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No matter what the negotiators working on the deficit deal say, you know the cold financial truth: You’re about to hit your own personal debt limit.
But light-in-the-wallet syndrome doesn’t mean a sentence of ramen noodles and “Law & Order” reruns. Fret not, young cheapskate, we’ve got you covered with fun, food and libation on Capitol Hill at prices that even the stingiest deficit hawk could love.
We’re talking free movies, cheap designer duds and a weekend’s worth of bottomless Bloody Marys.
But cutting, capping and balancing your personal budget? That’s up to you.
Luxe for Less
Yes, being a cheapskate often requires dining on boxed mac and cheese and shopping at Old Navy. But sometimes, even the most frugal among us craves something a little more luxurious. Here’s where to live it up without breaking the bank:
Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar — Usually pricey vino is just $5 a glass during the weekday happy hour at this House-side wine bar. The special price is available only in the sleek upstairs lounge, where low-slung couches and views of Pennsylvania Ave. make for excellent people-watching (oh hello, Mr Chairman!).
223 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. 202-544-8088
Clothes Encounters of a Second Kind — Look beyond the racks of pricey St. John suits and other stuffy Hill-lady gear at this Eastern Market consignment shop, and you’ll find plenty of labels that younger Hill staffers might want to snatch up — and at prices that even the lowliest legislative assistant can stomach. A recent trip turned up Coach handbags for less than $100, a BCBG frock for $25 and a smattering of Lilly Pulitzer preppiness for less than $50.
202 Seventh St. SE.
Charlie Palmer Steak — Most diners at the upscale restaurant are putting their tabs on fat expense accounts, but the prix fixe lunch at this airy, light-filled power spot is tailor-made for those who must pay their own way. A $25 lunch is certainly a splurge, but it’s worth it: three elegant courses, always with an entree steak option.
101 Constitution Ave. NW. 202-547-8100
A Deal Every Day of the Week
Start off the workweek with a happy hour that’s low-key but classy: Zest American Bistro on Barracks Row offers an under-the-radar daily special that won’t wreak havoc with your budget. From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., decent wines and rail drinks are $5, while beers are $4. And the food’s an even better deal, with a menu that includes a hefty burger on a buttery brioche and a side of fries for $6.
735 Eighth St. SE. 202-544-7171