The main problem with going to Redskins football games is that you can't. Unless you're one of the fortunate few with season tickets, which are scarcer than free parking spaces a block from the office.
The unfortunate many have to settle for Redskins games on TV, which is fine where entire households are united in addiction to Redskin watching. Some households are not, which may well be the reason attempts to impose Sunday bar closing laws here consistently fail.
Television has been blamed by some sociologists for the demise of the traditional neighborhood saloon with its regular patrons, friendships and continuing disputes and feuds. Television is bringing it back here as more and more saloonkeepers are capitalizing on Redskins fever by featuring TV sets tuned into the games.
"But there's something about being in the stadium - the atmosphere, the roar of the crowd," objects True Fan.
That argument is now as empty as the feeling in Jack Pardee's stomach after a loss. In a small bar or restauant the crowd atmosphere is even more intimate and intense than at RFK. There is the same noise, analysis of plays and (mostly) good natured second guessing.
By scouting your local bar and restaurant scene carefully, you can get as much enjoyment for considerably less money. Very small, very informal places like the old Vienna Inn at 120 W. Maple Ave. (938-9548), which features chili dogs, beer and occasional visits by Billy Kilmer, might cost you less that $10. If you have a date and you want more formal sandwich and drink, you might try a place like Rumors at 1900 M St. NW (466-7378) and enjoy yourselves for about $20.
The dating crowd should also consider these advantages of watching on a screen rather than at the stadium - if you're at the stadium with a date and the game gets boring, what's to do? There's so much game atmosphere, it's hard to escape. In a restaurant, however, at your own table, those boring little lapses, or just the commercials, are perfect opportunities for forays into other topics - music, art, basketball . . .
Some bars have been installed giant screens - Pierce Street Annex Drinking Establishment at 1210 19th St. NW (466-4040) or Joe Theismann's at Bailey's Cross-roads in Virginia (379-7777). Theismann's is a small, friendly place where the Redskin quarterback himself often shows up after home games to chat with admirers and critics alike.
It's a good idea a day or two before game day to check out the atmosphere of places you're interested in. Test the view of the screen from various locations. Get an idea of how friendly the waiters, waitresses and bartenders are. On game day leave umbrella and thermos of hot coffee at home. And have a few laughs on season ticketholders as you watch the slow-mo replays and beat the traffic home.
Some other bars that are geared to Redskins games on TV, which of course you would want to avoid if you're strenuously anti-football:
CHADWICKS - 3205 K St. NW. 333-2565.
MR. SMITH'S - 3104 M St. NW. 333-3104.
BASSIN'S GW INN - 832 20th St. NW. 331-9430.
BEODWULF PUB - 1112 20th St. NW. 296-4111.