Things to Do

Be a Guitar Hero or Rock Star at a Bar Near You

Pairing games with alcohol is no novelty in the DC bar scene, but throw in a video game like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, which allow you to indulge in dreams of rock stardom, and you get a fresh, genius take on the classic formula—after all, booze and rock

Capitalizing on the video game’s hype, some local bars have begun to host Guitar Hero nights. Here’s a list of places where you can go unleash the rock star within.

Champps Americana (11694 Plaza America Dr., Reston, 703-318-7600; 1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington, 703-414-3601). These two outposts of the national sports-bar chain have Guitar Hero nights every Tuesday from 9 to closing. There are no food specials during this time but plenty of booze for the Pete Doherty within.

Hard Times Cafe (14389 Potomac Festival Plaza, Woodbridge; 703-492-2950). Though a drive away from DC, this Woodbridge destination is worth the effort for its competitive spirit—in addition to being played on a giant projection screen, tournaments for cash and other prizes are held for medium- and expert-level competitors. Guitar Hero night is Friday from 9 to closing. Full band gear is available.

McFadden’s (2401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-223-2335). Frat boys as rock stars? It sounds paradoxical, but this popular-among-the-preppy Foggy Bottom bar somehow pulls it off. In fact, with two nights devoted to Rock Band and Guitar Hero, McFadden’s is the place to be for aficionados. Monday night, known as Rock Star Monday, is devoted exclusively to the video games; specials include $2 Rolling Rock drafts and $7 pitchers. Wednesday is game night, with free rentals of video games, board games, and movies. Specials include $10 Bud Light buckets and half-price burgers. 5 PM to closing on both nights.

Rhino Bar & Pumphouse (3295 M St., NW; 202-333-3150). Every Tuesday, Rhino holds Guitar Hero competitions and karaoke. The DJs have an extensive catalog of karaoke music, but the main attraction is the video game Guitar Hero, with wannabe shredders lining up to play Metallica and more. Specials include $3 Heineken and Dos Equis products and $5 Three Olives cherry and grape bombs. 10 PM to closing.


Hamilton's Bar & Grill (233 2nd St., NW; 202-347-6555). Hat tip to our reader Jennifer for telling us about this  Capitol Hill bar. Guitar Hero is available for free every night in their upstairs area. Drink specials during happy hour include $4 Jim Beam drinks, $2 rail drinks and $8 Yeungling pitchers.


Stetsons Famous Bar and Grill (1610 U St., NW; 202-667-6295). Rock Band is available at this U Street hangout every Sunday night at 7. Drink specials include $8 pitchers of Bud light and $2.50 rail drinks and Miller drafts.

The Nintendo Wii is another console making a dent in some DC bars.

Bedrock Billiards (1841 Columbia Rd., NW; 202-667-7665). At this Adams Morgan bar, you can play the Wii any day of the week, but there’s a price attached to your enjoyment. Sunday through Wednesday, game rates for the console are $6 for one person, $12 for a couple, and $16 for four. Thursday through Saturday, starting at 7 PM, prices go up: $10 for one, $14 for a couple, $20 for four. From 4 to 8, happy-hour drink specials include $3.50 Red Hook IPAs on draft, $3 Miller High Life bottles, and $3 rail drinks.

Cue Bar (1115 U St., NW; 202-332-7665). Playing the Wii is only half the fun at this U Street bar, where every third Thursday of the month, Laced, a video and live-art installation party organized by a group of artists and musicians known as the solSource Group (, takes place. Check the web site for times and dates.


The Front Page (4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-248-9990). The Nintendo Wii is available at this Ballston spot Sunday through Tuesday from 5 to close. There is no sign up sheet. Food and drink specials on Mondays and Tuesdays include $2.50 Miller Lite drafts, $2.75 rail drinks, and half-priced appetizers.

Do you know of other local bars that have Guitar Hero or Rock Band nights? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll update the post with your tip.

For more posts on nightlife, arts & events, and more, click here.