Men of D.C., while I can't empathize since I didn't pay for most of my meals or drinks from November 2009 to November 2011, I get it. Dating is expensive, particularly in major metropolitan cities such as our fair nation's capital. And while you want to be sure to impress the fair lady you've snookered into meeting you after work, you also don't want to suffer a bank account raping in the process.
Luckily for you, I've got a date idea that will allow you to be the debonair gent your mother raised you to be while simultaneously taking it easy on your wallet: Happy hour at Oyamel followed by a Pay-What-You-Can performance* from the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
Now, Appealing Kate has already touched on Oyamel once in this blog, but she and her gentleman caller ate a full meal. If you're trying to date on a budget, that's not what you'll be doing there.
But let's back up a second and talk about how to accomplish this date in order:
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
641 D St. NW
(Mere steps away from the Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter Metro station)
First, you'll want to get on Woolly Mammoth's website and look at their show calendar. Figure out when a new show is just kicking off, because the first and second performances -- generally a Monday and a Tuesday night -- are Woolly's patented Pay-What-You-Can performances. That means that at a theater where tickets normally range from $40 a pop skyward, you can get tickets for the meager contents of your wallet. Awesome!
I should note that even though the performances are marked "Pay What You Can," popular convention would have you shell out $5 per ticket (though, admittedly, I showed up with seven dirty $1 bills before and still got two tickets). So, if you're going this route, plan to have at least $10 in your wallet -- the Pay-What-You-Can shows are cash-only.
Another thing to note about this is that tickets for the Pay-What-You-Can performances go on sale at 5 p.m., and since they are so cheap comparatively, there is always a long line. Plan to get there as close to 5 p.m. as possible to secure your seats.
Now, if you've navigated the Pay-What-You-Can performances correctly, you'll have gotten your tickets by about 5:30 p.m. Woolly Mammoth shows generally start around 8 p.m.
What to do until then? That's where the Oyamel happy hour kicks in.
401 7th St. NW
From 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can get $5 margaritas and two-for-$5 tacos. And though the addresses of these two joints would have you thinking they're unrelated, the restaurant and the theater are actually right next door to each other.
So, men of D.C., get you and your date some tickets, then scoot on over next door and have her meet you for margaritas and tacos while you wait for the show.
2 show tickets: $10
2 margaritas: $10
2 tacos: $10
Grand total: $30
For dinner and a show in the District, that's pretty good. And considering Woolly has artsy, non-traditional plays at their theater, you'll no doubt have a lot to discuss afterward.
The next Pay-What-You-Can performances are slated for May 28 and 29 for "Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play," so you've got plenty of time to plan!
*While the Pay-What-You-Can performances are by far the cheapest ways to see plays at Woolly Mammoth, they're not the only shows for the budget-conscious. Woolly also offers $20 seats for anyone age 30 and younger, Stampede Seats (about 10 balcony seats available first-come-first-serve for $15) and discounts for groups.