Young and Hungry

Daytime Drinkin': The Tune Inn’s Eternal Happy Hour

Capitol Hill's Tune Inn bar opens at 8 a.m. every day of the week, serving breakfast and drinks to the neighborhood's early risers. At 10 a.m. this morning, nobody was there to eat.

Three regulars sit at the bar—a Budweiser, a Whiskey, and a Screwdriver. Each patron comes in about two—okay, three—times a week for a daytime drink. They're all throwing back drinks in celebration of the Tune Inn's eternal Happy Hour, which stretches from eight in the morning until four the next, depending on your work schedule.

The Screwdriver, a nurse, just got let off her night shift at a local hospital. After working from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., she came to the Tune Inn to enjoy her morning nightcap. "This is my Happy Hour," she says. "For me, it feels like it's ten at night." The Screwdriver, 26, says she's been trying to get her fellow nurses to join her at the bar—a popular joint for other night-shifters like firefighters, police officers, and bartenders—since she discovered its early hours. "I've been working at my job for four years, and I just found this place a year ago," she says. It's perfect: "It's the only place open when I get off," she says.

The Whiskey, who works as a bartender down the street at the Hawk 'N Dove, says his Happy Hour is dictated by the Screwdriver—he lives with her. "I get off at 4 a.m., but I'll stay up until she gets home," he says. Then, he'll move a couple doors down to the Tune Inn to sit for a while on the other side of the bar. He started off with a screwdriver, too, before moving to a "VO and diet." "This is the only place I know open this early, except for in the airport," says the Whiskey, 24. "We're just Americans bitching about this shit—think about the people who have the big-time layovers and really need a drink."

The Budweiser, a 33-year-old consultant, is also enjoying his Happy Hour. "I—sort of work," he says—and a consultant's Happy Hour is whenever the consultant wants. "I live downtown, and I just come here sometimes in the mornings to shake off with a little hair of the dog," he says.

Bonnie, the bartender serving up today's daytime drinks, is the only one who can't claim a 10 a.m. Happy Hour—she's still working. But after her shift, she sometimes heads over to the Hawk 'N Dove. "I prefer to get drunk where I don't work," she says. "That's my Happy Hour."