Where to Watch the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Washington

Local bars and restaurants offering drink specials, games-themed meals, and more.

By: Amanda Yeager

There’s been a lot of buzz about what exactly we’re going to see during the three-hour-long Olympic opening ceremonies in London this Friday (horses? sheep? David Beckham?!) Whatever artistic director Danny Boyle (of Slumdog Millionaire fame) has up his sleeve, it’s sure to be worth a watch. And what better way to do so than with a drink and some friends? Whether you want to catch the show at a sports bar or a British pub, read on for a list of the best places to be Friday night at 7:30.

Union Jack’s

This spot is billing itself as the official British pub for the London Olympics, and is offering a roster of specials to back up that claim. Get in the London spirit with $4 Newscastle pints and a companion menu of British favorites such as fish and chips and bangers and mash. Fill out a gold-medal raffle ticket and you can be entered into a drawing for a Heineken home draft system. (Specials apply to both the Ballston and Bethesda locations.)

Public House No. 7

For more food and drink specials, check out Public House No. 7 in Falls Church, where the opening ceremonies will be playing on ten flat-screen HDTVs. In addition to half-price rail drinks from 4 to 8, this British pub will be serving up an Olympic platter with traditional bar food from around the world—think bangers and mash from the UK, samosas from India, and good old American Buffalo wings.

The Queen Vic

Who knew Washington had so many British pubs? The Queen Vic, H Street’s hub for all things Anglo, will be screening the opening ceremonies and offering five Olympic-themed meals for $15 a plate—one for each ring color (hint: the “red plate” is meatloaf, blue is fish pie, green is spinach linguine, yellow is baked Camembert, and black is Belhaven Scottish Stout and six oysters).

Ventnor Sports Cafe

If you’re looking for a vibe that’s less Anglophile, more stars and stripes, check out the watch party at Ventnor Sports Cafe in Adams Morgan. Owner Scott Auslander plans on decorating the bar and offering up “good American beers” for $3. All the bar’s TVs will have sound on, so patrons can be sure to hear the baaing and neighing of any livestock present at the ceremony.

Blue Banana Sports & Rock Bar

This Petworth spot is opening at 6 to get the party going well before NBC’s broadcast of the opening ceremonies makes its way across the pond. Get $4 beers (draft and bottle) until 8 PM, and go for the gold all night with $5 Cuervo Gold shots and $3 red, white, and blue shooters.

Nellie’s Sports Bar

Perennial favorite Nellie’s won’t be missing out on the opening-ceremony action: Starting at 4 PM, the U Street establishment will be serving $4 Miller Light and house vodka drinks, as well as $15 buckets of beer.

Capitol City Brewing Company

Both the downtown and Shirlington locations will be screening the ceremonies, but head to Virginia for 12 large-screen TVs and specialty martinis like the Olympic Dream, an alcoholic take on the classic Orange Julius, with Galliano, orange juice, Triple Sec, and whipped cream.


If you want to spend your Friday watching the ceremonies and scoring a date, sign up for an Olympic-themed speed dating session at McFadden’s. Professionals in the City has booked a private room for the event, which starts at 7—don’t worry, there will be TVs on. Just try not to get distracted while you’re chatting up that cute guy or girl. (Tickets are $30, available in advance or at the door.)

Other places to watch the ceremonies:

Cleveland Park Bar & Grill (27 TVs, happy hour 4 to 7)

Buffalo Billiards (Five 10-foot screens, 62 flat-screens. $3 Newcastle and Heineken drafts)

BlackFinn (20 TVs—the ones in the pub area will have sound on)

Touchdown (Three floors, 20-plus TVs)

The Codmother (Yet another British pub! $6 pints of Old Speckled Hen English ale, $8 pints of Wexford Irish cream ale and shots of Irish whiskey until 8 PM, and two TVs)

Union Pub (27 flat-screen TVs, $5 Goose Island drafts, $3 rails, and $3 Bud Lights after 8 PM)