A Deep-Fried Happy Hour at Govnr's Park Restaurant & Tavern
Happy hour sliders from Govnr's Park.
The happy hour at Govnr's Park Restaurant & Tavern cements its legend as a place of good times since 1976. A two-for-one drink special is the main draw here, much like at another long-running haunt, Charlie Brown's. But while that Capitol Hill spot trades on a sort of bygone elegance, Govnr's Park embraces its sports bar nature, feeling like a place that's timeless and of-the-moment. But of course, it's the food and drink that makes or breaks a good happy hour, no matter how long it's been around.
Gov Park devotes an unusually generous amount of time to happy hour: 3 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. every single day. Both times offer BOGO margaritas, Long Island iced teas, wells drafts and house wines, served two at a time. In the evening, drink and food specials are offered in every corner of the restaurant, from the packed patio to a bar that's seen enough crazy stuff to fill a whole century. The place fills up quickly on weekends and during Wednesday trivia nights, but with so many tops around you'll have a good chance at getting a comfortable seat. As you'd expect from a place that hosts a yearly beer fest, the draft list is pretty solid, but I tried on a house margarita or two instead ($6.25) — double dose of flat mix and sub-premium tequila.
Besides the drink, the only big disappointment at Govnr's Park is that the happy hour food menu doesn't show off the tavern's biggest strengths: no buffalo chicken, no wings, no tater tots — but at least there's plenty of other fried stuff. One signature item does appear here, and it's a doozy. Won Ton Juans ($7) are the cheesiest meeting of East and West since Pat Morita and Jay Leno went guns-a-blazing in Collision Course, with a ton of pepper jack and cheddar packed in a wonton wrapper with jalapeños, which is then fried and topped with more cheese. (A smothering of green chile is optional but recommended.) If you're still reading, then these morsels might be for you — crisply packaged, a bit tangy and certainly guilt-inducing.
An uncomfortably close look at Govnr's Park Wonton Juans.
Arriving in a fleet of three with a handful of fries, Gov's sliders ($6.25) are significantly meaty, more like a miniaturized burger than the anemic sliders found most other places. Like their big brother, these burgers are cooked to order, with a thick grind and a pleasing crispness. Shame, then, that they're doused with the house's "spicy" ketchup. It tastes unsettling, like the feeling of greeting a great old friend and being met with a dead stare.
Even if shameless bar food isn't your jam, getting one drink in each hand is a universal pleasure. And since the discounts on food are pretty meager, you can stick to the regular menu and still have a good time before the siren marking the end of happy hour rings out.
Perfect for: Late night bar crawlers. Although there's no happy hour food for the late night specials at Govnr's Park, there is a special menu of fried delights and sandwiches that is served until 1 a.m. Plus, you can catch some random sport playing live on the other side of the globe.
Don't Miss: Unless you're counting on a quiet dinner and conversation, Wednesday night trivia, starting at 7 p.m., is a hoot. A $100 cash prize to the winner and $4 whiskey also sweetens the pot considerably.
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