The Rhino Bar and Pumphouse
3295 M St. N.W.
If you’re looking for a spot to watch the Super Bowl next weekend, head to Georgetown and check out one of the country’s top 20 bars, the Rhino Bar and Pumphouse.
“We don’t consider ourselves a sports bar,” manager David Nelson said. “We’re an all-American saloon with a sports theme.”
Stuff magazine included the Rhino Bar in its list of the nation’s 20 best bars for its February 2004 issue. Nelson said Stuff contacted him about a year ago to say his venue was being considered for the list. The magazine sent out crews to the various bars under consideration, including the Rhino, to score each establishment and see which would make the cut. Stuff ranked the bars in categories that included the size of the crowd, bartenders and specials. Nelson added that the Rhino’s “consistently good-looking staff” was another bonus that helped it make the list.
Around D.C. the Rhino is known as the “Eagles Bar,” but it also backs the Boston Red Sox, Texas A&M, Ohio State football and Syracuse University basketball. The Rhino serves as a gathering place on weekends for alumni in the area to come and watch the games.
“People from the area can watch the (local teams’) games at home,” Nelson said. “We picked teams where you have to go somewhere to watch the game. People don’t get the Red Sox at home.”
The best seats in the house to watch games are in the upstairs bar area in front of two big-screen televisions. But smaller TVs adorn every corner of the room, and if a game’s boring, you can shoot pool on one of the three tables.
Last week’s NFC championship game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Carolina Panthers was disheartening for some of the Rhino’s patrons.
“A lot of people were mad because it was the third year in a row (the Eagles) lost,” Nelson said.
The bar opens at noon on weekends, but Nelson said it opens earlier if a game is on. Weeknights the Rhino opens for happy hour and offers a different special every night.
Nelson said the 10 cent wing special makes Mondays the most popular nights, but Wednesdays are his favorite because everything at the bar is half price.
“You can get a Guinness and a burger for five bucks,” Nelson said.
The Rhino attracts a strong Georgetown University crowd and works with the university on several fundraising events including a fundraiser for its MBA program and a Georgetown senior class date auction. Nelson said the Rhino also gave $20,000 to the Pentagon Relief Fund after Sept. 11.
But college students aren’t the only ones you’ll see at the Rhino.
“The reason we’re so successful is because we’re a very diverse bar,” Nelson said. “Look around and you’ll see everybody – young, old, college, military. Everybody.”