Unlike the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics are not must-see TV in local sports bars: You won’t find many open at 7:30 a.m. to show the U.S. men’s hockey team’s first-round games, as you certainly would during soccer’s World Cup.
But while the events might not offer the same level of appointment viewing, bars and restaurants will still hop on the Olympic bandwagon by offering discounts during prime viewing hours or serving ridiculous “Olympic cocktails” for the next few weeks. These are some of the best, and we'll update this list as we hear of more.
Russian restaurant and lounge Mari Vanna usually shows vintage (and oddly compelling) Russian cartoons on its TVs, but during the Olympics, they will be given over to the games. The party starts Friday night with free vodka shots and free piroshkis, or Russian pierogies, from 6 to 9 p.m. in honor of the opening ceremonies. Food from the Sochi region — including khachapuri, a cheese-filled Georgian bread that resembles pizza, and shish kabob platters — will be featured through Feb. 23.
Mari Vanna isn’t the only place to offer Russian-themed drinks: the Loews Madison Hotel is offering a spicy variation on the Moscow Mule for the duration of the games. (Yes, the Moscow Mule was invented in Los Angeles in the 1940s. Let’s not be too pedantic.) Russian Standard vodka, Fever Tree ginger beer, lime juice and a house-made peppercorn syrup are combined over a mountain of ice in a traditional copper mug for $10.
The Redline sports bar across from the Verizon Center will show tape-delayed Olympic hockey games on 50 TVs and an 11-foot projection screen, U.S. men’s games will have full sound throughout the bar. During the opening and closing ceremonies, the hockey "Game of the Day" and all figure skating event finals, specials include 20 percent off appetizers, $3 Bud Light drafts, $5 Fireball shots and $6 glasses of wine.
Bugsy’s – the area’s best hockey bar – will be open for all three of Team Canada’s first-round games, which begin at noon. Bugsy’s will also show the U.S. games when they’re shown in primetime. During all Olympic coverage, the bar will offer half-price appetizers, plus $3 draft beers and $3.50 bottles.
Hotel bars Topaz Bar and Bar Rouge make their drinks cheaper when the U.S. wins. At Topaz, every U.S. gold medal won that day means $1 off your happy hour tab. Deals include $4 draft beers, $7 wines and discounted wings and mac and cheese from 5 to 8 p.m. nightly. The specials are even easier to calculate at the sleek Rouge: If the U.S. wins a gold medal that day, all food is 10 percent off from 8 to 10 p.m.
Mexico has one competitor in these Sochi games: 55-year-old skier Prince Hubertus Von Hohenlohe, a Mexican-born German prince, photographer and pop singer who wears a ski uniform that resembles a mariachi outfit. This will be Von Hohenlohe’s sixth Olympics representing Mexico, and though he has never finished higher than 26th in a race, hope springs eternal at MXDC. If Von Hohenlohe wins a medal in the slalom on Feb. 22, everyone in the restaurant receives a free tequila shot and a Dos Equis. If he doesn’t win, well, Dos Equis is $3 for the duration of the games.
With 22 high-definition TVs, including projection screens ranging from 15 to 22 feet, Penn Social is an obvious place to watch the Olympics – especially with $4 Bud Light and $5 Jack Daniels for the duration of the games. But the day to go is to see the Czech Republic play Switzerland in ice hockey at noon Feb. 15: Penn Social is going to be the first bar in the country to have Czechvar Dark Lager on draft, so they’re working on a special event with the Czech embassy. There’s no cover charge, but there will be specials.
The Graham in Georgetown is better known for its rooftop bar than its lower-level restaurant and bar. Here's one reason you might want to get acquainted with it: A free "Gold Medal Shot" or glass of prosecco every time the U.S. wins a gold medal. They're also making a "Sochi Martini" with Russian Standard vodka and fresh caviar.
Wish you were an Olympic athlete? The bar at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel is hosting Wii U sports competitions on the night of the opening ceremonies, and again Feb. 12 and Feb. 19, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Food and drink specials (boozy snowcones!) are on the menu, along with a 14 percent discount for anyone wearing red, white and blue.
Chant "U-S-A! U-S-A!" as loud as you want at either Capitol City Brewing Company location. Wearing red, white and blue during weekday lunch (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday) is worth 15 percent off any menu item. Sadly, beer is not included.
Nellie's Sports Bar will be showing the opening ceremonies Friday night, followed by a dance party with DJ Matt Bailer. (The opening ceremony falls during the usual beat-the-clock happy hour, which runs until 8 p.m.) They'll continue to show the Olympics all the way through the closing ceremony.