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Aug 2, 2009 05:06 PM

Looking for good venues for monthly happy hour

I recently moved to Washington and, after asking the head of my local college alumni association why we don't do monthly happy hours, was told that we could do that if I ran them. Since I'm new here and don't know any potential venues yet, I thought my fellow Chowhounders could suggest some worthy places.

I'd expect to change venues every month. We'd certainly repeat particularly popular venues, but I wouldn't expect to go back to any one venue more than once a year or so. We haven't formally decided what we're looking for yet, but based on initial discussions I think we're looking for:

1) Venues that would work for smaller crowds (maybe 30 or so) but that can accommodate larger groups in case a lot of people turn up.
2) Venues within walking distance of a Metro (we'll consider all of Georgetown to be Metro accessible). Most venues will probably be within DC, but I'll push to do things in Maryland or Virginia (again, only if close to the Metro) every few months.
3) Venues where an interesting twist is available to entice people to come. Examples could include good views (rooftop bars, bars along the river, etc), unusual locations (like on a boat), entertainment (a place with a lot of pool tables or other games, for example), or a particular food or drink theme that the venue is known for.
4) Venues that would be reasonably appealing to both younger and older alumni. That is, the place shouldn't be too staid or formal (or expensive) but also shouldn't be some raucous dive bar.
5) I'd consider the actual quality of the food and drink to be secondary to the above, but it's certainly not an irrelevant criterion.

In case it makes a difference, we're thinking that we'll do these on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays so we can avoid competing for space with huge crowds.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.

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  1. Sorry to be the guy that responds to my own thread, but I have a few ideas I wanted to get opinions on.

    1) Cafe Asia: Do they still have $1 nigiri at happy hour? That could be a nice theme event.
    2) Coco Sala: Worth it for a chocolate themed happy hour?
    3) Buffalo Billiards: A fun place to hang out, grab a few drinks, and play some pool?

    Any feedback, or other suggestions, would be very much appreciated.

    1. I just did a happy hour last week at Poste and it worked out well. They have valet parking and it is easy metro access, so it was convenient for people coming from all directions. We liked the outdoor courtyard and the inexpensive house red wine, which at $5, was a bargain. Only downsides, they don't serve the full menu outside and the lines were a bit long for the drinks, but otherwise it worked out well. I had a crowd of people of all ages and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

      1. I set up a couple of happy hours like that at Hard Times in Clarendon (the group usually met around Union Station and I rebelled). There's a back room that you can reserve all of if you have enough people (30 might do it) or reserve a large table if your group isn't large enough. They have wine and beer, though I don't think they serve liquor, apetizers are half price 4-7 PM, and the beer list is decent and priced fairly. It's right across the street from the Clarendon Metro stop. There are several garages that have inexpensive parking in the evening, and after 5:30 or 6 you can park free in the HHS garage on Highland street, about a block away.

        It's in the only building left standing on that block. Bettter make it quick. <g> For anyone who wants to eat dinner before going home and doesn't care for chili, Clarendon offers a wealth of dining options.

        1. Thank you both. I'll definitely visit both of them and check them out.

          Oh, today someone recommended Vidalia. Apparently, they have free bites to eat during happy hour.

          Thanks again!