Last fall, the Hatchet spent the first eight weeks of the NFL season in search of D.C.’s best sports bars. For all those days and nights when watching the game on the couch with the remote just isn’t enough, we proudly bring you the Brett Favres and Jerry Rices of the hundreds of area sports bars. Our evaluation was based on what we believed to be the most important qualities of a sports bar, which we rated one to five for each bar and added for a total rating.
1520 N. Courthouse Rd.
Close to the Courthouse Metro stop, Summers has a sports bar and a restaurant, with televisions in both areas. The sports bar gives a good view of every game on good-sized televisions. The seating setup does not make you feel too crowded. The restaurant area has only booths, with a few large screens scattered around. The chairs are not very comfortable, but a booth is the perfect place to sit for hours. Wings are very good, burgers are just decent. A cool plus is the added selection of breakfast food until 2:30 p.m. There is only one free refill with sodas. All ages permitted.
2. Champps Americana
1201 S. Joyce St.
Champps, located near the Pentagon City mall, has an island bar surrounded by tables near the entrance, with more traditional restaurant seating further back. Prices are fair. The wings and burgers are both very good and there are free refills on soda all day. Some seating is too far away from other televisions, but get there a half hour before game time and you are almost guaranteed a good seat for your favorite team. They play music during the commercials of whatever game has sound, a nice touch. All ages permitted.
3. Crystal City Sports Pub
529 S. 23rd St.
Located in Crystal City, this sports bar is only accessible by car. It has one main room with several televisions on each wall. The two restaurant-style areas only have a couple of televisions. Food is tasty and there is a rowdy fan atmosphere, with people yelling at their games. Unfortunately, there are no free refills, but if you’re drinking water and have a car at your disposal, this is a nice place to spend a Sunday. All ages permitted.
4. Rhino Bar
3295 M St., NW
Right in the heart of Georgetown, this bar has a loyal Eagles fan base. Downstairs seating is tight, with several small televisions and one enormous screen. Upstairs is more spread out, but seating is limited, so you cannot see many televisions at one time. The wings are excellent – and at 25 cents apiece, they can’t be beat. Pitchers of beer are also inexpensive, but there are no refills on the small and overpriced sodas. If you like good wings and beer and you like them cheap, this is a good place to go. They check IDs at the door and bracelet the over 21 crowd, but all ages are permitted.
5. Mister Days Sports Rock Cafe
3100 Clarendon Blvd.
Located close to the Clarendon Metro stop, Mr. Days’ central area has a bank of small televisions showing every game, but in all other areas only a few screens are visible at one time. The wings are excellent, the burgers are just decent and the sodas have free refills. The fans seem more knowledgeable than most places, but unless you get there early, a good seat will be hard to find. Must be 21 to get in.
6. Hippodrome/Big Burger
800 21st St., NW
Not a sports bar by any means,but still a wonderful option, and it’s convenient for GW students. Hippodrome experiences vary based on the fellow students in attendance. There are large fan bases for both New York teams and the Patriots, so if your team is playing one of those teams, it’s not the best place to go. Big Burger is pretty good, but it doesn’t open until 3 p.m. for some inexplicable reason. So you have to go down to Burger King if you want food, where the line tends to be long and slow. All ages permited.
7. ESPN Zone
555 12th St., NW
Not too far from the Metro Center stop, ESPN Zone is usually disappointing. To sit in the “Screening Room,” which shows all games on a big wall and your own game on a small TV at each booth, you have to get there more than an hour before kickoff and pay $8 an hour. Anywhere else you sit, the charge still applies and you can’t see as many games. The burgers are pretty good, but the “sliders” (six smaller burgers) are better, and there are free soda refills all day. The atmosphere is more like a restaurant, with less cheering than expected. The price makes it a tough place for college students to frequent. To sit in the screening room, patrons must be 21 or older, while other areas have no required age.
8. Grand Slam
1000 H St., NW
Located in the bottom of the Grand Hyatt near Metro Center, this sports bar gets crowded early on Sundays. There are large contingents of Cowboys, Redskins and Saints fans, so if one of those is your team, this is a good place to go. Otherwise, the wings aren’t great and there isn’t any place where fans can see more than a few games at once. The burgers are good but expensive, and there’s only one free refill on sodas. The best aspect of Grand Slam is the atmosphere, as fans cheer and yell loudly and get into the games. Must be 21 to get in.