Maybe you’ve put your four years of keg stands and all-nighters behind you, but everybody knows college-football ties are a little tougher to break. And there’s no reason to break them in Washington when there are dozens of bars all set for first-semester Saturdays with your favorite school team. Whether you’re celebrating a Big Ten victory or trying to relive the days of the freshman 15, these local watering holes could prove to be better than tailgates. Don’t see your school on our list? In the comments, let us know where you watch your alma mater catch a touchdown.
• A stampede of University of Alabama elephants bring their Crimson Tide to Old Dominion Brewhouse for $22.99 towers of Bud and Bud Light on game day, $2 drafts of Bud and Bud Light before 1 PM, and prize drawings the first Sunday of each month.
• Boise State fans have extra incentive to stop by Champps in Arlington: Half-price burgers and a daily happy hour from 3 to 7 make every game feel like a victory.
• Porter’s Dining Saloon is the local home for alumni of both Boston College and Kansas University. When the teams play at the same time, the bar shows one game downstairs and the other upstairs to accommodate both groups. $3 Miller Light, Bud Light, and Coors Light keeps the matchups tension free.
• Sign of the Whale in downtown DC sees a few University of California Berkeley fans on game days, according to the school’s local alumni chapter.
• Bar Louie kicked off football season with drink specials and giveaways. Look for UCLA fans and supporters of the College of Wooster here.
• University of Colorado Meetup groups have found themselves in good company at the Light Horse Tavern in Old Town. The restaurant is owned by a Colorado alum, so fellow Buffs are always welcome.
• Crystal City Sports Pub shows all college-football games, and if your team’s game isn’t on, just ask. For a schedule visit the pub’s Web site. University of Arizona, Arizona State, University of Georgia, Clemson University, Auburn University, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, Iowa State, Ithaca College, University of Maryland, North Carolina State, University of North Carolina, Oklahoma State, University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern California, University of South Carolina, Virginia Tech, University of Wyoming, Xavier, and University of Washington alumni groups meet at this pub.
• Florida Gators fans gather at the Pour House to watch games on new high-definition flat-screen TVs. Treats such as $5 Jim Beam, $5 Jack Daniels, and $5 chicken fingers on Saturday fuel the excitement when the Gators are playing.
• Mackey’s Public House offers specials during Florida State games. Miller Lite drafts are $2.50, buckets $15, Yuengling drafts $3; mozzarella sticks, Buffalo wings, jalapeño poppers, chicken taquitos, chips and salsa or guacamole, and small nachos are half price. Fans also get $1 off Black Angus burgers and chicken sandwiches, and $2 off shepherd’s pie and fish and chips.
• Jayhawks flock to Porter’s Dining Saloon on game day to cheer on the University of Kansas. The downtown DC saloon offers $3 Miller Lite and Coors Light drafts or bottles on game days and 12 plasma screens to catch all the Rock Chalk action.
• Grevey’s, which has more than 50 high-definition TVs, will have University of Kentucky fans seeing blue.
• Game day means $15 Miller Lite pitchers for Louisiana State University, East Carolina, and James Madison University fans at Bailey’s Pub & Grille in Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood.
• University of Michigan Wolverines fans can enjoy the game on 22 TVs scattered throughout the bar and dining room at Tommy Joe’s. Specials include $3.50 Bud, Bud Light bottles and drafts and half-price miniature burgers, quesadillas, and Buffalo wings.
• Green is in at the Capitol Lounge, where Michigan State fans can enjoy the Spartan menu and specials on drinks such as Bells, brewed in Kalamazoo.
• University of Miami, Penn State, and Northwestern fans gather at BlackFinn in Bethesda every Saturday for $3 Coors Light Bottles, $3 drafts, $7 pitchers, and $16 towers of Miller Lite, and $4 drafts, $11 pitchers, and $26 towers of Blue Moon.
• Calling all Cornhuskers: University of Nebraska plants itself at Union Pub. With $2.50 bottles of Bud, Bud Light, Bud Lime, and Michelob Ultra at the bar, Nebraskans have plenty to cheer about.
• Notre Dame, Syracuse, University of Maryland, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech fans watch the games on ten plasma screens at Madhatter.
• Rhino Bar’s Web site boasts that it’s both the official and unofficial college-football bar that shows all regional and nationally broadcast games. Ohio State and Penn State alumni and fans call the bar home on game day. Wings are 25 cents, and domestic pitchers are $8 all afternoon.
• Boomer Sooner! University of Oklahoma hosts weekly game-watch parties at Mackey’s in Crystal City. For the occasion, six of the bar’s beers are available in $13 pitchers. Mackey’s is popular among a small group of University of Missouri fans as well.
• While Summers in Arlington offers no game-day specials, the DC alumni chapter for the University of Oregon has made the restaurant its dest
ination for catching a game.
• Penn Quarter Sports Tavern boasts an impressive list of fan groups eager to enjoy two full bars, high-definition TVs and outdoor seating at “DC’s alumni headquarters.” The tavern’s calendar lists watch parties scheduled for Boise State, Ball State, Indiana, Oregon State, University of Nevada, New Mexico State, Washington State, Appalachian State, Western Michigan, University of Arkansas, Mississippi State, University of Georgia, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Colorado, Ole Miss, USC, Ohio State, Kansas State, Montana State, and more. Football specials on tap include $12 Bud Light pitchers, $15 Leinenkugel pitchers, and Irish car bomb specials.
• The Bottom Line shows all games with the College Game Day package, but it’s the headquarters for Purdue and Virginia Tech fans. During games from 4 to 7, the bar offers $4 Peroni, Guinness, rail drinks, Miller Light drafts, and house red and white wine.
• Stanford alumni groups and Notre Dame fans fill the Exchange for all-you-can-drink Bud Light drafts and rail drinks for $15 until the end of the third quarter on game day, and pitchers are $10 all day Saturday. The bar also has food and drink specials, such as deals on car bombs, cherry bombs, and grape bombs.
• Cheer the Texas Longhorns to victory at Rhodeside Grill in Arlington. Become a Texas Ex member and sport the special shirt during the games. Special Texas-themed menu items include Shiner Bock beer, corn dog and chili-dog platters, Frito pies, and fried Twinkies. Audio for every Texas game is played throughout the bar so that patrons don’t miss a touchdown.
• The 25 flat-screen TVs, a state-of-the-art sound system, and daily specials at MoMo’s Sports Bar have attracted a pack of Utes who congregate at the downtown spot for University of Utah watch parties.
• Even though Villanova is better known for its basketball chops, alumni meet at Mackey’s in downtown DC during football season to keep up their sportsmanship.
• Wake Forest Demon Deacons choose Union Jack’s in Arlington for game day. For $10 on Saturday and Sunday, fans get 22 ounces of Bud Light or Miller Lite plus a burger or an order of Buffalo wings. On Monday, the same deal applies but with Miller Lite or Union Jack Ale. There are also $12 buckets of Coors Light or Miller Lite.
• Mountaineers get their own drink specials and food menu whenever West Virginia games are on at McFadden’s. But the bar doesn’t leave out the rest of us: $3 Miller Light, $10 pitchers, and $5 Jack Daniel’s are available for everyone on game day. Also, the owner of Ragtime in Arlington is a West Virginia University alumnus, so when the Mountaineers play, you can count on the whole restaurant and its 15 TVs to be tuned in to the game.
• Hawk ’n’ Dove shows every Wisconsin Badgers game. Bottles of domestic beer are $3 during games. Hamilton’s Bar & Grill also plays Wisconsin games for local alumni every Saturday upstairs, while other games are shown downstairs.
Didn’t see your team on the list? Check out these bars that show all games or take requests:
• Watch any college team at Lucky Bar on three big-screen TVs and 22 others. Ask the bartender for the game-day specials.
• Though not exclusively for game day, on Saturday you can pay $15 at My Brother’s Place for unlimited drinks from 9 PM to 1 AM, including rail drinks until 10. Domestic drafts are $2 from 4 to 9.
• Check Nellie’s Sports Bar’s calendar, because it often shows college-football games. There are $3 mimosas, Bloody Marys, Nellie draft beer, and house rail drinks as well as $12 buckets of Bud, Bud Light, and Michelob Ultra on Saturday from 11 to 5 and Sunday from 11 to closing.
• Play a game of pool while watching the game at Gators Billiards in Woodbridge.
• Summers Grill in Clarendon shows up to 20 college games that aren’t broadcast on basic-cable networks. Call ahead to see if your team’s game will be on.
• Velocity Five shows all games that are broadcast on major networks, ESPN channels, GamePlan, and the Big Ten Network. Because the bar shows so many games, call ahead to for the complete schedule.
NFL fan? We rounded up the best spots to watch professional teams, too. Check it out here.