clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Kennesaw State v Xavier
Jerome Hunter of the Xavier Musketeers dunks against the Kennesaw State Owls during the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on March 17.
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Great D.C. Sports Bars for Watching March Madness and Other Big Games

Celebrate the whirlwind basketball tournament over brews and bar bites

View as Map
Jerome Hunter of the Xavier Musketeers dunks against the Kennesaw State Owls during the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on March 17.
| Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

D.C. has a bar to suit just about every flavor of sports fan, from diehards who prefer raucous college hangouts to casual observers looking to kick back over brews, tots, and burgers.

March Madness is officially underway, which means many sports bars open earlier than usual to air the collegiate tournament and offer all-day deals leading up to the NCAA championship game on April 3.

Newer sports bar contenders include Harbor Social at National Harbor, and rugby-obsessed Tight Five Pub in Adams Morgan’s former Smoke & Barrel space. Lots of bars continue to cash in on the fact that sports betting is legal in D.C. Cloakroom just added a neon-lit rooftop lounge called Over/Under, making it the first strip club in the U.S. with a sportsbook.

Here are 18 reliable, sports-loving establishments that keep spectators properly fed and satisfied, with a particular emphasis on those whose kitchens bring their A-game.

—Updated by Tierney Plumb

Read More

Sports & Social Bethesda

Copy Link

Pike & Rose complex upped its sports bar game with the arrival a new game day headquarters. The 8,000-square-foot bar with an 18-foot LED display in the middle broadcasts multiple games at once, with on-site entertainment (Skee-ball, foosball, arcade games and Beirut) and a dog-friendly patio. Another location is en route to U Street NW.

Sports & Social Bethesda comes from the team behind Live! Dining & Entertainment.
Max Touhey for Sports & Social

Lou's City Bar

Copy Link

Columbia Heights’s neighborhood sports bar is well equipped for basketball season with 20 crisp HD TVs, a brand new sound system, a huge projector, and sports betting machines. Oklahoma State, Maryland, and North Carolina State alumni flock here to catch college games.

The Game Sports Pub

Copy Link

The replacement to subterranean Ventnor Sports Cafe has quickly drawn notice for a menu that mixes pub classics with Filipino dishes from its D.C. bar vet owner Jo-Jo Valenzuela. Games aired on its 14 wall-to-wall TVs. March Madness specialty cocktails ($10 during games) come in various team colors. A yellow “Side Bracket” mixes D’usse VSPO, lemon, and triple sec.

Ivy and Coney

Copy Link

This unpretentious, cash-only bar is a diehard Chicago fan, from its sports teams to the food. Fill up on sausages and beef sandwiches alongside cheap Midwestern beer and well drinks. Stay perky with $5 nitro cold brews (or $11 with Jameson).

Duffy's Irish Pub (Dupont Circle NW)

Copy Link

This Dupont Circle sports bar, formerly located in Shaw and off H Street NE, maintains a long list of chicken wing varieties and its reputation as a haven for D.C. fans and sports betting. The bar will also add an additional location on Capitol Hill (1901 C Street SE).

Public Bar Live

Copy Link

A shift and rebrand toward a live music venue in 2019 doesn’t stop Public Bar from showing sports games. The three-story space, open at noon for March Madness, keeps its downstairs bar outfitted with TVs and seating for when live concerts aren’t rocking the stage. A 14-foot HD projector screen joins 40 other screens and five bars.

Albert Ting/Public Bar Live

Proper 21K (multiple locations)

Copy Link

The upscale sports bar that aligns itself with the University of Alabama maintains locations in Foggy Botton and downtown. Load up on buffalo chicken or truffle tots, local bratwurst, its beloved burger, and pitchers of beer.

Dirty Waters Sports Bar

Copy Link

Say what you will about Boston sports fans, but they know how to turn out for kickoff. Patriots and Red Sox game days are always an event at this H Street Bar, so grab a beer, study the lyrics to Sweet Caroline, and buckle up. Sports betting is also a thing inside. College alumni from Arkansas, Wake Forest, and the University of Georgia feel at home here.

Tom's Watch Bar - Capital One

Copy Link

The nationwide chain entered the D.C. market in December, bringing Chinatown an immersive sports-watching experience augmented with Old Bay shrimp, two-pound portions of wings, icy drafts served in huge steins, and a TopGolf-enabled simulator. The new game-day headquarters next to Capital One Arena boasts three central oversized “stadium” screens surrounded by 120 high-definition screens for 360-degree viewing. Tom’s will add two more D.C. locations in National Harbor and Navy Yard this year.

Tom’s Watch Bar has a dizzying array of TVs across two floors.
Tom’s Watch Bar

Guy Fieri's DC Kitchen + Bar

Copy Link

Flashy celebrity chef Guy Fieri debuted his anticipated full-service restaurant in Capital One Arena’s Caesars Sportsbook last fall. Go to Flavortown on game day with his towering “Trash Can Nachos,” bourbon brown sugar barbecue wings, bacon-wrapped manicotti, and lots of Fieri’s Sousa tequila stocked behind the bar.

Penn Social

Copy Link

The 86-inch TV screens lining the cavernous basement of Penn Social aren’t the only place to find entertainment here. The bar also boasts Skee-Ball, cornhole, and many other games. For March Madness, find $4 Miller Lite, $6 Hazy Little Thing IPA, half-off cheesy bread, and arcade basketball tournaments during the Elite 8. Tin Shop’s sports bar portfolio also includes Georgetown’s Clubhouse, which celebrates with $4 Michelob Ultra, $5 lemon drop shots, $7 house spirits, and buy-one-get-one pizza slices; Franklin Hall, which has $4 pints of Miller Lite and $5 Goose Island IPAs; and Astro Beer Hall, with Miller Lite pints ($4), bourbon combos ($9), and pitchers ($16).

Penn Social/official photo

Union Pub

Copy Link

This Capitol Hill standby goes all out for game days. Doors open at 11 a.m. with $3 “Madness” Shots, $5 cans of 10 Barrel Brewing IPA, and $6 Devils Backbone drafts.

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern

Copy Link

Located close (but not too close) to Capital One Arena, this is a go-to classic before, during, and after big games with a sizable patio out front. Signed sports jerseys displayed on walls join rows of TVs across two wood-framed floors (and there’s even TVs in the bathrooms). Go for the wings, big salads, and burgers.

The Ugly Mug and Valor Brewpub

Copy Link

Barracks Row’s two-part home turf for fans of Iowa State University, Mississippi State, Navy, and Washington State sends out Budweiser and Bud Light towers, nachos, and top-tier barbecue from its big new pitmaster hire Shawn McWhirter. Sports betting machines sit on both floors.

The Brighton

Copy Link

The Hilton brothers’ Southwest Waterfront bar is home to the biggest wall projection screen at the Wharf. The featured March Madness special is buckets of five Miller Lites for $30. Other game-time deals include $5 Bud Light drafts and $6 Pacifico drafts or canned Coronas and Modelos with purchase of appetizer or entree, plus rotating cocktails ($10) and shooters ($6).

Brighton offers $5 drafts and food specials on game days.
Brighton

The Big Stick

Copy Link

At this ski lodge-themed sports bar, groups of sports fans can order four shots lined up on a wooden ski (a shotski). It’s like celebration and a team-building exercise all in one.

The Big Stick
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Walter’s Sports Bar and Restaurant

Copy Link

Situated right across from Nationals Park, Navy Yard’s sports bar stalwart is outfitted with 24 self-pour beer stations and massive 4K TV displays. Neighborhood fans flock here on game days for green tea shooters, subs, and seltzers and beers by the bucket.

The self-pour taphouse directly across from Nationals Park stars 99 types of draft beer, seltzer, cider, wines, and cocktails, all ready to be dispensed around the perimeter of the glossy, red-tiled bar. Patrons grab a glass or Solo cup for a DIY tasting that costs around 75 cents to $1 per ounce. Pub grub includes brick oven pizza and ridiculously thick mozzarella sticks. Happy hour runs from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Fridays.

Tap99 positions long, communal tables in front of self-pour draft lines for beer, cider, wines, cocktails, and kombucha
Tap99 positions long, communal tables in front of self-pour draft lines for beer, cider, wines, cocktails, and kombucha.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Sports & Social Bethesda

Pike & Rose complex upped its sports bar game with the arrival a new game day headquarters. The 8,000-square-foot bar with an 18-foot LED display in the middle broadcasts multiple games at once, with on-site entertainment (Skee-ball, foosball, arcade games and Beirut) and a dog-friendly patio. Another location is en route to U Street NW.

Sports & Social Bethesda comes from the team behind Live! Dining & Entertainment.
Max Touhey for Sports & Social

Lou's City Bar

Columbia Heights’s neighborhood sports bar is well equipped for basketball season with 20 crisp HD TVs, a brand new sound system, a huge projector, and sports betting machines. Oklahoma State, Maryland, and North Carolina State alumni flock here to catch college games.

The Game Sports Pub

The replacement to subterranean Ventnor Sports Cafe has quickly drawn notice for a menu that mixes pub classics with Filipino dishes from its D.C. bar vet owner Jo-Jo Valenzuela. Games aired on its 14 wall-to-wall TVs. March Madness specialty cocktails ($10 during games) come in various team colors. A yellow “Side Bracket” mixes D’usse VSPO, lemon, and triple sec.

Ivy and Coney

This unpretentious, cash-only bar is a diehard Chicago fan, from its sports teams to the food. Fill up on sausages and beef sandwiches alongside cheap Midwestern beer and well drinks. Stay perky with $5 nitro cold brews (or $11 with Jameson).

Duffy's Irish Pub (Dupont Circle NW)

This Dupont Circle sports bar, formerly located in Shaw and off H Street NE, maintains a long list of chicken wing varieties and its reputation as a haven for D.C. fans and sports betting. The bar will also add an additional location on Capitol Hill (1901 C Street SE).

Public Bar Live

A shift and rebrand toward a live music venue in 2019 doesn’t stop Public Bar from showing sports games. The three-story space, open at noon for March Madness, keeps its downstairs bar outfitted with TVs and seating for when live concerts aren’t rocking the stage. A 14-foot HD projector screen joins 40 other screens and five bars.

Albert Ting/Public Bar Live

Proper 21K (multiple locations)

The upscale sports bar that aligns itself with the University of Alabama maintains locations in Foggy Botton and downtown. Load up on buffalo chicken or truffle tots, local bratwurst, its beloved burger, and pitchers of beer.

Dirty Waters Sports Bar

Say what you will about Boston sports fans, but they know how to turn out for kickoff. Patriots and Red Sox game days are always an event at this H Street Bar, so grab a beer, study the lyrics to Sweet Caroline, and buckle up. Sports betting is also a thing inside. College alumni from Arkansas, Wake Forest, and the University of Georgia feel at home here.

Tom's Watch Bar - Capital One

The nationwide chain entered the D.C. market in December, bringing Chinatown an immersive sports-watching experience augmented with Old Bay shrimp, two-pound portions of wings, icy drafts served in huge steins, and a TopGolf-enabled simulator. The new game-day headquarters next to Capital One Arena boasts three central oversized “stadium” screens surrounded by 120 high-definition screens for 360-degree viewing. Tom’s will add two more D.C. locations in National Harbor and Navy Yard this year.

Tom’s Watch Bar has a dizzying array of TVs across two floors.
Tom’s Watch Bar

Guy Fieri's DC Kitchen + Bar

Flashy celebrity chef Guy Fieri debuted his anticipated full-service restaurant in Capital One Arena’s Caesars Sportsbook last fall. Go to Flavortown on game day with his towering “Trash Can Nachos,” bourbon brown sugar barbecue wings, bacon-wrapped manicotti, and lots of Fieri’s Sousa tequila stocked behind the bar.

Penn Social

The 86-inch TV screens lining the cavernous basement of Penn Social aren’t the only place to find entertainment here. The bar also boasts Skee-Ball, cornhole, and many other games. For March Madness, find $4 Miller Lite, $6 Hazy Little Thing IPA, half-off cheesy bread, and arcade basketball tournaments during the Elite 8. Tin Shop’s sports bar portfolio also includes Georgetown’s Clubhouse, which celebrates with $4 Michelob Ultra, $5 lemon drop shots, $7 house spirits, and buy-one-get-one pizza slices; Franklin Hall, which has $4 pints of Miller Lite and $5 Goose Island IPAs; and Astro Beer Hall, with Miller Lite pints ($4), bourbon combos ($9), and pitchers ($16).

Penn Social/official photo

Union Pub

This Capitol Hill standby goes all out for game days. Doors open at 11 a.m. with $3 “Madness” Shots, $5 cans of 10 Barrel Brewing IPA, and $6 Devils Backbone drafts.

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern

Located close (but not too close) to Capital One Arena, this is a go-to classic before, during, and after big games with a sizable patio out front. Signed sports jerseys displayed on walls join rows of TVs across two wood-framed floors (and there’s even TVs in the bathrooms). Go for the wings, big salads, and burgers.

The Ugly Mug and Valor Brewpub

Barracks Row’s two-part home turf for fans of Iowa State University, Mississippi State, Navy, and Washington State sends out Budweiser and Bud Light towers, nachos, and top-tier barbecue from its big new pitmaster hire Shawn McWhirter. Sports betting machines sit on both floors.

The Brighton

The Hilton brothers’ Southwest Waterfront bar is home to the biggest wall projection screen at the Wharf. The featured March Madness special is buckets of five Miller Lites for $30. Other game-time deals include $5 Bud Light drafts and $6 Pacifico drafts or canned Coronas and Modelos with purchase of appetizer or entree, plus rotating cocktails ($10) and shooters ($6).

Brighton offers $5 drafts and food specials on game days.
Brighton

Related Maps

The Big Stick

At this ski lodge-themed sports bar, groups of sports fans can order four shots lined up on a wooden ski (a shotski). It’s like celebration and a team-building exercise all in one.

The Big Stick
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Walter’s Sports Bar and Restaurant

Situated right across from Nationals Park, Navy Yard’s sports bar stalwart is outfitted with 24 self-pour beer stations and massive 4K TV displays. Neighborhood fans flock here on game days for green tea shooters, subs, and seltzers and beers by the bucket.

Tap99

The self-pour taphouse directly across from Nationals Park stars 99 types of draft beer, seltzer, cider, wines, and cocktails, all ready to be dispensed around the perimeter of the glossy, red-tiled bar. Patrons grab a glass or Solo cup for a DIY tasting that costs around 75 cents to $1 per ounce. Pub grub includes brick oven pizza and ridiculously thick mozzarella sticks. Happy hour runs from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Fridays.

Tap99 positions long, communal tables in front of self-pour draft lines for beer, cider, wines, cocktails, and kombucha
Tap99 positions long, communal tables in front of self-pour draft lines for beer, cider, wines, cocktails, and kombucha.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Related Maps