Like any D.C. resident, I love a good happy hour. In a city as pricey as D.C., they’re the best way to explore the restaurant scene without doing serious damage to your wallet. But far too often, happy hour food specials are dominated by fried and greasy options like sliders, fries, and wings. That doesn’t have to be the case.
If you look hard enough, you’ll find many restaurants in the District offer healthy menu options at discounted prices during happy hour, giving you a way to sample some of the delicious food this city has to offer without sacrificing your health goals or draining your bank account. After all, a healthy happy hour means more calories to spend on mojitos.
Here are some of the best D.C. happy hours with healthy food options.
Monday through Friday 3 to 7 p.m., Sunday 5 p.m. to close
If you haven’t had a chance to try traditional Mediterranean girisler yet, head over to Agora for happy hour. You can try a variety of healthy spreads like ezme, baba ghanouj, and labneh for $4 at the bar. Check out the baba ghanouj made from roasted eggplant for an extra serving of veggies.
Monday through Friday 4 to 7 p.m.
With a cozy interior and enclosed patio upstairs, Ambar’s happy hour is a great choice for a date night. The entire happy hour menu is $5 at this Barracks Row spot, where you can sample traditional Balkan cuisine like drunken mussels or veal and vegetable soup. For the healthiest option, check out the Balkan salad with bell pepper, onions, cucumber, and a generous portion of aged cow cheese.
Monday all night, Tuesday through Friday 5 to 8 p.m.
Bin 1301’s happy hour offers fresh and healthy options like a $6 arugula and strawberry salad, $5 smoked whitefish salad, and two skewers with Asian skirt steak or chicken with broiled tomato for only $6. The skewers are a great choice if you’re looking for something high protein and low carb. If you haven’t bin there yet, you better make the trip.
Everyday 3 through 7 p.m.
This deal will give you something to tapa ‘bout. Try a spread of authentic and healthy Spanish tapas at Boqueria’s happy hour with options like a $5 traditional Spanish omelet and $7 fire roasted eggplant. Don’t forget to check out the super healthy ensalada del momento with organic greens and seasonal vegetables for $6.
Monday through Saturday 4 to 8 p.m.
Now this one’s a catch: You can keep things light even when it’s late at Catch 15’s happy hour, which runs till 8 pm and features $1.50 oysters on the half shell, $8 crab and zucchini cakes, and $7 caprese and artichoke heart flatbreads. Don’t forget to grab with a dozen oysters [sans the crackers] then reward yourself for your good decisions with a happy hour-priced oyster shooter.
Monday through Friday 5 to 8 p.m.
An exciting addition to the D.C. happy hour scene, Etete features a fun and healthy twist on traditional Ethiopian food with $7 injera tacos and beef sliders served weekdays at the bar. And if you want to keep things lean, check out their happy hour hummus special. Can’t tell you hummus I want to check it out.
Monday through Friday 4 to 7p.m., Saturday and Sunday 3 to 7 p.m.
With $1 oysters on the half shell, and a variety of seafood and veggie specials, Grillfish is an excellent choice for a light and fresh happy hour. For just $10 you can get a “mixed grill” of swordfish, salmon, mahi mahi, scallops, and shrimp. Pair it with an $8 apple-and-pear salad or $7 portobello caps, and you’ve got yourself a healthy and affordable meal.
Everyday 3 to 6 p.m. and after 11 p.m.
Eating sushi on a budget doesn’t mean you have to stick to California rolls. All sushi, including rolls, nigiri, and sashimi, are half off during Hamilton’s happy hour, where you can treat yourself to wagyu ribeye and seared scallop rolls for only $7. If you’re trying to cut down on carbs, order a selection of sashimi for high-quality fish without the rice. Now that’s bougie on a budget.
Everyday 4 to 7 p.m.
Here’s dumplin’ you’ve got to try: You can get six steamed or pan-fried dumplings for $4 at Mandu’s happy hour. Choose between shrimp, beef & pork, or vegetable…or a combination of all three! For the healthiest option, get an order [or two] of the steamed vegetable mandu!
Old Ebbitt Grill
Everyday 3 to 6 p.m., 11 p.m. to close
The raw bar doesn’t have to be for special occasions anymore. You can treat yourself to fresh seafood like oysters, crab claws, and lobster at Old Ebbitt’s daily happy hour, with half-priced oyster and raw bar specials. Even their renowned tiered Orca Platter is 50% off during this afternoon and evening deal. Cut back on the crackers and enjoy the raw and steamed seafood deals that won’t compromise your budget or health goals.
Monday through Friday 4 to 6 p.m.
Oyamel offers the joy of Taco Tuesday every weekday during its hora feliz. It’s only $4 for a taste of ceviche verde, pescadillo sinaloa, and meatballs in a chipotle sauce. If you’re trying to keep it healthy, the ceviche verde with striped bass, avocado, and tomatillo is the way to go. Or you can snag a taco with carnitas, vegetarian frijoles refritos, Yucatan-style pit-barbecued pork, or shredded braised beef for $2 each. Now that’s a deal to taco bout.
Monday through Friday 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Sakerum’s “sake hour” puts a healthy spin on happy hour classics with grilled calamari and grilled soy marinade wings, along with an extensive list of 8-piece maki or temaki rolls—all for only $5 each. Their grilled calamari is a healthy way to enjoy fresh seafood without the added breading or calories from frying it. Make a reservation ahead of time to guarantee a spot on their Instagram-worthy rooftop.
Monday through Friday 5 to 8 p.m.
Sashimi rollin’ over to SEI for $6 plates of sashimi with hamachi black sesame soy or salmon chili miso. Their sashimi is so fun and well-flavored, you won’t even miss the rice! And if you’re looking for a kick, check out their $7 wasabi guacamole for a fun version of a happy hour favorite.
Sette Osteria Dupont
Everyday 4 to 7 p.m., Sunday and Monday 5 to 10 p.m.
Sette Osteria has a wide variety of healthy options for a low cost at their daily happy hour, like roasted shrimp with sautéed spinach for $6 or mussels for $5. You can’t go wrong with their organic flatbreads, such as the chicken and sundried tomato or smoked salmon and goat cheese, for only $5. For the healthiest option, grab a mista salad with mixed greens, veggies, and balsamic dressing.
Monday through Friday 5 p.m. to close, Saturday and Sunday 3 p.m. to close
What’s better than a healthy happy hour? A healthy happy hour that runs ALL NIGHT. At Sospeso’s haperitivo hour, you can enjoy a healthy assortment of discounted plates like $5 roasted beets, $6 chicken kebabs, and $10 for a flight of hummus, htipiti, and labneh all. night. long. The beets are the best way to enjoy a healthy and fun side of veggies so you have an added excuse to order another round of their house-made vermouth.