We Love Drinks: 51st State Tavern

51st state

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.

51st state beer list

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.

Katie moved to DC in 2007, and has since embarked upon a love affair with the city. She’s an education reform advocate and communications professional during the day; at night and on the weekends, she’s an owner here at We Love DC. Katie has high goals to eat herself through the entire city, with only her running shoes to save her from herself. For up-to-the-minute news and reviews (among other musings), follow her on Twitter!

4 thoughts on “We Love Drinks: 51st State Tavern

  1. i graduated from GW last year, and actually lived directly across the street from 51st state. i am a bit confused about your consideration of 51st state as an escape from those bars overrun by GW and Gtown students. maybe others disagree with me, but 51st always seemed like THE gw student bar to me. ever been there on wing night? gw, gw, gw.

  2. Hmmm, after catching up on your blog, do you do anything but drink and eat? Next time, you can take me to some of these places, although it was nice to have a home-cooked meal from my daughter!

  3. $6 for a bottle of swill like Heineken is your idea of “incredibly affordable”? I guess you got your slice of the bailout pie. That’s just ridiculous.

  4. @ my dad – it’s called having a beat. i occasionally do other things.

    @jdp, no. i do not. happy hour, my friend, is when it is affordable.

    @chica, maybe i went on a good day.