The weekend that traditionally marks the start of summer, also marks, a short, but much-anticipated season in DC: the time after the colleges have graduated but before their summer programs begin and a window of about two weeks before tourists start their invasion. These few precious weeks provide a window to explore restaurants and bars in areas that are at all other times overrun with summer tourists or students.
In a toast to the long weekend,we decided to check out the happy hour at Quigley's Pharmacy Tonic, which is housed in a 19th century drug store building in he heart of GWU's campus about four blocks from the Foggy Bottom metro.
While this was my first trip to Tonic, B had been here before and knew about the happy hour specials available at the bar and on the large, shaded patio between 4 -7. These included half off all of the 10 or so draft beers including some great American selections like Abita Purple Haze and Hennepin, a strong ale from New York State in the Belgian style. And we discovered that as the building is on GW's campus, no shots are served...damn (though it seemed the lovely individuals at the adjacent table that made this request--which was summarily denied--didn't realize that perhaps they could have just ordered martinis and drank them quickly)! Also, rail drinks are $4 during happy hour, house wine is $5, and there are a selection of speciality cocktails.
And while we enjoyed our drinks on the patio, the second floor dining room is beautiful, with high ceilings, a catwalk over the bar below, and the multi-story mural pictured above. And there is a lounge on the third floor, though with no taps.
But real reason Tonic met the threshold for a blog-nod was the $4 superb tater tots. Tonic's menu is limited, but the happy hour food deals on these fried treats is a deal. Unlike the mushy mess that I remember from my school cafeteria, these were terrific. Served piping hot with a crispy shell and a pair of dipping sauces: a tangy Ranch specked with Dill and a zesty honey mustard made with whole grain mustard.
Paired with a few beers and the thought of an extended weekend, they made for the perfect Friday afternoon snack. Four beers and tater tots with tax and tip was $23.