For Washington Redskins fans, finding a place to watch the game on a football Sunday is about as difficult as finding traffic on the Beltway.
Yet the D.C. area is known for being a transient sports town, with fans from across the nation coming to work and live here. It can be awfully lonely for a non-Skins fan in a region awash in burgundy and gold.
The first solution, obviously, is to purchase a satellite dish and the National Football League package that accompanies it — but it’s not the only solution. The region is blessed with a few dozen bars that cater to out-of-town fans, who frequently gather to watch their teams every weekend.
There are the all-encompassing sports bars like the ESPN Zone (555 12th St. NW, espnzone.com/washingtondc) and Damon’s Grill (3980 Corsair Court, Chantilly; Sub 1 Food Court, Fairfax) that attempt to show every game. There are the local sports restaurants like Glory Days Grill (www.glorydaysgrill.com) that offer the same type of experience. But there are also local watering holes and eateries that seem to have attracted a distinct group of fans who keep coming back every football Sunday (and sometimes on Monday):
Really any bar north College Park, Md. is going to give fairly equal representation to both Redskins and Ravens fans. But short of driving up to Fells Point, the easiest location to find flocks of Ravens fans is at The Greene Turtle, 14150 Baltimore Ave. in Laurel. Open for over a decade and home to some of the best HDTV football coverage in the area, the Turtle has been the site of radio postgame broadcasts and fan parties in the past. Call 301-317-6650 for more information.
Buffalo sports fans have several options in the D.C. area, not only during the NFL season but also for when their Sabres make the Stanley Cup playoffs. Two of the best locations are in Northern Virginia. Grevey's Restaurant & Sports Bar (8130 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church) is named after for Washington Bullets player Kevin Grevey, who also owns the joint. Great pub-style food and televisions everywhere you turn — even in your own booth — characterize this sports restaurant, which attracts dozens of Buffalo fans every Sunday. Call 703-560-8530 for more information.
In Herndon, Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern (697 Spring St. 703 435-5467) is officially billed as a Redskins/Bills bar, catering to Buffalo fans with contests and special events and showing every Bills game. Visit www.jimmystavern.com for more information.
Over in D.C., McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon (2401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-223-2338) has over 15 TVs and attracts large numbers of Bills fanatics each week.
One of the newest fan bar groups is a collection of Cincinnati Bengals fans that comes together at The Bottom Line, 1716 I St. NW in the District. According to a “Bengals Fans Unite” posting on Craigslist.org, the ages in the group range from 22-35 and the bar has been known to attract upwards of 45 fans for a Cincy playoff game. The bar’s Web site claims it opens its doors at 1 p.m., which is perilously close to kick-off. Call 202-298-8488 for more information.
Fans of Da Bears have three options in the metro area. Galaxy Billiards Café (8661 Colesville Road) up in Silver Spring has been known to attract large groups of Bears fans and has plenty of TVs for NFL action. Call 301-495-0081 for more information. Bears have also been spotting at the Uptown Tavern (3433 Connecticut Avenue in D.C., 202-244-7196) and Mister Days in Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd., 703-527-1600)
The Dawg Pound doesn’t have overwhelming numbers in the D.C. area, but Browns fans have been spotted at the relatively new Ventnor Sports Café in Adams Morgan (2411 18th St. NW, 202-234-3070). Sundays feature $4 homemade Bloody Marys and half-priced wings.
Cowboys fans are everywhere. Even in the most Redskins-dominated bar, there’s going to be some guy in a tattered Michael Irvin jersey trying to stir the pot. Next time you see that guy, tell him to meet his Cowboys buddies at the Grand Slam Sports Bar (1000 H St. NW) located in the Grand Hyatt Washington, which reports a huge number of Dallas faithful cheering on their team each week.
<ro>Green Bay Packers
Packer backers, Cheeseheads…whatever they’re called, Green Bay fans can be found in nearly every NFL city. Here, they claim Mister Days Sports Rock Café in Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd., 703-527-1600) as their haunt of choice, with a fairly young crowd, great sightlines to the TVs, and enough food and drink to make any argument about the immortality of Brett Favre last all night.
Phins fans have been spotted with frequency at Summer’s Restaurant in Arlington (1520 N. Courthouse Road, 703-528-8278), which does show some football on its wall of TVs when it’s not showing futbol.
While there’s no official Vikings bar — we hear they’re party boat people anyway — fans of the Purple People Eaters have been known to gather at the Crystal City Sports Pub in Arlington (529 S. 23rd St.), which has an impressive Sunday brunch menu for starving football fanatics.
<ro>New England Patriots
The story goes like this: in the early 1990s, the proprietors of Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub in Alexandria (713 King St., 703-548-1717) took a survey of their customers and found that a large majority were New England fans. Since then, every Patriots game has been televised at the pub, and a loyal and rabid group of Pats fans have frequented the bar each week. There’s even a Web site for this die-hard fan base: www.murphysfans.com. Bugsy’s, located right down King Street, also has its share of New England fans.
The most frightening fan base in the NFL calls Sign of the Whale (7529 Arlington Blvd., 703-573-1616) in Falls Church home on football Sundays. No word if the any of them show up with spiked shoulder pads and a Darth Vadar helmet, as Raider Nation is sometimes known to do.
The Patriots are to Murphy’s as the Eagles fans are to Rhino Bar & Pumphouse (3295 M Street NW) in DC, which is the official watering hole for Philly faithful during football season (it flips to Red Sox Nation during the summer). With three 101-inch television screens, it’s a perfect place for Eagles fans to sing “Fly Eagles Fly” until they don’t have any voice left to curse the day Terrell Owens was born.
Perhaps it was the Super Bowl victory that did it, but it seems there are nearly a dozen options for Steelers fans to come together and watch their team every Sunday.
The Pour House (319 Pennsylvania Ave., SE) in DC was long considered the top bar for the Black and Gold in the area. But an ownership change took some of the Pittsburgh charm out of the place, focusing on a broader football fan base than just Steelers Nation.
Meanwhile, Fast Eddie’s Sports and Billiards in Fairfax (9687 Lee Highway) is the official home of the Steelers “Black and Gold Club” on Sundays. The bar also has locations in Centreville, Springfield and D.C. Visit www.fasteddies.com for more information.
The new Beef O’Brady’s in Ashburn (44260 Ice Rink Plaza, #101) has several big screens and caters to both Redskins fans and Steelers fans. Call 703-858-5439 for more information.
<ro>Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yes, even the Bucs have some representation here, as several Tampa Bay fans have been spotted cheering on their team at Ventnor Sports Café in Adams Morgan (2411 18th St. NW, 202-234-3070).