Top sports bars in the District, Maryland and Virginia

Bartender Nicole Knox pours drafts at the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern.
Bartender Nicole Knox pours drafts at the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern. (Photo By Fritz Hahn - The Washington Post)
By Fritz Hahn
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 3, 2010

Most college football teams kick off their seasons this weekend (notably, Maryland takes on Navy and Virginia Tech challenges Boise State on Monday). And the NFL returns Thursday night. We've got detailed guides to the area's top sports bars and places to watch college games with alumni on But here, I'm making it simple and picking six places to watch big games this season -- three for college, three for the pros.

The District

College: Penn Quarter Sports Tavern

639 Indiana Ave. NW. 202-347-6666. If you're looking to be surrounded by rabid college sports fans, Penn Quarter Sports Tavern is the city's best bet. From Georgia to TCU, Arkansas to LSU and even Kansas State to Connecticut, the unassuming two-story sports bar is home to an array of alumni groups. (It's cramped, too: There are only 19 flat-screen TVs, including three on the tented/heated patio, but alums don't mind crowding around their designated TVs to cheer.)

Plastic helmets cover the walls in the upstairs bar, including college and pro teams -- apt, because Penn Quarter welcomes out-of-town NFL fan groups, including the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, on Sundays.

Still, college football on Saturdays is the bar's bread-and-butter, with cheering crowds and the occasional pep rally (with cheerleaders and bands) outside. Food and drink specials are just gravy.

NFL: Buffalo Billiards

1330 19th St. NW. 202-331-7665.

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