The number of Nationals fan bars continues to grow. It's not just Duffy's, which somehow drew two dozen fans for a spring training game in March. It's also places like DC Reynolds, which offers free shots of whiskey to anyone wearing Nats gear when Bryce Harper jacks a home run; and Iron Horse Tap Room, where a ticket stub from that day's home game is good for a 20 percent postgame discount.
Not a Nats fan? So many people living in Washington grew up elsewhere, bars have stepped up to provide these fans with places to congregate, cheer and gripe.
In Washington, a bar's team affiliation is almost always tied to one of two things: The hometown of its owner or manager, and which groups of college alumni or other pro sports fans meet there. Of the four partners at Ivy & Coney in Shaw, for example, two hail from Chicago and another is from Detroit. That's why murals of both Harry Caray and Sparky Anderson adorn the walls, and Cubs and Tigers games take priority on TVs.
Alumni creep can be seen at Capitol Lounge, a die-hard Michigan State bar that has also become a hangout for Tigers fans. Something similar happened at the Bottom Line, which was home to Purdue University alumni and Cincinnati Bengals fans before a Cincinnati Reds group was organized there last year. We've sorted some of the best-known bars by team. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of another place that should be listed here.
It figures that Mason Inn, the biggest SEC bar in the area, would also show the South's most successful baseball team. Co-owner Fritz Brogan says that his Glover Park bar began organizing viewing parties for the Braves after requests from members of the various alumni groups that meet there to watch college football, including the University of Georgia, the University of South Carolina and Ole Miss – all located in the heart of Braves Country. Pitchers of Bud Light cost $9 during games.
Nanny O'Brien's general manager Brian Leonard hails from Aberdeen, Md. -- the town where the Ripken brothers grew up. When he took a job at Nanny's five years ago, he set about turning the place into a Baltimore Orioles bar. The scheme didn't really take off until the Birds made a playoff run in 2012, and Leonard started offering $2 Natty Boh cans and $4 Flying Dog beers during games. Those deals have become an annual tradition, beginning in September and continuing into the playoffs. Even during early season games, folks wearing orange-and-black hats watch games at the bar and take advantage of nightly specials, including 50 cent wings on Wednesday and $4 craft beer cans on Thursday.
The Orioles are supported at a number of other bars in D.C. Both Ventnor Sports Cafe and the Pug offer 16-ounce cans of Natty Boh decorated with Orioles colors, as seen at Camden Yards. (The Pug also boasts a large painting of the Oriole bird on one wall.) Mason Inn, which is a popular spot for watching the Baltimore Ravens, has been building a Orioles fan base, too, and offering the same $9 Bud Light pitcher deal as during Braves games.
Boston Red Sox
Here's a video of the crowd at Rhino Bar singing "We Are the Champions" after the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series.
The Bottom Line officially became a Reds bar in 2013, an offshoot of its status as D.C.'s biggest Cincinnati Bengals bar. Draws include cheap beer, Skyline chili and Reds games on 17 TVs.
Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers
Murals of Harry Caray and Sparky Anderson tell you that Ivy & Coney is a serious Midwest-themed baseball bar. The Cubs, the Tigers and the Nationals have priority on the main bar's two TVs, in that order. While you watch, the bar serves Chicago-style hot dogs and chili-covered Detroit-style Coney Dogs for $4 each. (Because this is baseball, Cracker Jack is also available.) Beers from Michigan and Illinois cost $3 or $4.
Tigers fans also gather at Capitol Lounge, which offered a free keg of Yuengling to Tigers fans before the Nationals faced Detroit in the preseason, and Kangaroo Boxing Club, a pro-Michigan stronghold that shares owners with Ivy and Coney.
New York Yankees and New York Mets
51st State is a "New York Sports Team Bar," which means they show all Yankees and Mets games, as well as the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Bills. There are no baseball-specific specials, but happy hours include $3.50 Bud Light and $4 Yuenglings (daily from 4 to 7 p.m.); $6.50 burgers and $4 Brooklyn beers on Tuesdays; and half-price wings and $4 Coronas on Wednesdays.
The owners of Boundary Stone are Philadelphia sports fans, so you'll always find one TV on the Phillies. Division rivals facing off at opposite ends of the room leads to "decent banter" between Phillies and Nats fans, co-owner Gareth Croke says.
Ventnor Sports Cafe owner Scott Auslander hails from Philadelphia, and his 18th Street bar has been a Phillies haven over the years. He offers discounted Yuenglings during all Phillies games but, he says, "they haven't been as good lately, so we don't get as much of a crowd."
Just about anything Pittsburgh goes over big at the Mighty Pint. Owned by three Western Pennsylvanians, the downtown watering hole shows all Pirates games except for midweek day games. Drink specials begin one hour before the first pitch, and include Yuengling and Miller Lite for $3 per pint and $11 per pitcher, plus discounted pierogis and cheesesteaks.
St. Louis Cardinals
It seems like Penn Quarter Sports Tavern is the home of every fourth or fifth sports team these days, from the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks fans to Texas A&M and Illinois alumni. During baseball season, it's the home of the local St. Louis Cardinals meetup group. Happy hour includes $4 to $5 beers, $5 rail drinks and glasses of wine from 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and there's a daily half-price menu item available after 7 p.m.
San Francisco Giants
Giants fans have been gathering at Town Tavern since 2010, turning the Adams Morgan bar into a sea of black, orange and "Fear the Beard" T-shirts over the years. (It's also known as the city's biggest destination for watching the 49ers.) During the 2014 season, expect specials on Anchor Steam and other draft beers, plus discounted burgers and shots.