Bar Belle: Great food, better happy hour

Our Bar Belle roams D.C. reviewing bars as she sees fit – if she can see straight after visiting them.


  • Where: 1800 M St., NW
  • Cover: no
  • Carded: yes
  • Happy Hour: Monday through Saturday, 3:30 to 8 p.m., Sunday, noon to close
  • Bar Bells:

If you don’t know already, I’m a sucker for atmosphere. But I’m an even bigger fan of a really good drink.

And Vapiano, with locations on M Street and in Chinatown, serves up a unique twist on the dining experience that is sure to entertain.

Something like a grown-up version of a college dining hall, Vapiano’s hosts greet you with a neat card meant for charging your food, drinks and dessert throughout the night. When you’re finally done, you just hand over the card and pay off whatever damage you incurred while wandering the creatively designed restaurant.

The food is to die for, but it’s the restaurant’s happy hour and drink specials that are really eye-catching. Specialty drinks come in at about $10, on the pricey side for a college budget, but the substantial happy hour drops wine and beer down to $3.95. A real taste winner is the sangria, at a semi-steep $6.50. Its taste can make you overlook the price whether you’re grabbing dinner or not.

The bar only has Peroni and Pilsener Urquell on draft – also the only beers on their happy hour menu – but they do offer a few domestic and imported beers if you want something else for about $5.

Whether you’re grabbing one drink or 10, the bar’s plush and urban atmosphere is sure to make you feel like a million bucks as you’re stuck between men and women just off work.

While the happy hour selections may not be vast, the specialty drinks – I suggest trying the Limoncello Drop for an improved version of the lemon drop – have enough of a kick that even at one drink you’ll be set for the night.

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