Editors' pick

Grevey's

Sports Bar, College Scene, Patio/Rooftop
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Editorial Review

Kevin Grevey's Kentucky Wildcats lost to UCLA in the 1975 NCAA final, but he went on to lift the NBA championship trophy with the Washington Bullets in 1978. Reminders of that seminal event are everywhere inside the restaurant that bears his name, but the whole place is a temple to professional sports.

The foyer is filled with memorabilia, including Grevey's old Bullets jersey (No. 35), autographed hockey sticks, old football cleats and baseball bats. Inside, dark wood and brass are the cornerstones of the decor. Autographed jerseys, including those of Bruce Smith, Doug Flutie and Deion Sanders, hang in glass cases. Old basketball-related newspaper headlines and stories are stuck to the walls, along with huge black-and-white photos.

Televisions flicker from every direction; there are more than 20 of varying sizes behind the extra-long bar alone, and a total of 65 throughout the restaurant, including several extra-large screens. On Sunday afternoon, college basketball, the PGA tour, the NBA, ESPN News, NASCAR and interactive trivia games were running on adjacent TVs.

Every menu features a drawing of an NBA championship ring sitting atop a striped Bullets jersey, lest you forget that it's possible for a Washington basketball team to win it all, let alone make the playoffs.

Buffalo Bills fans make Grevey's their home during football season, devouring the tasty buffalo wings and singing after touchdowns. Happy hour and non-game nights find the bar full of couples feeding dollars into the Internet jukebox, drinking beers and acting like it's just another neighborhood place. During the summer, crowds pack the covered outdoor patio, which has a large bar, several TVs and plenty of seating.

But March is when Grevey's really shines. It's one of the biggest magnets for Northern Virginia college basketball fans and, more importantly, large, spirited groups of alumni who gather to root for their alma mater. Grevey's works hard to win their loyalty and often donates a percentage of sales to school scholarship funds or to a targeted charity.

The University of Kentucky is naturally one of the bar's biggest patrons, but fans of Penn State, Connecticut, Louisville, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Florida State also gather in nooks around the saloon-style restaurant. There are enough televisions for everyone, even when games are played simultaneously, but arriving early to stake out seats is a good idea.

-- Fritz Hahn (March 4, 2005)