Review: Casa Luca is a Hidden Gem for Happy Hour
Casa Luca in downtown DC is an elegant place to escape crazy happy hour crowds where you can still enjoy good deals on drinks and light bites. Beyond happy hour, you can count on Casa Luca for seasonal frozen cocktails that are worth the splurge!
When We Went
Finding a bar during Friday night happy hour with indoor seating during August can be a tricky task. But I take happy hour very seriously so I was up to the challenge. I met my friend a little after 5pm. We were able to get two seats at the bar and saved one more for a third on the way. Within about 30 minutes, there were no seats left at the bar, which probably holds about 10 people.
Why Casa Luca?
Casa Luca offers happy hour from 4pm - 7pm daily at the bar and on their patio. I was coming from Southwest and my friend was coming from Dupont so I tried to find a place in the middle. Given the unbearable heat, I wanted a bar that served frosé but 2 Birds 1 Stone only has it on Tuesdays and the rest were outside of my geographic criteria for this particular happy hour. Knowing frose was beyond reach, I had spied some frozen and granita-like options on Casa Luca's Instagram that tipped the scales in their favor.
Refreshing Happy Hour Drinks & Summery Sips
After walking the two blocks from Metro Center, I was already melting again so I was ready for a cocktail right away. The Aperol Spritz ($7) was the perfect refreshment to combat the heat!
Although we loved our spritzes, the frozen slushie machine across from the bar was tantalizing my friend and me. After seeing us drool, the bartender offered us a sample of the drink, which was a frozen negroni. The third person who joined us was sold after one sip and opted for this regularly priced drink (during happy hour) because it was so good.
The drink I couldn’t pass up was the “Riviera” featuring grapefruit-rosemary infused vodka, limocello, campari granita and sparkling rose. At $15, this libation was an indulgence but a worthwhile one. I actually contemplated not getting it when I saw the price tag but I decided to rationalize my decision. I’m not going to take the time to make campari granita or to perfect a frozen negroni so I figured this was worth the splurge. (It was.) #treatyoself
Casa Luca is a good place for happy hour because it’s the full package. You’re going to get really good “pintxos” (snacks) to have along with your discounted drinks.
Fusilli Cacio e Pepe with Corkscrew Pasta, Black Pepper, Burrata Sheep’s Milk Cheese ($7)
Creamy, flavorful and just a few bites, this cup of comfort food was done right. I would go back just to eat this delightful pasta again!
Casa Luca Tuna Tartare
Light and fresh, the tuna was a great dish to snack on with our cocktails without being heavy.
Casa Luca Beef Tartare with Grilled Country Bread
Like the tuna, this delicate dish served in a mason jar was a good option on a hot day.
What to Skip
Pane & Olive with Grissini, Flatbread, Olives & Herbed Ricotta
There was nothing I disliked about this dish but it was not memorable and I think you get more with the tartare or the pasta.
Parmigiano Fritto with Parmesan “Churros,” Tomato Sugo Finto
I didn't get a chance to try these Parmesan bread sticks but I sure wouldn't pass them up next time!