After all of your hard work, throwing your cap in the air and posing for photos with friends will feel spectacular. But graduation ceremonies tend to be long-winded and a little anticlimactic, so liven up the day with one of these happy hours before or after the ceremony.
Athletics commencement, Tuesday at 3 p.m.
After the ceremony: Head to Bar Charley on the north side of Dupont Circle, where cheap drinks include $5 Mai Tais and $6 Old Fashioneds, Jack Roses and Sazeracs. But the best part of Charley’s happy hour is that wine and beer are $2 off, which means “Big Mugs” start at $4 a pop.
And if you’re hungry, munch on $5 Catalan fries, made with spicy tomato sauce, Manchego cheese and a fried egg, or the $7 Elvis burger with pimento cheese.
School of Business ceremony, Thursday at 9 a.m.
After the ceremony: You probably won’t drink before this ceremony unless it involves a bottle of champagne in your parents’ hotel room. Make up for the dry morning with an afternoon at Mango Tree, where everything costs $6 during happy hour.
The Thai restaurant and bar has appetizer-size portions of calamari with chili flakes, chicken wings and fried tofu with peanut sauce on the menu. But the real treats are mixed drinks like the Lychee mojito, made with Bacardi and fresh mint and lime, and the strawberry basil caipirinha, made with a Brazilian rum called pitu cachaca. Beer and wine is also $6 for a bottle or glass.
Elliott School of International Affairs ceremony, Friday at 11:30 a.m.
After the ceremony: You could go to District Commons’ happy hour, which begins at 4 p.m., or you could venture to U Street for drink specials you’ve never heard of. At Diego, happy hour deals begin at 3 p.m. and if you sit upstairs, they don’t end until 9 p.m.
Try all of Diego’s speciality margaritas — or just split a pitcher of their signature mix, made with silver tequila, hand-squeezed lime, agave nectar and a little orange juice. And “Mexican beer cocktails” include the $6 Michelada (iced Dos Equis Lager with spicy sauce served with a chili salt rim) or the Ojo Rojo, which is made with clamato, a zesty tomato juice.
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences ceremony No. 1 and the Milken Institute School of Public Health ceremony, Saturday at noon
Before the ceremony: Start your day with bottomless mimosas at Tonic. Since you have to buy brunch to get the $16 deal, it’s the perfect place to bring your family before heading to the ceremony: Everyone can fill up on tater tots while you reminisce about the awkward dates you went on during your freshman year.
Pair your endless mimosas and $8 to $10 bloody marys with a stack of four pancakes for $12 or $14 cinnamon roll French toast.
CCAS ceremony No. 2, Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Before the ceremony: Start your day at Grillfish near Dupont Circle where happy hour starts at 11 a.m. on Saturdays. Oysters on the half shell cost $1, fish and shrimp tacos cost $3 each and the mixed grilled with salmon, swordfish, mahi mahi, scallop and shrimp costs only $8.
As you chow down on seafood, order $6 specialty cocktails like Grillfish’s red or white sangria, Kokonut Kamikazee or Fish House Punch. Bottled and tap beer starts at $4 and you can get a glass of merlot or riesling for $6.
Law School ceremony and School of Medicine and Health Sciences ceremony, Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
After the ceremony: After you’ve collected your degree, head to the airy and simple Drafting Table on 14th Street, where happy hour begins at 4 p.m. and ends with the 1 a.m. closing time.
There are a variety of $4 drafts to choose from like DC Brau Corruption, Atlas Brew Works Rowdy, Breckenridge Vanilla Porter and Founders All Day IPA.
Post-diploma eats include a fried steak with onion strings and smashed potatoes with a pale ale glaze for $17, tacos for $9 with kimchi, spicy sauce, pork, chicken or fish wrapped in corn tortillas and the $14 “Duck Pancake” grilled cheese with sourdough, provolone, duck, scallions and hoisin dipping sauce.