As someone who adores gin and has a deep fear of all things tequila (E on the other hand, loves margs and any fancy Tequila cocktail), I was a bit hesitant when our friend Megan suggested we head to Tico, a DC Latin-American bar for happy hour. I find that with a lot of happy hours at specific-cuisine restaurants, you end up with a somewhat limited drinks and happy hour menu. So, you can imagine my surprise when they not only had a delicious gin-cocktail on the happy hour menu AND mac & cheese.
But, back to the happy hour offerings. Tico has $6 cocktails, $5 beer & wine, and small plates that range between $4-$8 dollars.
For my (T) first drink, I went with the refreshing “Lawn Jockey”. Of course, in true DC-fashion, it was a depressingly humid and overcast day so I definitely needed a pick-me-up. Lawn Jockey did not disappoint and although it may sound like a strange description, it tasted like grass..but in a good way. With the earthy flavors of cucumbers, chartreuse, and mint undercut with bubbly cava and finished off with a healthy pour of gin it seems like a perfect summer drink, and one I was surprised to find at a Latin place.
With my (T) drink, I also had to order the delicious sounding mac & cheese. The mac & cheese was delicious and filling – it had ham, machego, onions, and a few peppers all with a yummy panko crust on top that added the perfect crunch. However, I did not know that peppers were included in the mix and they were not included on the ingredients on the menu, just heads up.
For the next round of drinks, I (T) ordered a rose sangria. I was a little bit disappointed with this drink in comparison to the Lawn Jockey. The fruit aspect of the sangria was severely lacking and the rose lacked flavor. According to the menu there is passionate fruit tea in this drink, but I didn’t taste any. With Sangria, you could always get a bad batch or a less flavorful one so I am not writing this drink off entirely…yet.
For my (E) first drink, I had the “Hibiscus Margarita” and it was the prettiest colored cocktail I’ve ever had. I do not say that statement lightly either. It was hot pink and I wanted to order it at every happy hour just because it was beautiful. I highly recommend if you’re a fan of tequila. I do wish I ordered it when it was time for my second drink but decided to try something new.
For my (E) second drink, I got a “Papa Made Bail” since I loooove pineapple and it sounded refreshing overall. I enjoyed it especially because it has Pisco and you don’t find that at every HH. I learned from one of my good friends (shout out to Caroline) that it is actually Brandy. It was summery and tasted like something you would drink during a juice cleanse (plus alcohol).
I (E) was starving (per usual) so I ordered the mac & cheese to split with Caroline. We also got a fried chicken taco and a two texture beef taco. The chicken, I was not blown away by but the beef was great. Whatever the sauce was, made it. It also had chili’s so there was a good spice kick. The mac & cheese was awesome and I would recommend ordering it. We shared it and it was the perfect size. Sometimes restaurants skimp on M&C but I was pleasantly surprised that Tico did not.
Besides the drinks, the other thing that was a stand-out at Tico’s was the service. We had a great bartender that actually waited on us and came up multiple times throughout our stay to refresh drinks, take last-call for happy hour orders (BIG fan of bars that do that), and offer up great suggestions and a funny comment or two. It was definitely some of the best service I’ve had at a happy hour, as you usually have to go up and order drinks/food yourself at the bar.
As far as seating – it is a bit limited if you want to enjoy happy hour specials so I encourage people to get there before 6 (not to mention happy hour ends at 7). There is, of course, bar seating. But, if you don’t want to sit at the 15-seater bar the only other option is a communal table with 10 seats. While this isn’t horrible, if you’re going out with a group of 5 or more to enjoy happy hour this might not be the best place for you.
P.S. We’re still working on taking more photos when we visit places. Sometimes we get too hungry and we can’t help but dig in before we get the *perfect* shot. 🤷🏼♀️