Don't have the lightning-speed feet of Freddy Adu? Never fear: One type of soccer doesn't require any quick-stepping. Foosball (or, as the rest of the world knows it, "fussball") is a tabletop soccer game that's all in the wrist – you kick the ball into your opponent's goal by flicking lines of toy players back and forth. Where to play? These bars and restaurants boast tables for all ability levels, from foos-sharks to guppies.
The Barking Dog. 4723 Elm St., Bethesda. 301-654-0022. This suburban hot spot, minutes from the Bethesda Metro, offers dark wood, high tables and, Tuesday through Saturday nights, an upstairs bar area with $1-per-game foos. It's a true neighborhood hangout, with commuters dropping in before heading home and locals coming to unwind, and games are pretty casual.
(Nate Lankford - The Washington Post)
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Bistro du Coin. 1738 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-234-6969. If you like your foosball très chic, head to the upstairs of this friendly, boisterous French bistro, a favorite of Dupont locals. The unique table, a Bonzini, is a French import, with wooden players appropriately well-dressed in hand-painted red and blue uniforms. Balls are a quarter, and if you stick around to play into the wee hours, you may be privy to an impromptu serenade by the owner.
Crystal City Sports Pub. 529 S. 23rd St., Arlington. 703-521-8215. This oversize pub has TVs, billiard tables and tons of video games, as well as $2-a-game foosball tables – one upstairs and one down. While the crowd and bar staff are genial and laid-back, the same can't be said for all foos players. Weekly Tuesday tournaments (at 8 p.m.; arrive early to sign up) offer stiff competition, so brush up on your game before joining.
Froggy Bottom Pub. 2142 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-338-3000. Looking to relive your frat-house foosball glory days? This George Washington University favorite is the place. You won't find a "polite" game here – the entranceway table has been shut down a few times because of rough play – but if you need to blow off steam, the beer and $1 games will see you through.
Three Nine's Tavern. 7705 Washington Blvd., Jessup. 410-799-7851. The connoisseurs on the Maryland Foosball online forum (maryland.foosball.com) herald this Howard County tavern, family-run since 1962, as one of the best places to play. Don't bring your fancy duds – it's strictly a yuppie-free, boots-and-jeans joint. The foosball tournaments (held some Saturdays; call for details) are pretty competitive, but you can definitely get a lower-stakes game on one of the four tables another night of the week. And at 75 cents per turn, you can't beat the price.
Whitlow's on Wilson. 2854 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-276-9693. Abercrombie & Fitch wearers and the people who love them crowd into this Arlington staple. If you can wrangle one of the two foos tables (75 cents a game), you'll probably have a friendly audience of folks waiting to play. All levels are welcome, but if you're new, you may want to order a pitcher of beer to ease pre-game jitters. Kate Ghiloni