The Oct. 22nd edition of the Dining Out email from Washingtonian had a tip about a happy hour that sounded like a November dream – Fall Cider Happy Hour at Equinox. Yum! I do love me some cider. And my partner in crime for happy hour, Rebecca, loves herself some fall. Fall is well known as her favorite season. So we decided this would be the perfect treat and headed over last Friday for “hard cider cocktails and complimentary snacks”.
Now, the first thing to note is that these Fall Cider Hours only happen on Fridays. And only between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., and only until December 19th. (Then, rumor has it, the theme changes to chocolate! YES! Jenn, wanna set a date?) So if you’re looking to get yourself some “fall in a glass” (as Rebecca says), then scoot on over!
So we arrived around 6 p.m.-ish and the place was packed. So packed that we almost turned around again and headed for the door. But we were stopped by a bartender who practically forced us to stay, and took our coats and bags and put them in the check room. Which was fabulous, really, for those of us who hate to tote around all our gear while we drink. He gave us a menu and promised us he’d be back. And then the free food started coming around – we were handed some sort of glorious crispy spring roll type thing. My apologies for not knowing exactly what it was. But it was seriously good food. I was hoping the drinks would live up.
And they did, we were sold. We both ordered cider cocktails, expensive at $10 each, but made with top shelf liquor and accompanied by free food, not such a bad deal. The cider was a base, and then I think there was some sort of lemon, or other citrus flavor, maybe orange juice, on ice. The wait staff was incredibly attentive and friendly, and every so often we spotted Chef Todd Gray wander through. The next food to make the rounds were little coffee cups of vennison chili, delicious, warm and topped with yummy cheese and a dollop of sour cream. We eventually landed a seat at the bar, which had little bowls full of of crunchy salt-coated roasted almonds. So so salty, but addictive! Rebecca and I ate two bowls. Okay, maybe I should say, I ate a bowl and a half and Rebecca ate half-a-bowl, but those are just details…
The bartenders were slammed, but still very attune to our needs. I ordered a beer (again, pricey at $8, but the almonds people, the almonds! They just needed beer!) and we sat to chat. I finished up my drinks, and asked for water. I love it when bartenders don’t hesitate to give you water, or get annoyed when you ask for it. Especially since I probably ate a salt-lick worth of salt with the almonds. Sometimes I’m done drinking, but am waiting for my friends to finish up and I really appreciate it when a bartender is happy to hand over some ice water. For me, that’s a sign of a great bar and/or bartender.
Located right near Farragut West, the crowd was what you would expect from the area and the type of restaurant. Mid-to-late twenty-somethings who clearly came straight from work, you would be out of place in a tee and jeans. The bar certainly bustled with activity til around 7:30 p.m. I was able to ask the bartender if this was pretty average, and he said it was for Fridays. So either get there early or be prepared to battle the crowds, but either way it’s totally worth it.
All in all, I would HIGHLY recommend a visit to Equinox’s fall happy hour. And now, after the spring rolls and chili, I’m dying to try the food there, too. With entrees ranging from $30 to $50, it’ll have to wait til a special occasion, but I’m already looking forward to it!
Equinox is located at 818 Connecticut Ave, N.W., 20006
Photo courtesy of flickr user Rschley. (Who is also a graphic designer for-hire, hint hint.)