There are many happy hour options in the D.C. area, you can go to dirty bars on L St, fancy clubs on K, or just chill at Russia house with some martinis, but my all-time favorite happy hour spot is Circle Bistro. When picking a favorite Happy Hour spot one must consider a few things such as specials, proximity to the workplace, service, atmosphere, and food, especially if you are going to stay more than an hour or so. In my humble opinion Circle Bistro offers all this and more.
Circle Bistro is on the bottom floor of the Circle Hotel, right off Washington Circle (really near the Foggy Bottom metro for anyone who went in 8th grade). As far as my aforementioned criteria, first, the establishment is about an 8 minute walk from work (depending on if you are wearing your Tory Burch flats or your Louboutin heels, yeah right).
DRINKS: The drink specials absolutely can’t be beat. The whole drink menu is half price from 5pm to 8pm. You can get a wonderful Cote du Rhone for $5, a dirty martini with three olives and top shelf vodka for $5, a multitude of Russian themed spirits such as the Kaiser Wilhelm or the Barefoot Russian (a staff favorite) for $5 to $6 and most beers for $3. A lot of places kind of have specials, but when you really get down to it, you aren’t getting much of a deal, and there definitely isn’t the same variety! Prove me wrong if you dare (Marc, Chapel Hill doesn’t count)…
ATMOSPHERE: There are plenty of places to sit, even when they have an event, which seems to happen about every other time. There is a high communal table in the middle of the room, couches by a roaring fire (seasonal) and about 6 tables that can seat 4 to 8. Plus, when you sit at a table you’re not expected to order any food, but as I will get to in a moment, it’s hard not to! The lighting is warm and inviting with a bit of natural light by the bar, and then dimmer lights throughout the rest of the seating area.
FOOD: The bar is next to the restaurant of the same name, which serves french-ish cuisine by Chef Brendan Cox. The only item on the menu really worth mentioning are the Frites. For a mere $5 you get two paper “pouches” of these little french wonders, perfectly salted and served with home-made ketchup and a garlic aioli that simply melts on to the little potatoes of goodness and starts a fiesta in your bouche.
SERVICE: When it gets busy it may take a few moments to get your drink, but for the most part, the 4 foot 8 mini British female bartender who always wears the same black turtleneck and pants combo accented with a multitude of different trendy belts is on her game. Her suggestions are great (ever heard of Albarino, neither had I, it’s now on my list of faves), she makes sure you get that second order of frites, and never leaves you hanging without a drink for more than a few minutes (if you’ve had one of her dirty martinis you probably need a few minutes anyways). Plus, onenever has to wait in a long line at the bar for a sub-par cocktail table, I’ve never seen a line
So readers, you can go elsewhere and maybe get a half-price bottle of wine whilst standing and waiting for those annoying lobbyists to get up, maybe get some overpriced greasy nachos on L Street along with a beer that may or may not be a Happy Hour special until 6pm OR you can go to Circle Bistro, drink for half price until 8, sit at a comfy table, marvel at the mini-ness of the main bartender, and be generally satisfied all around. What say you? See you next Tuesday…