Best of DC: Restaurants & Happy Hours

Having lived in DC for almost four years (already?!), I’ve been to my fair share of happy hours and fun dinners in the city. I work near the White House, in the heart of the city, and I used to work in Dupont Circle for several years. That being said, I have eaten some amazing, mouth-watering food here!

Here are some tried and true restaurants and happy hours that I love. This definitely isn’t a comprehensive list, but these are some of the places that top the “I have family/friends visiting and I must take them to the best restaurant” list!

The White House

Lauriol Plaza

To me, it’s THE place to go for Mexican, hands down. I’ve been dozens of times, and I adore it. They have great service (despite long waits for tables because of its popularity), amazing Mexican food (I beg you, get the steak fajitas), and even better margaritas. Oh the margaritas. They are so good.. and they are strong! The best kinds is the “swirls” (as we’ve coined it) – lime and strawberry swirled frozen margarita. Don’t miss coming here – it’s always packed with 20-somethings and you will be very, very happy (and tipsy?) when you leave! Bridgette is also a huge fun of Lauriol!!

Founding Farmers

Another very favorite place – on Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s just so good. It’s a trendy farm-to-table place that gets a lot of attention in DC, and I love it. They have amazing, unique cocktails, fun decor/vibe, and really spectacular food. I often go with friends and split several small plates (don’t forget the popcorn of the day!) and a farmbread. Everything is drool-worthy here!


Greek food is one of my favorites, and Cava has a great happy hour to satisfy that craving! There are locations on Capitol Hill and in Clarendon, so it’s pretty convenient. They have great happy hour wine specials & a fabulous selection of happy hour food (which is why it’s always packed!). You can’t go wrong with anything here, but I especially love their crazy feta dip (see my last blog post!) and tzatziki dip. The lollipop chicken (fried chicken with honey, walnuts, & Greek yogurt) is also fabulous!

Clare and Don’s Beach Shack

This place is kinda random, but really great! It’s in the heart of Falls Church, VA, but you feel like you’re sitting out at dinner on the beach instead of suburbia. They have a live band many nights, and it’s very casual and beachy. Eating outside is a must, too. They have great seafood, frickles (fried pickles!), and it’s just so friendly.

Georgia Brown’s

Yum! I adore Southern food + Southern hospitality, and Georgia Brown’s is one of the best places in the city for this. I went for the first time to celebrate my new job with friends (it’s right by the White House), and I love going back. They have an amazing happy hour – might I recommend the Georgia Peach martini and the pimento cheese fries? You’ll thank me later!


Matchbox is a trendy, delicious pizza/Italian bistro place with a couple convenient locations around DC. I’ve went here for my birthday a few years ago, and I’ve been going regularly since! They have really good cocktails (favorite: the Gingersnap) and unique, wonderful pizzas. My favorite pizza (it’s fun sharing several with friends) is the prosciutto & black mission fig pizza. Trust me on this!


Other favorite restaurants/happy hours in DC you should definitely try:

Northside Social


Busboys & Poets



Trattoria Alberto

Mad Fox



Ben’s Chili Bowl


The Washington Monument & Jefferson Memorial during Cherry Blossom season

Do you have any favorites that I didn’t mention here?

7 thoughts on “Best of DC: Restaurants & Happy Hours

  1. Steph! First of all, I love that you have a blog… and that you’ve kept it on the DL 🙂 Second, this is a fantastic post! I feel like people ask you for this advice all the time, so it’s an awesome idea to share all of your fun adventures! Can’t wait to read more!

    1. Thanks, Kate! I’ve decided to get back into the swing of things, and it’s really fun! And yes, I have lots of DC-centric posts about things to do, places to go, etc. Stay tuned!! xoxox

  2. I agree – it’s fantastic that all of this great knowledge you have about D.C. is in one place now. Next time I go back to the city I’ll have the perfect place to look when I need some ideas!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s