March Madness at the bars

Monday, March 14, 2011; 10:46 PM

 The first week of March Madness is always the craziest, with games tipping off from noon till late night. Whether you're planning on taking a long lunch to watch your favorite team or meeting up with college friends after work, many bars will be offering food and drink specials. Check out this list of old favorites and new spots with buzz.


Lou's City Bar

The new Columbia Heights sports bar is one of the few places in the city where you can watch the Madness al fresco: The bar's heated patio, with twin 42-inch plasma screens, will open at 11 a.m. Thursday and show basketball all afternoon. And if you're feeling Irish on St. Patrick's Day, they'll also be serving green beer and Irish goodies (corned beef sliders, for example) to make the opening day of the tourney feel even luckier.

1400 Irving St. NW. 202-518-5687.

Public Bar

If you work downtown and are planning on sneaking out of the office, the three-story Public Bar should be high on your list of destinations. (With good weather in the forecast, we're looking forward to watching games on the bar's rooftop deck.) Doors open at 11 a.m., and there will be food and drink specials during every game.

1214 18th St. NW. 202-223-2200.

Rhino Bar

As the D.C. home base for alumni of Ohio State, Penn State and Georgetown, Rhino Bar looks set to have a very busy March. The Georgetown sports bar will show all games on 25 flat-screens and a trio of 110-inch projection screens, and will offer plenty of budget-friendly deals, including $8 pitchers of Miller Lite and Coors Lite, $3 Jose Cuervo margaritas and $5 Red Bull-and-vodka drinks, plus 25-cent wings for snacking.

3295 M St. NW. 202-333-3150.


U Street's newest sports bar wants to be your March Madness destination, and not just during the games, either: The bar will serve $3 Bud and Bud Lights nonstop throughout the duration of the NCAA tournament. So even if you aren't a fan of college basketball on the bar's 18 flat-screens, at least you'll drink for cheap.

1334 U St. NW. 202-265-0708.



The Bethesda sports hot spot opens at 10:30 every morning for games, and features a special food and drink menu during all games. Snack on sliders, flatbread pizzas and wings, and sip on $3 draft beers or $4 rail drinks while watching 20 large-screen TVs.

4901 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda. 301-951-5681.

Union Jack's

What better way to celebrate March Madness than by flashing back to the days of drinking Red Dog, Icehouse or Schlitz? When college hoops are on, bartenders will randomly spin a wheel of beer. The "winner" will be sold for $2 a can until the next spin. Big spenders can opt for $10 pitchers of Bud Light or Miller Lite; everyone can nosh on 50-cent wings. (Note: These specials also apply at the Ballston Common branch.)

4915 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda. 301-652-2561.

4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-778-3568.


First Down Sports Bar and Grill

Ballston's top sports bar offers an array of wings - 40 flavors at last count - and serious drink specials: $3 Corona and Corona Light bottles, $4 24-ounce beer cans, $12.99 buckets of domestic beer and $19.99 beer towers, which hold 128 ounces of domestic suds. On Thursday, get all the wings you can eat for $14.99; you'll pay $9.99 for a platter of 15 during the rest of the tournament. Beyond the deals, there are 20 large-screen TVs and a game room with foosball, shuffleboard and other ways to waste time while you're waiting for your game to begin.

4213 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington. 703-465-8888.

- Fritz Hahn and Alex Baldinger

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