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The Laughing Man Tavern

Submitted by on April 5, 2010 – 10:41 AMNo Comment
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1306 G St.
Washington, DC

Hours of Operation: Mon. 11:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tues. – Thurs.  11:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Fri. 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Sat. 5:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Best time to visit: Happy Hour, any night.

Why isn’t this place more crowded?  Not so far from the heart of the city, The Laughing Man has good beer, good food, good specials, plenty of space, and a warm, inviting feel.  Add in the amicable staff, and you’d think it would be wall-to-wall people at all times.

Okay, it can get crowded on occasion – so perhaps it’s better just to appreciate the times when it isn’t.

An intimate ground-level bar greets you as you enter, with an extensive dining area visible behind.  This would make for a tempting little bar’n’grill, but there’s also a stairway going down.  It leads to a substantial space with a substantial bar.  There are a number of tables and stools, with enough space left to accommodate a good-sized party or two.  A side nook offers some privacy, a couple bookshelves suggest a way to pass the time until the crowd arrives.  There are even a few dartboards around.  It seems like all the angles are covered!

The specials include some very good four-dollar appetizers, and several beers ranging from $3.25 (usually lesser beers) to $4.00 (a couple good ones; Sam Adams, etc.).  The selection of beers cannot be called overwhelming, but Blue Moon and Sierra Nevada are a good start, and Boddington’s and Peroni take a further step into the exotic.

But the best part?  Happy Hour starts at three o’clock, and some specials continue past seven – like the appetizers, which, Monday through Thursday, stay four dollars ALL NIGHT.  Taquitos, chipotle chicken quesadillas, and the hummus plate are just a few of the satisfying possibilities.  All that, plus half-price burgers all day Monday and 35-cent wings Tuesday.  The Laughing Man is an exceptional after-work option pretty much any day you choose.

Thursday and Friday tend to see the place come close to filling up.  It’s always a good idea to send someone ahead to scope out a space or a table on those days in particular, but a small group can probably find a spot at any time, provided no one’s booked the entire downstairs for Bob’s retirement banquet.

A bunch of televisions are tuned to various games, CNN, and so on, and will generally be changed upon request.  The waitstaff and bartenders are usually able to stay on top of things, and they all seem to have the right attitude: friendly and attentive without being obsequious.  The regulars seem right at home, as one would expect.  What’s surprising is that there aren’t more of them.

Pros: Plenty of space; very friendly staff; good specials

Cons: Could use a few more craft beers on tap

Rating: 4/5