Bar Belle: Sizzling Express

Sizzling Express
538 23rd Street, N.W.

SizzEx – you may know it as the pay-by-the-pound buffet you turn to on those nights when all you want is a gravy-soaked slice of turkey on a peach cobbler with a side of egg rolls. You may know it as a magnet for mammoth middle school tours of the capital. You may even know it as the cheapest place in Foggy Bottom to snag a big, steamin’ plate-o’-bacon (you know who you are).

But now, I know it as a Friday afternoon haven in Columbia Plaza where I can double fist 2-for-1 draft pints without shame at the least – pretentious happy hour in the District. So come in, drink up and let’s get SizzExy.

Tucked in the corner of the large buffet restaurant, the SizzEx bar lacks the atmosphere of other happy hour hotspots. That said, there’s something welcoming about the clean, spacious bar dotted with kitschy items (a singing fish sits just out of striking distance), TVs set on ESPN and bar notices written in dubious grammar. And the well-lit space serves as a reminder: you are here – if nothing else, to get drunk before sundown.

The Friday afternoon shift attracts all manner of drinkers: students, government workers, men with cell phones clipped to their hips, women who look so old that they might still use the telegraph. What you won’t find are ironically spandex-ed hipsters sipping PBR and namedropping obscure bands, or any burned-out, 35-year old former fraternity guys looking for the best ass to squeeze.

SizzEx is not completely lacking in drama, though; the temptation of the drink specials leads to fast, early drunkenness all around. So, yes, that man in the corner is arguing too loudly with his wife about the merits of enrolling little Timmy in a fast-track soccer camp because, damnit, he’s been a kicker since the womb. And yes, that seer-suckered yuppie sitting alone at the edge of the bar is, in fact, leering at you suggestively.

But the real draw here, as always, is the booze. Along with the 2-for-1 pints, Fridays bring 2-for-1 shooters and a list of sushi and beer combo specials from 4 to 7 p.m. SizzEx pours the drinks fast and generously, with a smile. Toward the end of the night, one of the SizzEx employees hands out electric blue shots for those at the bar (yes, they do more than just weigh stuff). “Just for the regulars,” she winks.

But happy hour ends at 7, so men, swallow your pride and order another round of Woo Woos (you know you love them). And after the magic of happy hour has faded, and the sun begins to set, the macaroni and cheese is even better drunk. But it’s early yet. On to the liquor store across the plaza.

Bar Belle Rating

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.