The Washington Post

Best college football bars

Fritz Hahn  |  Updated 05/15/2015

Looking for a place to root for your high-flying alma mater? Since so many people move to the D.C. area, certain bars have aligned themselves with particular college alumni groups, which can make for fun on Saturdays throughout the fall. Here's where the fans in the know go.


201 Bar

Washington, DC

Nebraska Cornhuskers meet at 201 Bar -- formerly known as Lounge 201 -- for food and drink specials. The basement bar has plenty of numerous flatscreen TVs and an upscale lounge atmosphere.


Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill

Arlington, VA

Virginia alumni cheer on their team at the spacious Clarendon bar, which has more than 50 TVs and a large rooftop deck.


BlackFinn American Saloon

Washington, DC

As the home of the University of Tennessee and Northwestern, the downtown branch of BlackFinn gets busy on Saturday afternoons. Thankfully, there are plenty of televisions and plenty of spirit to go around. The various schools' events include raffles, reserved seating and happy hour food and drink specials.


The Bottom Line

Washington, DC

A bar with its heart in the Midwest, the Bottom Line welcomes Purdue alumni on Saturdays as well as Cincinnati Bengals fans on Sundays. Both groups get priority seating and drink specials.


Buffalo Billiards

Washington, DC

"Hail to the Victors" lives at Buffalo Billiards on football Saturdays, as Michigan alumni storm the Dupont basement bar. Anyone sporting the school's maize and blue receives drink specials during the game.


Capitol Lounge

Washington, DC

This is little piece of Michigan on Capitol Hill: The Michigan State Spartans enjoy drink specials and football viewing on Saturdays. (So many Michigan natives started coming out that the bar now hosts Detroit Lions fans on Sunday afternoons.)


Crystal City Sports Pub

Arlington, VA

One of the area's largest sports bars, with more than 100 televisions over three sprawling floors, the Crystal City Sports Pub has made its name by attracting college alumni groups on Saturday afternoons, including the University of Southern California, Georgia and Louisville.

The bar shows so many games that the staff posts maps at the front door telling fans where to go to see each game. The best seats are on the third floor in front of three high-definition projection screens -- one measures 10 feet, the other two are eight feet -- and there's a game room with pool, darts and foosball for hanging out.


The Exchange

Washington, DC

While it's best known as a place for downtown office workers to grab a happy hour drink, the Exchange is also a good place to watch college and NFL football. Notre Dame fans are among the groups watching games on 26 TVs, including a 100-inch HD projection screen. Food and drink specials vary, depending on the teams playing, but often include "all you care to drink" deals.


Lou's City Bar

Washington, DC

Wisconsin and Boston College are among the groups watching football just steps from the Columbia Heights Metro. Multiple TVs are set up on the tented patio to allow crowds to enjoy the weather.


Mason Inn

Washington, DC

The Mason Inn is an "SEC-focused sports bar" that draws alumni groups from Ole Miss, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina to watch games on 12 flatscreen TVs and a 100-inch projection screen while partaking of pitcher and shot specials. Bands and DJs take the stage later in the night.


Mister Days Sports Rock Cafe

Arlington, VA

With more than 70 TVs -- including three huge projection screens -- Georgia Tech and Ohio State alumni should have no problem seeing their teams.


Old Dominion Brewhouse

Washington, DC

During college football season, The University of Alabama brings crowds of fans to the pub to watch games on 25 TVs, and the atmosphere goes from sedate to raucous. Alumni should show up early for raffles and other events, and brush up on the words to the fight song.


Penn Quarter Sports Tavern

Washington, DC

The two-story building is home to a number of alumni groups on Saturdays, including Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. There are 30 flatscreen TVs, all at least 55 inches. Doors open at 11 on Saturday mornings, and the best seats fill quickly.



Arlington, VA

Owned and operated by West Virginia alumni, the Arlington bar welcomes football fans for drinks and a "Country Roads" singalong on Saturdays.


Rhodeside Grill

Arlington, VA

It's a sea of burnt orange every Saturday in Arlington as the University of Texas's Longhorns gather for food and drink specials.


The Rhino Bar and Pumphouse

Washington, DC

The epitome of a college sports bar, Rhino Bar and Pumphouse draws official alumni groups from Ohio State and Penn State for Saturday game-watching gatherings, but it also draws students from nearby Georgetown and George Washington universities for ridiculously cheap food and drink deals, including 25-cent wings and $10 pitchers of domestic beer, which are offered during all NCAA games. If you're out of college and want to pretend you're back in school, this is the place.


Sign of the Whale

Washington, DC

The University of California Golden Bears and Syracuse Orange both cheer for their teams at this Midtown bar. It's not loaded with TVs, but there are some solid gameday specials, including $10 pitchers, $3 pints and $5 burgers.


Tommy Joe's

Bethesda, MD

Fans of the New England Patriots and the University of Michigan dominate at this special-heavy Bethesda bar.


Union Pub

Washington, DC

After years of sharing the Old Dominion Brewhouse with Alabama, D.C.'s Florida State alumni now watch games at Union Pub. The bar has 25 large flatscreen TVs. Try to get a seat on the patio in nice weather, as there are a few screens outdoors.


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