Bilmar's only been open since 2001, but it feels like a serious throwback for the sole fact that you can smoke in there. Even writing this as a non-smoker, there's something about being in a smoke-filled dive watching football that makes me a bit misty for the good old days. Luckily, Bilmar's got way better food than most dives, including Guy-style wings (fried and dipped in hot sauce, and then re-fried and coated in garlic and Cajun seasoning). The ceiling is festooned with multiple flags from sports teams from all across the country -- if your team's not up there, the motto is “if you bring it, we'll hang it." Florida's own Big Storm is one brewery out of 20 on tap , and dartboards and a vintage Playboy pinball machine are there to keep you occupied when a game turns into a blowout.
Having just opened in April, Double Dogs has technology some of the older sports bars can't touch: a “soundbox” delivered to your table so you can hear audio from any one of the games being shown. There's also 32 separate TVs to watch, including an enormous set of screens smushed side-by-side that can either combine to show one game or nine separate ones. For food, Bo's Dog Bowl Nachos are served in an, umm, dog bowl (guaranteed to never have been previously used by an actual dog!) with chili, sausage, and Jack cheese, plus 18 drafts that include local faves Yazoo and Blackstone.
Despite being steps from the Verizon Center where the Capitals play, this isn't a hockey bar. In fact, it resembles a Vegas sportsbook in one respect, something sure to warm your gambling degenerate friend's cold, long-dead heart. All the teams playing that day are displayed on a train station-like board (with the spreads!) around an enormous TV -- one of 40+ in the bar. And because there's nothing worse than waiting for a busy bartender to pour you a beer, bring a few friends and get a booth with a Table Tap in it, where you can easily pour your own beers all afternoon long. Like the bar itself, the food skews modern, with everything from basil-crusted salmon to lamb lollipops to a Kobe “haute” dog.
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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist and has spent much of his life watching Eagles games in dive bars. Follow him to wide-screen TVs at: @LeeBreslouer.