Quarter way through the NFL season and I am still thanking the great football gods for bringing it back on time (the same can’t be said about the NBA gods, that sport might never come back). The highly touted Cowboys and Eagles are both 1-3, the Detroit Lions are unbeaten, and the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers appear to have no hangover.
I have the same 3-1 record in my three fantasy leagues and yea somehow the Redskins are 3-1 atop the NFC East (Enjoy it, DC, while it lasts). This week’s football viewing comes from a bar I already have quite a high opinion of, and my game-day experience did not disappoint. So without further ado:
The Blaguard, 2003 18th Street NW
General Description: Your neighborhood Irish pub with the draft beer selection you have always wanted. Always a friendly crowd, plenty of Jameson, and never a crazy line like their neighbor, Jack Rose.
Why I Went There: Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name. To this day I have not found a friendlier staff and fun bartenders in the district. When I asked the owner if he would ever have my football team’s games on, he said come in, and it will be there.
Atmosphere: As this is a neighborhood bar, many of the patrons have been coming to this bar for years on Sunday to watch their teams. In a town like D.C. there were fans from almost a dozen or so teams wearing their colors proudly. There are plenty of TVs downstairs and upstairs so your game is bound to be on somewhere.
Small awesome addition you probably missed. The foot-stool in the downstairs bar is actually a piece of the 18th Street streetcar rail that was torn out of the streets in the last year. It’s a perfect compliment to the high stool and tables, as well the best table in the house that looks right on to the street. Also a strong sense of Redskins camaraderie with their fight song playing after wins and a portrait picture of departed safety Sean Taylor.
Food and Beverage: I’d say there around 20 unique beers (maybe more) on tap with plenty of local and seasonal flavor. On Sunday they have good wing special but their hidden specials are fried macncheese tots and hot pretzels. Also while there Sunday a patron ordered a “Yahtzee,” which turned out to be a Jack Daniels and Red Bull. I asked him why it’s called that and he said when you drink this you are rolling the dice and have no idea where it will take you. Pretty sure he was a Packers fan.
Actual Game Viewing: Plenty of TVs, plenty of space up or down. People shift in and out of the good barstools when their team’s game is over, a high sign of class.
Overall: This is my Cheers bar. I am just glad that the football experience is good as the everyday. Nick should be proud of his establishment, and the people that work there.
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Football watching is a fairly serious endeavor for the millions who partake in it each week. What to wear, available snacks, beverage selection, good company and a litany of other factors weigh in on the average football fan when they decide where to watch their team, or the big game.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be examining various places in Washington, as well as local settings, in a scientific manner to break down the pros and cons of each spot.
Weighing in each factor listed above combined with my general mood from my fantasy leagues, each place will receive a score of Pigskins. I look forward to seeing who has the best barn in town.
So without further ado, my first football viewing…
Grand Central, 2447 18th Street NW
General Description: My kickball bar (great amount of space for Thursday flip-cup) is actually a Buffalo sports bar meaning the Buffalo Bills are always the priority on Sunday. Don’t worry actual locals, Redskins games are always on.
Why Did I Go There? D.C. is a city full of people who aren’t from here. I was looking for a hometown-like experience to enjoy the football game (Like 51st State Tavern is for NYC sports teams). That and my best friend from Buffalo was in town…
Atmosphere: I have been to a lot of cities around this country, but have yet to make it Buffalo. Last Sunday in this bar, I felt like I had walked into the city as it was packed wall to wall with guys and gals all sporting their Bills gear talking about Mighty Taco. I borrowed a Bills sweatshirt so I blended in but it seemed like everyone knew each other by at least 3 degrees.
The bar itself has three different bars, three floors, around a dozen T.V.’s and plenty of space for the many games played on a Sunday; it even has an outside porch for breaks and fresh air. Besides ski-ball, this bar has everything you would want, including a photo-booth like at the mall. There is even a shrine to “The Most Interesting Man in the World” surrounded by Bills’ legends, just great.
Food and Beverage: It’s a Buffalo bar, so there is lots of Labatt Blue. Past that I’d say the taps are fairly standard but extra points go to pitcher availability. Wide food menu too, but people aren’t there for the food. ‘Cept maybe the wings… saw a lot of them around. But they are called “Buffalo” wings for a reason.
Actual Game Viewing: Big screens all around and the sound is of the game at the bar you are closest too so it is pretty easy to follow the game. In a bar like this, unless you get there before kickoff, it is likely that you are standing for the game, but that ain’t so bad (just not your couch).
Overall: I went searching for the hometown bar experience, and I got one. Wouldn’t have minded a bit more seating space, but I won’t let standing get in the way of a great comeback.
Bottom Line: Owner Rashaand’s bar is a topnotch hometown bar and should be considered a great destination for any fan of any team.
Total Pigskins: Four out of Five. Great starting bar for this project.
Thought of the Week
When did Fall show up? Sad day to put away my checkered shorts and sandals for jeans and dunks…
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There are lots of different types of fairs, carnivals, and street celebrations in the life of a busy city, especially one such as Washington DC. Last weekend our small corner of Northwest DC was host to what I think is one of the most fun and easy going around; the 32nd Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival.
For a place that can be generalized by most DC residents as just a “strip of bars and pizza” (not sure if that’s a bad thing or not), Adams Morgan I like to think is one of the truer neighborhoods in the district. I use Mr. Rogers’ word here in the sense that a general continuity of both the businesses and the regular day people who live in a space where most idiot undergrads try to use their fake I.D.’s.
As I have mentioned before, I live right in the heart of 18th Street and from my window have seen things that I can’t publish on this site, but suffice to say they are more graphic than my four years in a fraternity. This festival is a great way for DC to enjoy the area in the sunlight and freely move around the streets and enjoy plenty of amenities, without the usual nonsense. Some highlights…
Carnival Food. People from Minnesota will always tell you, food tastes better on a stick. 18th Street NW was overwhelmed with BBQs, tasty drink stands, and my personal favorite; fried stands with funnel cake and other treats. It always shocks me how these types of food tents aren’t more common, I mean we could all use more fried plantains in our lives.
Feel Good Art. I am not the most cultured person but I enjoy my fair share of art. Adams Morgan brought together a great variety of local artists on a side street and their stuff was great. Some were friendlier than others but all were happy just to be sharing their art with their fellow residents. Special shout-out to Michael J. Auger, love the cow.
Free Stuff!! The world needs more of it. Companies like Mellow Mushroom and Bolt Bus had raffles. PNC Bank gave away pens. I just love free stuff.
The Whole Family Sure I am in my mid 20s, but I still love two stages of music and ski ball as much as the next 10 year old (maybe more). There was a bouncy castle too but the line was a bit too long for me.
Overall, kudos to the people who put this one together. A great day of activities followed by one of the best and quickest cleanups I have ever seen on a city street. I overheard some grumbling from some local business people that actually most of it was done with people who don’t live around the area, but who cares. A great festival is a great festival.
Thought of the Week
Football season is here and I am always going back and forth with people on where is the best place to watch their team; their bed, couch, next door bar, huge sports bar, rooftop, etc. Over the next few weeks I hope to examine this issue quite scientifically so would love to hear some thoughts.
Where you do like to watch games and most importantly, why?
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Breaking the glass ceiling, one sports video game at a time.
New Ben & Jerry’s flavor named after classic SNL skit “Schweddy Balls”.
Serena Williams lost in this year’s US Open final, and had this outburst.
Before starting, I figured that since we are such a small mini-hood, an autonomous region of the Dupont Circle and Logan Circle neighborhoods, that I would have to include neighboring and nearby winners. After all, our commercial strips are the north side of the 1400-block of P Street NW and the west side of 14th Street NW from P to S Streets.
I was wrong. Businesses in our little enclave between 14th and 16th and P and S Streets NW did incredibly well in the City Paper competition: 10 businesses, one community-based organization, one locale and one individual (a bartender) made the list of favorites from the Readers’ Poll and City Paper Staff Picks. Several businesses were winners in more than one category.