Clyde’s Happy Hour

I’d almost forgotten what rain was like. So happy. Rain made me even happier than happy hour.

Happy hour at Clyde’s of Chevy Chase (5441 Wisconsin) with friends yesterday was surprisingly tasty, as we don’t really think of Clyde’s as having good food, but rather more of a cavernous, convenient (for some), fun place to gather for drinks and general carousing.

Clyde’s HH is complicated: there are multiple bars and multiple menus, indoor and outdoor; the selection outdoors is limited, but there are some great deals to be had; there are additional but completely separate HH specials indoors, and you can order indoors and pick up indoors and carry your food or drink outdoors, but the indoor servers and ourdoor servers are apparently forbidden from mixing. The indoor bartenders seem somewhat contemptuous of the outdoor HHers. We sat outside, so I don’t know if you can order food outside and take it inside. The whole Kafkaesque scheme seems more like something this Clyde would invent.

Anyway, we ordered a round of $3 Coronas and margaritas (not strong but refreshing, with limeade not sour mix I think) and thought about food, expectations not too high. From the indoor happy hour menu, we procured a cheeseburger ($6) — which came out medium-rare as ordered, juicy, large, very good — and a crabcake sandwich ($8), whose bun-to-crab ratio was too bunny, tasted okay. From the outdoor “Happy Hour BBQ Menu,” most items $6, starving ol’ me got a jalapeño popper (one for $1), which unlike most such “poppers” was not deep-fried and did not involve cheese (despite menu notes to the contrary); it was stuffed with “spiced ground beef” that tasted like sloppy joe mix from a packet. The pepper itself had quite a kick and was a fine companion to the “Barbie Cone,” a roll of thin jalapeño cornbread filled with (way too sweet) pulled pork, creamy mashed potatoes, grated cheese, and (real) bacon bits. If the pork were smokier and less sweet, this would be a brilliant dish. As it was, it disappeared quickly. Not clear if “Barbie” is a reference to Australia, Mattel, or something else entirely.

We also shared salmon fajitas, which were really just piled-high tacos, but the corn tortillas were excellent and seemed freshly made, we were astonished.  And we got an order of wings. Here is the menu description: “Smokin’ Grilled Wings — hickory-smoked wings tossed with a choice of Carolina gold or chipotle bbq sauce.” In fact, the dish appeared simply to consist of about a dozen wings and thighs, possibly grilled, possibly fried, and tossed in Frank’s Hot Sauce.  Nothing wrong with that, they were pretty good, but not sure they really matched the menu.

All in all, a successful happy hour. The best part was actually watching six or eight munchkins, aged maybe two to six, frolicking in the fountain about 20 feet from us, further out in the courtyard toward Wisconsin Avenue. So much fun to see joyous yet well-behaved kids romping around, making new friends, beating the heat and nobody seemed too concerned about injury or liability for a change.

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2 responses to “Clyde’s Happy Hour

  1. Do you ever eat at Tower Oaks Lodge in Rockville? It’s also owned by Clyde’s but I have never been disappointed by either the food or the service. Plus the decor is awesome. Clyde’s in Gallery Place has done nothing but disappoint me.

  2. I have not, but will put it on “the list” (ever-expanding). Thanks for the rec! Have never been to Clyde’s GP either, and sounds like that’s for the best.

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