Hungover at Hard Times Cafe

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to grab some brews and a bite to eat with a couple of friends visiting from out of town. We were looking for greasy, comfort, bar food since some of us had partied a little too hard the night before, so we went to the best spot in Arlington, VA in my opinion: Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon.

Hard Times is a great sports bar in general- it was renovated about a year back and has a giant upstairs now with tons of TVs. It’s a really popular VA Tech bar and it can get a little too crowded on game days.

It also happens to be the BEST spot for hangover food and general bar food in general in Arlington. Hard Times is famous for their chili and chili mac. Our server treated us w a sampler of the restaurant’s four chilis: Texas, Cincinnati, Terlingua, and Vegetarian. The Texas is the spiciest followed by the Terlingua. The Cincinnati happened to be my favorite of the four, with finely-ground beef and amazing cinnamon spices. The vegetarian wasn’t really my thing, but I thought it was nice that they at least had the option– it uses soy instead of meat. None of the chilis have beans in them (kind of nice for digestive reasons….).

Aside from chili in a bowl, you can also get your choice of chili served with pasta and cheese, known as “chili-mac”- a truly fantastic creation in my opinion. The chili-mac have three-way, four-way and five-way options (spaghetti, cheese, chili, onions, and beans as the options). I STRONGLY recommend this dish to anyone struggling after a night out. Other chili options include the Chili Bubba (cornbread, tomatoes, onions, cheese, chili), Frito Chili Pie (fritos in a bowl with chili, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, onions), and Chili Tators (tator tots smothered in chili and fixings) for those more adventurous and perhaps less gastronomically challenged individuals.

Hard Times also has excellent wings (various sauce options) and amazing chili cheese fries (loaded fries) and nachos. I also recommend ordering carry-out for Sunday football games and the Superbowl.  The one con about this place is the parking blows (there’s a garage across the street that’s pretty pricey), but it is metro accessible at least.

I believe Hard Times Cafe really might hold the secret for a hangover cure!