Food & Drink

The best DC bars for March Madness

Published On 03/12/2014 Published On 03/12/2014
Best Sports Bars DC
Buffalo Billiards

March Madness means big questions: will your team peak when it counts? Who’s worthy of winning your bracket? Will Jim Boeheim keep it together? Can you stream the game at work without getting caught? Can’t help you there, but once you've realized you should just ditch work, here are the places you should go drink and gorge in front of an endless sea of flat-screens.

Penn Social

If you want to go big: Penn Social
Chinatown/Gallery Place
If you wanted to watch on a 40" Sony, you would have stayed home. So embrace the "bigger is better" mantra and grab a spot in front of the 22ft movie screen at Penn Social… or one of the nine 15ft screens spread across two floors. During the tournament, they’ll have $3 Miller Lite pints and $12 pitchers, plus a special Miller Fortune release party on March 20th.

Bracket Room

If you're a foodie along for the ride: Bracket Room
Arlington, VA
Park yourself at Bracket Room if you care a little about basketball and a LOT about food. They sling out everything from big boy potato tots to lamb lollipops. If a win or loss (or commercial break!) calls for shots, there are 64 to choose from, and if you enter their shooters bracket on social media you could have a shot named after you AND win a gift card. With a name like Bracket Room, you better believe they have flat-screens in the bathrooms.


If you want to pour your own beer: Redline
Chinatown/Gallery Place
Scoring a tap table at Redline means avoiding the indignities of clamoring for a beer at the bar and watching the bartender continually pass you over in favor of better looking people. Just refill at will. Libations also include specialty shots like the Alley-oop Oatmeal Cookie and 4 Point Play. March Madness action will be broadcast on 50 TVs and one huge projection screen. Those into table taps can also check out Meridian Pint.

Lou’s City Bar

If you're a patio enthusiast: Lou’s City Bar
Columbia Heights
In case we get a taste of Spring, you may want some fresh air as you prepare to bask in the glow of victory. The folks at Lou’s City Bar will bring $20 buckets of Coors Light or $15 pitchers of Miller Light right to your table on the TV-equipped patio. Inside they have more HGTVs than Georgetown wins this season and a 140’’ HD projector screen. Oh, there are also deep-fried Oreo cookies for sadness eating after big losses.

Ventnor’s Sports Cafe

If you want to make some new friends: Ventnor Sports Cafe
Adams Morgan
There’s something special about this little charmer of a bar. It’s definitely not the sheer number of flat-screens or roomy seating. People just dig the atmosphere and ubiquitous free popcorn. It’s hard to leave without at least one new friend, even if they do root for UNC or 'Cuse, who have their very own bar specials during March Madness. Solidify your new bond over bottomless mimosas Friday-Sunday or a whole lot of craft beer any day.

Buffalo Billiards

If you have ADD issues: Buffalo Billiards
Dupont Circle
Cure halftime jitters by channeling all that energy towards playing darts, ping-pong, foosball, shuffleboard, skeeball, or pool at Buffalo Billiards. Before you know it, your team will be back on the court and some dude will be yelling DOWN IN FRONT because you can’t sit still, again. How hard it is to see a 10ft screen? There are five of them, plus 62 flat-screens.

Union Pub

If domestic buckets don't do the trick like they used to: Union Pub
Capitol Hill
Those who feel they’ve graduated from light beer can find a good game-watching home at Union Pub. There are 43 different beers to choose from, not to mention mini corn dogs and five different styles of wings to enjoy while you watch the tournament on 25 big-screen TVs.

Ivy and Coney

If you love Cinderella stories: Ivy and Coney
This nicely upholstered Chicago/Detroit "dive bar" is no sprawling sports pub. It can’t compete with flat-screen front-runners or unreal drink specials, making it a bit of an underdog. But who needs specials when everything -- literally EVERYTHING -- in the establishment costs less than $6? Head here if you want to try two different dogs and hide from the typical March Madness fan who indoor claps and wears face paint.

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1. Penn Social 801 E Street NW, Washington, DC, DC 20004 (Penn Quarter)

There is always something going on at Penn Social, a two-level warehouse barcade and club with 3 full bars featuring over 30 drafts collectively. Beyond the skee-ball, hoops, foosball, giant Jenga and Connect 4, and happy hour it features 7 days a week, there is trivia on Tuesday, and music on Friday and Saturday nights. On weekends expect the downstairs to feel more like a dance club and less like a hip hangout for big groups of friends. It also have some greasy bar bites like nachos, wings, quesadillas, and pretzels with queso to help soak up the alcohol.

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2. Bracket Room 1210 N Garfield St, Arlington, VA 22201 (Arlington)

This sports bar and resto has an extensive menu loaded with favorites like ribs, burgers, and other pub grub, and they also serve up a host of beers, 'tails, and something called "Chris's Hangover Cure" which is a concoction of carrots, pineapple, ginger, lemon, turmeric, and cayenne.

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3. Redline 707 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Chinatown)

The pre-Caps powerhouse is serving 10 drafts (from hometown Rockin' Red Ale to Starhills Northern Lights IPA) and pre-game bites (like chipotle BBQ'd tilapia tacos), PLUS rocking a sprawling view of the Verizon Center. Get there at the right time and you'll find yourself at a personal tap table booth where you can pour your own brews.

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4. Ventnor Sports Cafe 2411 18th St NW , Washington, DC, DC 20009 (Adams Morgan)

The hockey fan haven's cracked our list of Favorite 5 Sports Bars with its two stories of sports memorabilia-lined walls, complimentary popcorn, 64oz fishbowl, and trivia with a host so Paul Rudd-ingly charming, your Tuesdays will need nothing Morrie.

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5. Buffalo Billiards 1330 19th St NW, Washington, DC 20036 (Dupont Circle)

Dupont's hulking game station has made our list of favorite sports bars thanks to sheer size alone, with its 14,000sqft containing 18 pool tables, nine for shuffleboard, two skeeball machines, and two ping pong set-ups. There are also 500 seats, three full-service bars, four 10ft projector screens, and 40 smaller screens, or what Darren Sproles calls "my kind of play-calling".

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6. Lou's City Bar 1400 Irving St NW , Washington, DC 20010

Decked out with wood-arched ceilings, high tables, and 16 drafts, Columbia Height's sports pub plates American dishes like colossal shrimp & mussels over pasta (with basil tomato cream sauce) and a BBLT with double-cut, extra-thick bacon glazed in maple & bleu cheese aioli.

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7. Union Pub 201 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002 (Capitol Hill)

Union Pub is a great spot to watch the game on one of their 25 big-screen TVs while enjoying one of their 43 beers and eating snacks like mini corn dogs and wings.

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8. Ivy and Coney 1523 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Shaw)

Ivy and Coney is a homey dive bar in Shaw that delivers a relaxed neighborhood vibe, delicious hotdogs, and a menu that includes nothing over $6.