Friday Question of the Day – What is the Best Sports Bar in DC? Does DC Have a Best Sports Bar?


Every time there is a big sporting event, I get emails and we see comments lamenting the District’s sports bar scene. So I’d like to ask a few questions for today. First, why do you think it seems that DC doesn’t have any good sports bars? Is DC more of a place where bars happen to show sports rather than proper sports bars? For you, what are the elements that make up an awesome sports bar? Where is your favorite bar to watch sports in DC? Favorite one to watch your home team? Favorite one to watch big events like World Cup, NBA Finals, World Series etc.?

Back in the day, I always had a good time at Mister Days in the alley off 19th Street between L and M. I can’t believe how long ago that was, closed back in Jan. 2001. What do you think comes closest to Mister Days today? [A sorta no frills, no pretensions, decent enough food, decent enough beer options and prices, a place where big groups of friends could meet up – basically a regular sports bar with tons of tvs and tons of passionate sports fans.] Rhino Bar in Georgetown? But, I hate the fact they are the “home” to so many non DC teams, though I recognize that almost all DC sports bars are also “home” to non DC teams. I guess it’d be interesting to note how many people in PoPville support DC teams vs other teams. Hell, let’s poll it:

99 Comment

  • Good GOD I miss Mister Days.

    Nellie’s is great, as is Lou’s.

  • I think it depends upon the sport. Duffy’s is THE Nats bar in the District.

    • njb510

      Duffy’s is my favorite place to watch DC sports. Stoney’s is another good option. I wish there were more true “DC sports” bars.

      • Duffy’s is for sure my go to Nats bar. There needs to be one more choice in the poll. I am a Boston sports fan who has also adopted the Nats, Caps, Wiz and Skins. Rarely do they have a conflicts with my Boston teams so it works out. Best Boston bar is probably Murphy’s both in DC and Alexandria.

  • There’s only one sporting event that really matters and which truly is a matter much more important that life and death: the World Cup.

    Lucky Bar is my spot since it’s across the street from my office and fans there understand what is at play.

    • Oh. You’re the guy who watches that. Soccer sucks. What’s the score? 0-0?

      • I believe they call that “Nil nil”.

      • 0-0, with 12 serious “injuries”.

      • Yea this guy and only a few other folks watched the last World Cup final. Oh, what’s that? It was over 700 million other folks. Damn, that’s a lot of people. But well done with the original “soccer sucks” comment.

        • ledroittiger

          700 million other predominantly non-Americans–most of whom didn’t even watch the qualifiers, let alone any league play during the rest of the year.

          • Knocking down football, the undisputed king of sports…gee how original. You can tell a lot about someone based on how they regard football. They tend to be uneducated, xenophobes, who most likely have no interest in getting a passport as they have no interested in stepping outside of the US. They also a more likely to cling to their bibles, guns, and call baseball America’s pastime, even though is dominated by Latinos.

          • Cool rant, bro. but its called “soccer”.

        • And how many million cds has Justin Beiber sold?

        • Now, now gents. Let’s resolve this in a civilized manner. Let’s all grab our kits, tie up our boots and give it a go on the pitch for a spirited match with the ol’ onion bag. How about today before tea?

        • Neither uneducated nor a xenophobe. I like a number of non-American sports (rugby, team handball, hurling, cricket), but soccer is a horrible sport. If you want a fast moving, fluid game, with lots of individual and team creativity, watch hockey. You get the added bonus of the players not being giant pussies.

          • Still one of the best commercials –

          • It’s OK if you don’t like soccer, Doc. You don’t need to prove it to us by knocking it.

          • I was just defending myself against the “anyone who doesn’t like soccer is a dullard” argument.

            I’m also fascinated by the logic of “the rest of the world likes it, therefore it must be great argument.” A large portion of the rest of the world doesn’t have clean drinking water and/or sanitation services; does that make it better?

          • Anon 10:55, that’s a good one. I’ve always liked this one:

          • Doc, I’m not buying that. First noone here (or anywhere that I can recall) has ever made that argument. Second, there’s a difference what you have and what you like; are you suggesting that all those folks have poor drinking water and bad sanitation because they like it? Again, if you don’t like soccer that’s cool, but no need to defend yourself against imaginary enemies.

          • I used to think the same about baseball, until I learned more about the game and the strategy behind it. Now I really appreciate the game. Some might think 0-0 means a dull game, but really is more of a pitcher’s duel, where no team has made an error.

            Once you “get” football, you’ll realize why it’s called the beautiful game, it can make grown men cry, trigger wars:


    • Ahh world cup, how I love you, along with EPL and MLS. Association Football is such a wonderful sport.

      Lucky Bar is excellent for footie. Atmosphere is wonderful, beer/food not so much, but it’s still my go to.

      For USMNT/USWNT, Laughing Man Tavern is the Outlaws bar, so it is always packed with yanks and a great place to watch. Beer and food good and pricing is solid.

      I did hit up the Biergarten for some of 2010 Cup, enjoyed the atmoshpere and the beer (german beer is a favorite) but I don’t get over to H St often.

  • That’s a clown question, bro!

  • Didn’t we already settle on declaring Nellie’s the best sports bar in the District, if nothing else but to piss off the bigots (and because it is legitimately a great sports bar)?

    • Also, re: sports teams. Why not both? I root for my hometown teams and the DC teams. Except the Washington Football team. I don’t like to acknowledge their existence.

      • PDleftMtP

        +2. But Wings/Caps or Tigers/Nats, I’m going with the D. (Pistons/Wizards is theoretically possible, if one or both teams don’t get relegated to the D-League.)

        • I wore the Olde English D to the Nats/Tigers series, but I felt a little guilty about it.

          I would give many things to see aTigers/Nats World Series followed by a Wings/Caps Stanley Cup. Too bad that the latter can’t happen now.

      • “the Washington Football team”

        oooooohhhhhh, DCist must be sooo proud

    • Nellie’s is the not the best sports. Sorry

      • Then what is?

        • Any place but Nellie’s. That place is loud and obnoxious.

          • I know, right? I almost got up and left during the National Spelling Bee

          • Because sports bars are supposed to be calm and quiet? I know I was watching the NBA finals in COMPLETE SILENCE last night.

          • Sheesh, calm down Nellie’s fan boys. I just don’t like Nellie’s. No need to get all butt hurt about it. (Absolutely no pun intended)

          • Sports on TV + loud awful diva dance-pop is a terrible combination

          • I’m neither gay nor male, thanks for assuming though (while sounding like a homophobe at the same time). Great job.

          • ledroittiger

            I used to go to Nellie’s all the time, but I too gave up after a while because no one else in the place was paying attention to any of the games on television. Started going to Duffy’s instead, until I moved to Bloomingdale and went to Boundary Stone. I’ve since moved again and spend most of my sports watching days at Ventnor. Can you tell which city I’m from?

            Also, the nice thing about being from out of town is that you can actually get web-based sports packages and watch from home without getting blacked out. And you don’t have to pay for otherwise worthless cable.

          • Nellie’s is incredibly loud. On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, or even late morning, the noise coming from the place can be heard for blocks.

      • Agreed. Nellie’s is awesome for pre- and post-9:30 club or to just hang out. But, for sports, it’s really not that great.

        In my opinion, sport’s bars should be a chill place to grab some wings/beer more akin to a dive bar.

  • Green Turtle!

  • Buffalo Billiards

  • If you compare DC to many other major metropolitan areas, the lack of sports bars is obvious. I know that between me and my friends, we would kill for a great sports bar. Throw up some big screens, get some beers on tap, maybe a beer garden and some great food. What else do you need? A great sports bar could become a destination in DC. I’d love to see one in Columbia Heights or Petworth.

    If I had to choose, I’d say maybe Ventnor. Maybe the middle level of the Brixton… Redline? The fact that I have to think about it conveys the problem.

  • Bring back The Rock!

  • it’s too pricey, not much beer selection (if you don’t like German beers), and the seats aren’t comfortable.

  • Redline. hands down

  • People want different things from their sports bar. For example on NFL Sunday there are those (fantasy junkies and gamblers) who want to be able to watch every game at the same time, while there are others who only want to see “their” team, have the sound blaring for that game and be surrounded by people wearing the same jersey as they are who want to hive five them after each first down.

    My biggest complaint about DC sports bars is that there are too many that have an affiliation or multiple affiliations with certain teams or alumni groups, resulting in all of their TVs being “spoken for” or “they only hockey we show are Caps games.” It can be hard to find a bar in DC that will just put on a random game for you.

    I can find flaws in most of the major DC sports bars (Duffy’s= not enough TVs/too DC centric, Buffalo Billiards=shuffle board/pool/darts can get in the way of sports viewing, Public=not enough TVs/douche central, etc)

  • Didn’t they try and make Tonic in Mt. Pleasant a sports bar?

    • PDleftMtP

      It sort of is. They’re great for Michigan teams (which works for me). It’s more a neighborhood bar that will put the game on for you, though – it’s not that big.

  • The Blaguard is kinda awesome for sports – not huge but good atmosphere, 4 TVs and a projection on the ground level. And while they have a rightful loyalty to DC sports teams, you don’t feel unwanted coming in and asking for a random hockey game or college basketball game. Plus great beer selection and a newly expanded food menu. No I don’t work for the Blag, but I do spend a sh*t ton of money there.

  • Rhino is good if you like urine-covered floors and insipid food that was fried in hepatitis. Probably why it’s a Red Sox / Ohio State / UNC / Eagles bar.

    For the rest of us human fans, Nellies is great. Nanny’s and CPBG, too.

  • Where’s the option for “DC teams because this is the city I grew up in or near”?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      That’s a good point. I just assumed that person would put DC teams. But I know some folks are very sensitive about this issue. I’ll try to be more specific in future polls.

  • Definitely Duffys for nats games. I also like Union Pub, but it doesnt seem like a destination for many (which I liked since I went with a group of friends)

  • I like to pop in Champp’s if I’m out in Arlington at Pentagon City Mall.

  • Penn Quarter Sports Tavern – mostly because it is close to my work.

  • Ive enjoyed watching sports at several bars. The Black Squirrel became my hockey bar, just because they would always change the channel for me. Reynolds is a great place to watch sports for similar reasons.

    Caps fans make it hard to root for the caps. I just wish they knew more about hockey or had a perspective on the sport that predates 2005. Not all are awful, just most…

  • Nellies all the way.


  • ledroittiger

    Actually, the Pour House isn’t too bad, despite being a Pitt bar. Lots of large TVs, old school wood and old school prices.

    • Point of clarification: the Pourhouse is not a Pitt bar. The Pourhouse is a Pittsburgh Steelers bar. Pitt is a university. The Pourhouse’s “college affiliation” is as a UF Gators bar. Pitt is also a university that is hated rival of many Steelers fans. So Pitt and Pittsburgh are two very different things (I love one but hate the other).

  • Nellies, Great environment for all!

  • Maddy’s! Lots of great TVs and a big beer selection.

  • 51st State is a solid sports bar

    • saf

      I have issues with it though. They are “51st State,” so that should be DC, but they are a NY-centric place.

  • I kind of hate it, but Buffalo Billiards is probably the best for freeloader cord-cutters; the wait service is so bad that you can easily show up and watch all of your team’s games without spending a dime if you don’t want to drink. The amount of tvs is pretty great and they’re fairly responsive about changing tvs if you goto the main control area. The beer tastes uniformly bad there for some reason and the food is terrible. The patio would be ok if not for the smokers. I like Cleveland Park Bar & Grill too. No love for Touchdowns? I see I may need to check out Lou’s City.

    • +1 for Buffalo Billiards. I’ve always liked Crystal City Sports Pub but that’s out of the city. I was at Lou’s last night. It was decent, a little small though. I ended up watching the NBA Finals at Acre 121 because of their $2 any beer special (which is still going on tonight BTW).

      Either way, I think a good sports bar has tons of TVs, has the sound of the game on (hopefully in the different parts of the bar for different games if possible), has reasonably priced drinks, and doesn’t feel overcrowded is a good sports bar. Or a place that plays your favorite teams.

  • vz

    C’mon, only one mention of DC Reynolds? It’s arguably not a *true* sports bar, but no better place to catch a Nats game in DC than DC Reynolds (or Duffy’s, as others have mentioned). Great staff, food, and when they’ve got the projector going in the back patio it’s probably the best outdoor space to catch a game in DC.

  • i would like to find bars that aren’t sports bars. nearly every place i find myself has a tv with sports.

  • Why isn’t Solly’s getting any love?

    • Seating? Since they expanded and started serving bar food, it’s a great spot, but only if you grab a high top. they need a few more places to sit.

      But if this poll were “favorite places to drink in the afternoon where you know you’ll get a seat outside and be able to hear your friends”, would be #1.

    • Solly’s is my local spot too. But yeah, sometimes seating can be a problem. Upstairs is my preferred spot to watch but they always have karaoke, trivia, or an awful band playing up there if you’re trying to watch spots in the evening. They also usually never turn on the sound for the TVs (unless it’s a Dolphins game, ugh).

  • How about Touchdown on U Street? A bit small, but it counts.

    A lot of this depends on how you define sports bar. DC has a lot of neighborhood bars that also function as sports bars, but aren’t sports bars, per se.

    Let’s not forget the “upscale sports bar” category that applies to Maddy’s in Dupont a quite a few others.

  • Duffy’s. Hands down Duffys. A more jovial crowd I have never met.

  • Nellies for sure but also like the Grand Slam in the Grand Hyatt!

  • I prefer The Drunken Clam.

  • Nellies… without question

  • No love for Hooters on 7th? For the wings alone…

  • I am surprised no one mentioned Public Sports bar in Dupont….It is awesome for watching games and have very cheap wings, burgers etc…

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