spacious and comfy, with huge upholstered sectionals and just the right amount of breezy tree shading. Speciality cocktails like the Blue Fizz (vodka, ginger, simple syrup, and Prosecco) are $7, house wine is $6, draft beer is $5, and bottled beers are discounted by $1. At the restaurant, certain small-bite plates are $5.
1500 New Hampshire Avenue; 202-797-0169.
Wonderland Ballroom photographed by Audrey Melton; Courtesy of Poste; Courtesy of Vinoteca; Courtesy of Redwood.
When: Monday through Sunday, from 5 to 8 p.m.
The drinks are cheap to begin with at this long-running Columbia Heights hotspot, so $2 off draft beers and rail drinks seven days a week is just a happy bonus! It's easy to fall down the rabbit hole when you're hanging out on an awesome patio beneath a blanket of trees with cheap beer and booze.
1101 Kenyon Street NW; 202-532-5263.
When: Monday through Sunday, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Another awesome venue with an all-week-long happy hour, Poste is the destination for after-work drinks in the Penn Quarter/Chinatown area. Always packed with 20- to 40-somethings, the lower patio bar offers $6 local beer on tap, $7 rail liquor drinks, and small bites between $4 and $8 — think oysters, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, and a pickle plate.
555 Eighth Street NE; 202-783-6060.
When: Monday through Sunday, from 5 to 7 p.m.
The best part about Vinoteca's happy hour is the "every day" part. That's right, for a two-hour period seven days a week, 20 different wines are $5 a glass, with a number of discounted food items that range from burgers and crostini to assorted salads. Enjoy the cheap fare at the outdoor bar and bocce court, since, you know, a few glasses of $5 vino will probably bring out your competitive side.
1940 11th Street NW; 202-332-9463.
When: Monday through Saturday, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Whether you work in Bethesda or are just passing through for the shops (hello, giant Bluemercury around the corner), Redwood has a dreamy outdoor patio beneath a canopy of fairy lights. Enjoy $6 wings, hush puppies, moonshine eggs, mussels, fries, and onion rings. There's also $4 draft beers and $5 mojitos and Dark 'n' Stormys. The house white, red, and rosé are $4 a glass; beers on draft include Yuengling, Stella, Guinness, and Starr Hill IPA and Pilsner.
7121 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda; 301-656-5515.
When: Tuesday through Friday, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The name, address, and phone number of this jaunt may all involve "1905," but at happy hour, four is the magic number. All bottled and canned beers, plus all rail drinks, are $4, and there is a featured cocktail made with VeeV — a spirit made from acai berries. Even better? Enjoy your $4 libations on one of the best roof decks the city has to offer!
1905 Ninth Street NW; 202-332-1905.