Shutdown specials: DC-area deals for furloughed government workers

EDITOR’S NOTE: President Donald Trump announced Jan. 25 he would sign a bill temporarily reopening the government and ensuring back pay for federal employees. It’s unclear if and how long the shutdown deals will remain in effect.

WASHINGTON — From food and drinks to free activities, government employees in the D.C. area have a number of deals to choose from during the partial government shutdown.

Things to do

The Harlem Globetrotters are offering two free tickets to the 2019 Fan Powered North American tour for furloughed workers. Just show a valid government ID at the box office.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at Stonebridge in Prince William County is offering free movies to federal employees throughout January.

Anytime Fitness locations in Poolesville, Maryland, and Kensington, Maryland, are offering 14 days free for furloughed workers, which includes access to fitness classes and private fitness consultation.

The Audubon Naturalist Society has free memberships available for furloughed workers. But, if you’re already a member and a furloughed employee, there are free extensions on membership renewals. Also, free “Yoga in the Woods” and guided sanctuary tours. Get the full details here.

Government workers that need to sweat it out can try an indoor cycling class at the CYCLED studio in Silver Spring or try the Cycling, Barre or Yoga Sculpt class at the Takoma Park location. Furloughed feds should use the code “SweatItOut@CYCLED!” to sign up and flash a government ID at the check-in desk.

Burns Heating & Air says it will help furloughed workers stay warm in the freezing weather with furnace repair. The company, which serves Loudoun and Fairfax counties in Virginia, is offering a payment plan allowing furloughed workers to pay their bills whenever the government reopens. Call 540-208-5660, or text and call 703-884-7130, and have a pay stub and government ID ready.

Michael and Son is doing something similar, offering furloughed employees six months of no payments on plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling repairs carried out while they go without a paycheck.

Zengo Cycle is offering $10 off-peak (7:15 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 12 p.m.) walk-in classes plus free shoe rentals for all government employees who can show a valid federal ID. (You can’t pre-book with the $10 deal). Valid at all five studios where off-peak classes are offered.

Local sports teams are helping furloughed federal employees too by stepping up to ease some financial burdens and offer free tickets.

Have a child with an upcoming birthday party? Let’s Make A Face offers face painting, balloons and glitter tattoos, and government workers affected by the shutdown can defer their payments until 45 days after the government reopens.

The Smithsonian museums are closed, but the Woodrow Wilson House, on S Street in Northwest, which usually closes for January, has decided to stay open (except Mondays), with free admission for federal workers.

The National Building Museum, at 401 F St. Northwest, and President Lincoln’s Cottage, at 140 Rock Creek Church Road Northwest, have the same deal.

The National Law Enforcement Museum is also offering free admission to federal employees with a valid ID.

And the Newseum, at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW is offering free admission to federal workers who show their badges.

Food and drinks

Carmine’s Family Style Italian Restaurant will offer a free family supper for furloughed federal workers at its Penn Quarter location on Jan. 27. Seating is limited and reservations for the 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m seating are required. Reservations may be made by calling 202-737-7770 or in person with the host staff.

UNO’s Pizzeria & Grill in Union Station in D.C. is offering furloughed feds a free individual pizza for lunch every weekday until the shutdown is over.

Fiona’s Irish Pub, at 5810 Kingstowne Center in Alexandria, is providing free dinner to families of furloughed workers and contractors every Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m.

The nonprofit World Central Kitchen, founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres, is offering federal employees affected by the shutdown a free meal between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. All you have to do is show your government ID. World Central Kitchen is located at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest D.C. Andres also announced plans to expand the #ChefsForFeds campaign across the country.

Panini Market at 1927 Old Gallows Road in Vienna, Virginia, is offering free meals to federal workers and their families affected by the shutdown. Bring your federal ID to the restaurant on Jan. 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to get your free meal.

The Sunnyside Restaurant Group, which owns Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza is offering furloughed employees free meals starting Jan 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Good Stuff Eatery’s Capitol Hill location is offering a free farmhouse burger, snack fry and soda; We, the Pizza is offering a slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza and a soda; and Santa Rosa Taqueria is offering a chicken taco, tortilla chips and homemade salsa along with a buy-one-get-one Sauza Margarita.

D.C. will offer free lunch during the shutdown to kids 18 and younger on Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. at 10 Parks and Recreation Department locations:

  • Ward 1: Rita Bright Family and Youth Center (2500 14th St. NW)
  • Ward 4: Emery Heights Community Center (5701 Georgia Ave. NW)
  • Ward 5: Harry Thomas Recreation Center (1743 Lincoln Road NE); Joseph H. Cole Recreation Center (1299 Neal St. NE)
  • Ward 6: King Greenleaf Recreation Center (201 N St. SW)
  • Ward 7: Benning Park Community Center (Southern Avenue and Fable Street SE); Benning Stoddert Community Center (100 Stoddert Place SE); Hillcrest Recreation Center (3100 Denver St. SE)
  • Ward 8: Bald Eagle (100 Joliet St. SW); Barry Farm (1230 Sumner Road SE)

The Crystal City Business Improvement District — in partnership with JBG Smith, the Consumer Technology Association, Gates Hudson, We Companies and Eastern Foundry — will offer free lunch to federal workers with a valid government ID from Tuesday, Jan. 22 to Friday, Jan. 25. One local restaurant per day will participate. See the full list of participating restaurants.

Through Jan. 23 or until the shutdown ends, any government employee can receive one complimentary Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs and Spaghetti entree from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at any Macaroni Grill location nationwide. Just show credentials (federal ID) while dining in.

All Gregorys Coffee locations — 1000 Vermont Ave., 1147 20th St., 1900 L St. and 1101 Connecticut Ave., all in Northwest — are offering a free 12-ounce cup of coffee to all federal workers with ID.

Healthy Fresh Meals is offering five free meals each to the first 150 feds, and 25 percent off for all federal workers, who email them at a special address they’ve set up for the purpose.

Starting Friday, Jan. 11, Punch Bowl Social in Arlington is offering a 25 percent discount on all food, beverages and games to all feds.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe is offering free desert or appetizers during afternoons, Monday through Friday as well as happy hour all day to government workers who show proper ID.

At Ted’s Bulletin, government workers can get happy hour prices on draft beer, wine and cocktails all day Monday through Friday with government ID.

At Taco Bamba’s Chinatown location, furloughed government employees can show their ID to get one complimentary traditional taco per day.

Little Havana, located at 3704 14th St. Northwest, is offering federal workers a chance to unwind with half off all drinks until the shutdown is resolved. Just show your government ID.

Commissary, at 1443 P St. Northwest, offers Bottomless Mondays to Fridays. Show your government ID to get endless mimosas and Bloody Marys for $15 during the shutdown. Weekends not included.

Urbana is offering their popular combo special — a margherita pizza and happy hour beer for $10 — to all federal employees any time, any day of the week during the government shutdown.

At Across the Pond, located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, show your federal government ID to get 10 percent off your check. The shutdown deal doesn’t apply to in-house specials.

Baked by Yael, across from the National Zoo, is offering free coffee for federal workers and contractors, as well as free bagel sandwiches or small orders of soup each weekday to the workers who are going without pay to care for the animals at the zoo. Both offers hold while supplies last. They’re also offering free cake pop classes for federal workers and contractors.

In Northwest DC, Radiator is offering a complimentary cocktail, the Furlough Fix, to all federal employees during the government shutdown. They are also bringing back the Burger-Beer-Shot combo for $22, and will donate $2 from each combo to a federal agency affected by the shutdown.

During their lunch service, Firefly is offering a percentage off the entire bill for federal employees that is commensurate with the length of the government shutdown (e.g. 21% off on Day 21, 22% off on Day 22, etc.) through the end of January. Extended happy hour will also be offered to federal employees during dinner service.

Capitol Lounge, located a few blocks from the Capitol, unveiled a list of cocktails on Twitter. They started offering $5 drink specials for thirsty patrons on Dec. 22, when government funding officially ran out. Cocktails such as “Nothing Really Mattis” (Mad Dog 20/20 and Vodka) and “Mexico Will Pay for This” (Montezuma Blue tequila, orange juice and grenadine) are a part of the drink menu.

Chef Jose Andres has also offered free sandwiches during lunch for government employees at each of his D.C. restaurants until they get paid again.

Catch 22, a new seafood restaurant in Brightwood, is offering 15 percent off the final bill for all federal workers during the shutdown. The only catch? The deal doesn’t apply during happy hour.

Carmine’s in downtown D.C. is offering a free order of meatball sliders for federal employees from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. They will also have their happy hour menu available all day long at their bar for as long as the shutdown lasts. To top it off, they will have a “hard times cocktail” (Campari, bourbon, orange juice, simple syrup) available.

City Tap in Penn Quarter is offering extended happy hour from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily during the shutdown. Deals include select $5 draft beers, $6 house wine and $7 beer and shot combos.

District Doughnut — with locations on 8th Street in Southeast, in Cady’s Alley in Georgetown and at The Wharf — is offering free coffee to federal workers with any purchase as long as the shutdown lasts.

The Brighton at The Wharf is offering 10 percent off for anyone who shows their federal ID.

Pennsylvania 6 (1350 Eye St. Northwest) is offering a special happy hour, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. while the shutdown lasts. The specials include $5 mixed drinks, a draft beer and a house wine.

City Winery, in Ivy City in Northeast D.C., has $1 glasses of its own City Winery wines on tap. The deal is available for those who have a government ID.

Paisano’s Pizza is offering a free 10 inch, 1 topping pizza to all federal government employees for the duration of the shutdown at all 40 of their locations around the area.

Chatter, the restaurant and bar in Northwest D.C., part-owned by Tony Kornheiser and former University of Maryland Basketball coach Gary Williams, is offering 15 percent off entrees.

The Federalist Pig is offering a free drink with any purchase for federal government employees with a valid ID.

Other resources

Banks and credit unions are offering federal employees assistance. Here is the list of banks helping out. Here is the list of credit unions offering assistance.

The Virginia Hospital Center has created a financial assistance policy to help federal employees who are struggling to pay their medical bills. Workers affected by the shutdown can contact the hospital’s counseling department at 703-558-2492 to arrange a manageable payment plan.


American University’s Airlie Center in Fauquier County, Virginia, is also offering complimentary buffet meals during the shutdown. You’ll need your government ID to be seated. See Airlie’s Facebook page for a list of when free meals are being offered. You can also email

Beginning Jan. 14 until the end of the shutdown, Loudoun County Transit fares will be waived for federal workers who present a valid government ID when boarding a bus.

The Metropolitan Wellness Center, at 409 8th Street Southeast, on Capitol Hill, is offering all federal workers who show proof of employment 20 percent off all non-flower cannabis products for the duration of the shutdown.

Washington Gas is offering potentially cash-strapped federal employees a range of flexible options for paying their bills during the shutdown. The options range from a 12-month budget plan to deferring payments, altogether.

The Fairfax County Connector is also offering free rides to federal employees with valid ID.

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