Super Bowl XLVIII: Broncos, Seahawks fans battle for viewing space at same D.C. bar


HANDOUT IMAGE: Seahawk fans outside the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern. Image provided by Corbin Small. Credit: Corbin Small (Corbin Small/Corbin Small)

No matter what teams make it to the Super Bowl, there are Washington bars that cater to their fans. On Sunday, Denver Broncos fans will head to Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, as they do throughout the regular season, while Seattle Seahawks fans plan to watch the game at their usual haunt — which also happens to be Penn Quarter Sports Tavern.

Two rabid groups, both of which want to take over the already-cramped space. Making this situation even more complicated: The two-level bar on Indiana Avenue NW has counted both teams among its key groups for years — since long before Peyton Manning arrived in Denver or Marshawn Lynch went into “Beast Mode” in Seattle. “As long as this place has been around, they’ve been around,” says Penn Quarter Sports Tavern owner Mike Brand. “It’s been really great to watch both [fanbases] grow year after year. . . . The last few weeks have been really tough.”

Where to watch the Super Bowl with cheap beer, free food and giant TVs

When Denver and Seattle appeared in their respective conference championships on Jan. 19, the scheduling arrangements would have challenged even the most accomplished logistics expert. Since Denver played in the afternoon game, its fans watched their team beat the Patriots in their usual spots at Penn Quarter Sports Tavern. Meanwhile, the Seahawks fans pregamed a block away in the basement of Hill Country.

Once the AFC championship was over, the Broncos fans vacated the bar, walking up Seventh Street to Iron Horse Tap Room, where they celebrated victory with Colorado beers. Meanwhile, the Seahawks fans arrived and filled the now-empty tables for their game against the San Francisco 49ers. “Fortunately, the groups were great and willing to cooperate,” Brand says. “But both groups are getting so large, and we don’t have room for both.”

On Super Bowl Sunday, Penn Quarter Sports Tavern plans to devote one floor to each team. Space will be limited, so the bar is taking the unusual step of charging a $20 admission fee. “It was the only way to control the crowd,” Brand says. That charge includes entry into halftime raffles on each floor for iPad Minis, Jagermeister machines, Capitals tickets, authentic jerseys and other prizes. Brand says that even with the $20 cover, he’s sure people will get left out, so he’s working with Hill Country and Iron Horse again to take the Seahawks and Broncos overflow. (If you want to take your chances, Penn Quarter Sports Tavern opens at 11 a.m. Sunday.)

These cozy arrangements won’t work for everyone, so a second group of Seattle fans has taken up residence at Hamilton’s Bar and Grill, closer to Union Station. Hamilton’s attracts University of Wisconsin alumni and Green Bay Packers fans in the fall, but the number of Seahawks fans has been growing every week, with 80 to 100 Seattle fans in the building for the NFC championship game. On Super Bowl Sunday, the bar will open at 11 a.m., with food and drink specials for Seattle fans.

Broncos fans looking for an alternative space can head for Stoney’s on P Street NW. A group of Denver fans has been meeting in the upstairs bar all season and is planning a Super Bowl party with food and drink specials. Doors open to the public at 4 p.m.

Penn Quarter sports Tavern

639 Indiana Ave. NW. 202-347-6666. www.dcsportstavern.com.

Hamilton’s bar and grill

233 Second St. NW.
202-347-6555. www.hamiltonsdc.com.

STONEY’S

1433 P St. NW.
202-234-1818. www.stoneys-dc.com.

Fritz Hahn has written about bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. A product of Prince George's County public schools, Fritz majored in journalism at the University of Maryland and lives in the District.
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