The boys of summer are wrapping up another season that saw the return of Barry Bonds, the Yanks and Sox battle it out and the Atlanta Braves’ 14th-consecutive division title. And as the eight best teams fight for the World Series prize, AU students will flock from the dorms looking for a place to enjoy the action.
Here are five suggestions for places to watch the run to the Fall Classic:
Willie and Reed’s: The best sports bar in Bethesda combines a great atmosphere with a knowledgeable, excitable crowd. The air is electric as fans who come to enjoy games are immediately greeted with a full bar, short service wait times, and a friendly bunch ready to engage in banter and debate.
The menu is a little pricey, but features filet mignon, make-your-own salad, and a variety of sandwiches for fans from all over the country.
Located on Bethesda Avenue, Willie and Reed’s will be playing every postseason game this year. And during game time, especially at night, it’s sure to be a packed house.
ESPN Zone: The old reliable bar that everyone loves - and a sports mecca, with all the best in arcade games, big-screen TVs and sports memorabilia. With more than a dozen screens on the main wall, you can bet every game will be prominently displayed and rooted for.
Yet the crowd at ESPN Zone is more subdued than at other bars, apparently enjoying the mystique of the place as much as the game. During crunch time, fans get more into it and, depending on the storyline, can be very excitable. But it’s not always as friendly of a place as your local neighborhood bar.
Still, there is something special about being in the epicenter of sports, which ESPN is. Located at Metro Center, is it easily accessible, but tough to get in. A $20-per-hour minimum and long line make it less desirable to the casual fan.
The Flying Scotsman: For those million Red Sox fans walking AU’s campus, there is no closer place to Fenway than the Flying Scotsman, located on Second Street downtown. The crowd is full of Red Sox fanatics and certainly a touch of Faneuil Hall. It’s so authentic that the bartenders (whose accents are thicker than those found in Southie) throw objects at the TV when Schilling gets shelled.
Always filled to capacity during Sawx games, and bursting at the seams all of last postseason, the Scotsman features drink specials, reasonably priced food, and it’s own brewed Flying Scotsman Amber, which is the classic favorite for those of age. The taps are always flowing when Big Papi and Manny lead the BoSox, and will sure to be in service this October.
At the Union Station Metro stop, it’s a bit of a trip, but well worth the commute for a fan of the Fens. There’s something to be said about mingling with your type of people at such a nerve-racking time like the playoffs…especially if there’s another Yanks-Sox series next week.
Armand’s Pizzeria: I know, Armand’s is more about comfort, food and pizza than a wild time watching sports, but with the loss of Babe’s Billiards, it’s now the hotspot in Tenleytown for those of us who want to stay local. Its televisions may be limited, but it will be guaranteed to be playing all the games this postseason.
For the casual fan, no place is better than Armand’s, where you can mingle at the bar sipping reasonably priced drinks or sit at a table and enjoy some Chicago-style deep dish (how’s that sound, White Sox fans?) while watching the game.
The staff is friendly, and a young clientele keeps the mood fresh. The place won’t be packed with sports fans all the time, but the ones you’ll find there are both knowledgeable and easygoing.
Rock Bottom Brewery: If you want the trendiest spot in the greater D.C. area, Rock Bottom Brewery is the place to be. With a full new slate of big screen, plasma TV’s, the postseason is the big coming-out party for Rock Bottom as a legitimate sports bar.
Here, the focus is on the beer and the food. A full menu including appetizers, entrees, desserts and a full brewery of homemade beers makes Rock Bottom the culinary choice.
The crowd at Rock Bottom is not nearly as knowledgeable as the other, more established “sports bars.” But they are young and passionate, and it’s a great place to go to watch a game if you have no rooting interest. Be careful though, because the tab can add up quickly.