Where can you watch the Capitals play? Try these Washington area bars.

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By Fritz Hahn
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 16, 2010

As the Washington Capitals begin their playoff run with the best record in the NHL and dreams of a Stanley Cup parade along Pennsylvania Avenue, fans will be rocking the red at Verizon Center and packing bars to watch games on TV. At this time of the year, the last place you want to be cheering for Ovechkin, Backstrom and whoever the goalie is this week is on your couch.

If you're lucky enough to have tickets for home games -- and even if you're not -- you'll want to get pumped up at happy hour beforehand. And when the Caps are playing out of town, it's far more fun to be surrounded by people who care as much as you do. (Also, it's better to be in a place where you won't have to beg the bartender to switch from baseball or basketball over to the Caps game.)

Here are our recommendations for pregame gatherings near Verizon Center and bars hosting viewing parties. Want more choices? Check out our interactive map of hockey-friendly bars, which features comments and reviews from Twitter users.

Home games

Bar Louie

701 Seventh St. NW. 202-638-2460.

Mere steps separate this chain restaurant and the doors to Verizon Center. The pregame happy hour draws many fans, and it's easy to see why. All 20 of Bar Louie's draft beers are $3. All appetizers are half-price, which means $3 quesadillas, $4.50 Kobe hot dogs and $5 giant plates of nachos. The long list of house martinis, margaritas and mojitos is $7. And during the playoffs, there will be additional "beer tub" tables away from the main bar offering $3 specials.

Greene Turtle

601 F St. NW. 202-637-8889.

The closest bar to the ice is the Greene Turtle, inside Verizon Center. It's a sea of red shirts before and after home games, and even at many intermissions. (You can leave your seat, get your hand stamped and hit the Turtle's bar instead of an overpriced concession stand.) To speed the ordering process, there's a satellite bar selling $5.50 cans of beer, but I'd rather get a 22-ounce draft of Virginia's Starr Hill IPA from the main counter, which comes in a red souvenir cup, for $8.50. Looking for a bargain? In April and May, Dos Equis drafts are $4 and bottles are $3.

Iron Horse Tap Room

507 Seventh St. NW. 202-347-7665.

The Iron Horse's extended happy hour -- $2 off all draft beers and $5 rail drinks from daily from 4 to 8 p.m.-- makes it a good place to head before home games. With room for almost 300 people on two levels, it's a prime destination for groups.

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern

639 Indiana Ave. NW. 202-347-6666.

If you're going to Verizon Center, the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern's game-day special is a no-brainer: Show your ticket for that day's game and you get a buy-one, get-one-free deal on the house Rockin' Red Ale. (You can only do this once, as the staff puts a little star on the ticket.) The deal is valid before or after the game. (After your first round, it's $5 a pint or $16 a pitcher.)

R.F.D.

810 Seventh St. NW. 202-289-2030.


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