When I worked in Foggy Bottom, I found it practically impossible to find a bar in Foggy Bottom proper that wasn’t overrun with George Washington and Georgetown students. Too bad I didn’t find The 51st State Tavern until now, because it’s the answer to my happy hour prayers.
Situated in a two story former row house (like oh so many bars in DC) 51st State is the perfect place to grab an incredibly affordable drink with a friend. Located where Penn meets L street, near 26th at that super funky intersection, I finally found the perfect Foggy Bottom/West End after work spot. It’s not crowded, nor is it overrun with frat boys and the girls that follow (at least during HH), and has the perfect short beer list with something for everyone.
So many bars tout the “BEST HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS” but it’s not often when the special is actually $3 Magic Hat #9 (8 p.m. to close on Wednesdays). And they have their own 51st State Amber Ale, which was smooth and wheaty. I ususally hate amber and dark ales, but this was delicious. I also love it when bars think to throw in cider on tap, and 51st state has my favorite London tonic – Strongbow Cider.
The food is nothing to write home about, actually, I’d advise you to not have any expectations of yummy bar food. I currently hold Union Pub’s tater tot bucket and Black Rooster Pub’s potato skins to a high level of bar food deliciousness, which 51st’s short bar menu tanks in comparison to. But, hold that thought – cause if you love wings, and you love them cheap, 51st is your place. Tuesday is 10 cent wing night from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. (with drink purchase). I have a friend who goes LITERALLY every week for these legendary cheap wings. They’re hometown priced, and that’s the way he likes them.
And to add to the atmosphere, 51st has two jukeboxes and bar goers (at least when I’m there) have a good sense of music to fit the mood. From Ben Harper to U2 to Don McLean, the music patrons pick make the neighborhood bar cozy. 51st also has a pool table overlooking Penn Ave. and when it gets warm the patio out front will be nice.
The 51st State Tavern is located at 2512 L Street, NW, 20037 and is open Mon – Sunday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m./3 a.m. weekends.
Photos courtesy of flickr user Needlessspaces.