Where to Watch Football
Friday, September 7, 2007; 12:00 PM
Whether you're looking for big screens, big crowds or big discounts on food and drinks, our football guide can help. We'll be updating the listings throughout the season, so keep checking back for the latest deals and news.
Home to alumni from Louisiana State University and Arkansas, as well as fans of the NFL's Carolina Panthers, the small Capitol Hill watering hole has three plasma screens and five smaller screens over two levels. (Note that the speakeasy-themed basement is open Saturday, but not Sunday.) Drink specials include $10 Budweiser pitchers, $5 plates of wings and $3 Bud and Bud Light bottles.
Seeking to fill a niche in the saturated sports bar market, the 51st State declared itself the home of New York teams, which includes the Bills as well as the Giants and Jets. Though it doesn't have as many flatscreens as some of its competitors, the two-story Irish pub has some pretty decent deals during NFL games. On Sundays, it's $1.50 hot dogs and $12 buckets of Budweiser from 12:30 to 4; $5 burgers from 4 to 11; then drink specials from 7 to close, including $2.75 Amber Ale, $5 wine by the glass and $6 martinis. (The latter two change every week.) Monday Night Football is also 50 Cent Taco Night, with discounted snacks from 4 to 11. Budweiser and Bud Light drafts and bottles are $2.75 all night.
When you stop to think about it, most of the cool bars on H Street NE don't have televisions: Rock and Roll Hotel, Granville Moore's, the Red and the Black, the Palace of Wonders. This makes the Argonaut the default destination for football viewing, so good thing it's a comfy neighborhood bar with a large patio and 10 TVs over two levels. Specials include $8 pitchers of Bud Light and $10 pitchers of the house Booty Ale, plus half-price wings. Doors open at 11 a.m. on Sunday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse
So you're proud of the picture on your new 50-inch HD screen? Bah. That's a beginner TV. When the Redskins or Hokies are playing, the Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse shows the games on a larger-than-life movie screen. There's no cover charge, but the best seats go quickly. Doors generally open 30 minutes to an hour before kickoff.
The Bottom Line
Hope springs eternal at D.C.'s only "official" Bengals bar. Cheer on Carson Palmer and the Big Cats with bowls of Cincinnati Three-Way Chili and Miller Lite specials -- $10 for a bucket of six bottles, or $2.50 each -- while watching on 11 screens. On Monday nights, the specials include $2.50 Coors and $3.50 Leinenkugel. Keeping with the Midwest theme, the Bottom Line is the gathering spot for Purdue alumni, who get $3.50 baskets of wings and $10 buckets of six Bud Lights. (Again, they're $2.50 each if you order solo.)
The primary draw at Buffalo Billiards will always be the 29 pool tables, numerous dart boards or the long, sand-covered shuffleboard table, but on weekends, the subterranean pool hall transforms into a surprisingly hot destination for football fans. More than two dozen plasma TVs are scattered around Buffalo's multiple rooms, including six 10-foot high-definition screens, so a game is almost always in sight. Specials include $2.75 Miller Light and $3.50 Yuengling drafts. If your group wants to reserve some seats near a screen, call a few days in advance to make reservations.
Caddies on Cordell
Bethesda's top sports bar has a golf theme -- check out the pin flags that cover the ceiling -- but the 30 televisions are tuned to football on Sunday. Specials include $10 pitchers of domestic beer and $15 pitchers of imports. A large street-level patio and a second-story balcony make Caddies the place to be when the weather's fine.
With 16 TVs, Clarendon Grill is in the middle of the Arlington sports-viewing pack: Not overloaded like Mister Days, not skimping on screens like most Irish pubs. Domestic bottles are $2 from noon to 6 on Sunday.
Cleveland Park Bar and Grill
Unlike last football season, the TV-laden Cleveland Park Bar and Grill has deigned to offer drink specials on weekends in 2007. From noon to 7 on Saturday and Sunday, 20-ounce mugs of Miller Lite, Yuengling or the house amber ale are $5.75. (There are no food specials to go with them). On Monday, Bud and Bud Light are $3.50 from 10 until close, and burgers and wings are half-price all night. There are 23 televisions -- three are on the tented rooftop deck -- including 50-inch plasmas.
Crystal City Sports Pub
Washington's best sports bar (according to washingtonpost.com readers) has gotten bigger and better for this football season. A new third floor has 40 televisions, including many flatscreens, to go with the dozen on the second floor and 50 on the main levels. Oh, and I almost forgot there are TVs on both levels of the patio, too. (Yes, there are two stories of outdoor seating.) With all the packages, the Sports Pub can pretty much get any game being shown, and there's a good chance there's an alumni group there watching it. From North Carolina to Tennessee to Oklahoma to pre-season #1 USC, there are more college sports fans here than any other bar in the area. Doors open at 8 a.m., and if you aren't in a seat at least an hour before kickoff, you might not get one. (Groups can call ahead to make reservations.) There are appetizer specials on game days, and the occasional drink specials, but don't count on much.
Finn Mac Cool's
It's a feast of football every Sunday at Finn Mac Cool's, with an all-you-can-eat buffet of tailgate favorites like wings, chicken tenders and hot dogs served up from noon to 7, and $2 Coors Light beers all day. Gamers can enjoy Madden '08 tournaments, too. (Oh, and the games are on a 106-inch high-definition projection screen, and a quartet of plasma TVs.) For early games on Saturday and Sunday, the bar offers a brunch with bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys from 11 to 3, but also serves more pigskin-friendly selections: $3 Miller Lite and Yuengling pints and $11 pitchers until 5, and $5 plates of wings, mozzarella sticks, chili cheese fries, taquitos and other appetizers until 8. On Mondays, there are $4.50 seasonal pint specials, like Sierra Nevada's Anniversary Ale. Besides food, the upstairs bar has a pool table, shuffleboard table, foosball and dart boards.