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The best sports bars in Washington, D.C.

The best sports bars in Washington, D.C.

One thing about Washington D.C.'s bar scene, unlike other areas in the country, is that they have several great bars in the area. There are not just a handful of gems hidden throughout the city, they're all good. 

Sports bars in D.C. are the same. Whether you're looking for a local bar that celebrates your college team on Saturdays or just give you a slice of another city, the district has it all. 

But, there are some that stand out above the rest. Some are guaranteed to give you a good time every time that you show up, not just on game nights. 

And these sports bars, are not the bar home for another city's sports team. Next time you go out, keep this list handy. 

*Penn Quarter Sports Tavern - 639 Indiana Ave. NW

Three blocks away from Capital One Arena, the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern is a popular location for Washington Capitals fans before and after their games. In 2018 it was voted the Washington Post Express' "Best Sports Bar" in D.C. Like all good bars, they have an outdoor patio and to make it even better it is heated. There are 35 TVs across the bar showing any game on for the day and has a 4-7pm happy hour every weekday. 

*Yard House - 812 7th St. NW  

Yard House is not just a special find in the nation's capital. There are a handful of locations across the East Coast. But for beer connoisseurs, Yard House claims to have the 'World's largest selection of draft beer.' And they are not kidding, look at their menu, with over 100 beer on tap. When it comes to food they have something for everybody and their quality is a step or two up from what one comes to expect at a sports bar.

*Penn Social - 801 E St. NW 

Not just a bar, Penn Social has an entire floor dedicated to bar and arcade games and you wouldn't even know it upon entering. It's a great place to go no matter what your intentions are for the outing. With 13,000 square feet, there's are so many activities to keep you occupied whether you are killing time during halftime of a game or just waiting for rush hour traffic to die down. Oh, and they have a 22-foot screen projector for all the major events. 

*Buffalo Billiards - 1330 19th St. NW 

With a mix of class and leisure, Buffalo Billiards brings exactly what you are looking for in a sports bar. There's a TV in all the nooks and crannies of the restaurant with every bar game imaginable. There are couches, standalone bar stools and of course tables for whichever mood you are in. They can also host private events and parties in one of their side rooms. 

*Franklin Hall - 1348 Florida Ave. NW

Walking into Franklin Hall feels like they put an extended bar in a small warehouse (actually it's a former laundry building), but it can pack the house for big events. There are limited options in terms of TV options if one wants to sit in the restaurant part of the bar, but a great gathering for a large group of friends. 

*Nellie's Sports Bar - 900 U St.

Known as D.C.'s first gay sports bar, Nellie's is one of the top spots in the area to come and watch a game. Typically mornings are saved for brunch specials and the late afternoons and early evenings transition to game nights. 

*Lucky Bar - 1221 Connecticut Ave. NW

If you need a place to grab the early European soccer games, Lucky Bar is the place for you. As such, they also have an early and long happy hour (3-8pm) with a no-frills policy. Smaller than a majority of the other bars on this list, it an intimate location with an outgoing personality. 

*Cleveland Park Sports Bar and Grill -3421 Connecticut Ave. NW

A fan of hidden gems? Cleveland Park Sports Bar and Grill is that location. A small business that is in their 15th year of operation is a local's favorite not too far from the National Zoo. The food will not wow you, but for the price and the environment, it's a nice stop and variation from a typical city bar. 

*Lou's City Bar - 1400 Irving St. NW

Tuesday trivia nights and Friday karaoke nights are a must visit at Lou's. There are comfortable bar and table seating, with an outdoor patio. Located right by the Columbia Heights Metro stop, it's a convenient bar for those on their way in or out of D.C. 

*Dock FC - 1400 Okie St. NE

There's not a better place to catch a soccer match in DC than Dock FC in Ivy City. There are so many TVs that when you first walk in it can seem overwhelming. If there is not a soccer match or marque sporting event there will be plenty of space and the servers will take care of you. On soccer game days, well it's about what you expect. 

*Penn Commons - 700 6th St. NW

Watching multiple games at once will not be a problem whatsoever here. And their happy hour drinks and food specials are fantastic. If you are an avid sports fan, this is the place for you. 

*Player's Club - 1400 14th St. NW

An old-school 1970s style bar is a great venue to go out and enjoy a night watching sports. During special events, it is packed from wall-to-wall and there are waits for the arcade games (which are either 25 or 50 cents).

Denny Hamlin wins another Daytona 500 for Joe Gibbs; Ryan Newman hospitalized

USA TODAY Sports Images

Denny Hamlin wins another Daytona 500 for Joe Gibbs; Ryan Newman hospitalized

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Ryan Newman flipped across the finish line, his Ford planted upside down and on fire, a grim reminder of a sport steeped in danger that has stretched nearly two decades without a fatality.

At the finish line, Denny Hamlin made history with a second straight Daytona 500 victory in an overtime photo finish over Ryan Blaney, a celebration that quickly became muted as drivers awaited an update on Newman's condition.

"I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are," Hamlin said. "But number one, we are praying for Ryan."

Roughly two hours after the crash, NASCAR read a statement from Roush Fenway Racing that said Newman is in "serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life-threatening."

During the long wait for an update, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to express his concern. Trump a day earlier attended the race as the grand marshal, gave the command for drivers to start their engines and made a ceremonial pace lap around Daytona International Speedway before rain washed out the race.

"Praying for Ryan Newman, a great and brave @NASCAR driver! #PrayingForRyan," Trump tweeted. Newman was one of several NASCAR drivers who attended a 2016 rally for Trump in Georgia when he was a presidential candidate.

Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, acknowledged the excruciating delay for information on Newman.

"To hear some positive news tonight is a relief," Rushbrook said. "He is so respected for being a great competitor by everyone in the sport."

NASCAR scrapped the traditional victory lane party for Hamlin's third Daytona 500 victory, rocked by Newman's accident 19 years after Dale Earnhardt was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt was the last driver killed in a NASCAR Cup Series race.

Newman had surged into the lead on the final lap when Blaney's bumper caught the back of his Ford and sent Newman hard right into the wall. His car flipped, rolled, was hit on the driver's side by another car, and finally skidded across the finish line in flames (VIDEO - watch with caution).

It took several minutes for his car to be rolled back onto its wheels. Medical personnel used solid black barriers to block the view as the 2008 Daytona 500 winner was placed in a waiting ambulance and taken to a hospital. The damage to his Mustang was extensive -- it appeared the entire roll cage designed to protect his head had caved -- and officials would not allow his team near the accident site.

Drivers were stricken with concern, including a rattled Corey LaJoie, the driver who hit Newman's car as it was flipping.

"Dang I hope Newman is ok," he posted on Twitter. "That is worst case scenerio and I had nowhere to go but (into) smoke."

Hamlin is the first driver since Sterling Marlin in 1995 to win consecutive Daytona 500's, but his celebration in victory lane was subdued.

Hamlin said he was unaware of Newman's situation when he initially began his celebration. It wasn't until Fox Sports told him it would not interview him on the frontstretch after his burnouts that Hamlin learned the accident was bad.

"It's a weird balance of excitement and happiness for yourself, but someone's health and their family is bigger than any win in any sport," he said. "We are just hoping for the best."

Team owner Joe Gibbs apologized after the race for the winning team celebration.

"We didn't know until victory lane," Gibbs said. "I know that for a lot of us, participating in sports and being in things where there are some risks, in a way, that's what they get excited about. Racing, we know what can happen, we just dream it doesn't happen. We are all just praying now for the outcome on this."

Runner-up Blaney said the way the final lap shook out, with Newman surging ahead of Hamlin, that Blaney got a push from Hamlin that locked him in behind Newman in a move of brand alliance for Ford.

"We pushed Newman there to the lead and then we got a push from the 11 ... I was committed to just pushing him to the win and having a Ford win it and got the bumpers hooked up wrong," he said.

Hamlin had eight Ford drivers lined up behind him as the leader on the second overtime shootout without a single fellow Toyota driver in the vicinity to help him. It allowed Newman to get past him for the lead, but the bumping in the pack led to Newman's hard turn into the wall, followed by multiple rolls and a long skid across the finish line.

Hamlin's win last year was a 1-2-3 sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing and kicked off a yearlong company celebration in which Gibbs drivers won a record 19 races and the Cup championship. Now his third Daytona 500 win puts him alongside six Hall of Fame drivers as winners of three or more Daytona 500s. He tied Dale Jarrett -- who gave JGR its first Daytona 500 win in 1993 -- Jeff Gordon and Bobby Allison. Hamlin trails Cale Yarborough's four wins and the record seven by Richard Petty.

This victory came after just the second rain postponement in 62 years, a visit from Trump, a pair of red flag stoppages and two overtimes. The 0.014 margin of victory was the second closest in race history, and Hamlin's win over Martin Truex Jr. in 2016 was the closest finish in race history.

That margin of victory was 0.01 seconds. The win in "The Great American Race" is the third for Toyota, all won by Hamlin. Gibbs has four Daytona 500 victories as an owner.

"I just feel like I'm a student to the game. I never stop learning and trying to figure out where I need to put myself at the right time," Hamlin said. "It doesn't always work. We've defied odds here in the last eight years or so in the Daytona 500, but just trust my instincts, and so far they've been good for me."


NASCAR Countdown: 1 Final Time For The G.O.A.T.


NASCAR Countdown: 1 Final Time For The G.O.A.T.

NBC Sports Washington is counting down big NASCAR moments leading up to the Daytona 500. Be sure to check out our other coverage below.

We’ve hit on a lot in this countdown. From the best Daytona 500 finishes, to silly season moves, to Hall of Famers and everything in between.

But with one day remaining until the Great American Race, this day is reserved for one specific driver who happens to be hanging up his full-time driving helmet at the end of the season.

The greatest NASCAR driver of all-time: Jimmie Johnson.

When Jeff Gordon told Rick Hendrick to hire Jimmie Johnson, it’s safe to say he didn’t expect the then mid-20s California kid to surpass his success in the Cup Series. But right off the bat, he showed signs he had it.

It took Johnson 10 races to reach Victory Lane, albeit at his home track of Auto Club Speedway. And then three races later, his first of a NASCAR record 11 wins at Dover International Speedway. The baby-faced California kid was no longer a dirt motorbike racer on two-wheels. He was a full-fledged stock car driver.

He finished fifth in the championship standings his rookie year, but didn’t even win the Rookie of the Year award thanks to Ryan Newman’s stellar campaign. Three more wins in 2003 and a second-place finish in the standings, a whopping eight checkered flags in 2004 and another runner-up finish. He had arrived. He was “big time.” The championships were coming.

After four more wins and another fifth-place finish in 2005, the dominance began. He and crew chief Chad Knaus. 2006: a championship...and 2007, 2008...2009 and 2010. Fives titles in a row, eclipsing Cale Yarborough’s then-record of three consecutive titles.

NASCAR doesn’t get as much attention as the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB. But any sports fan can appreciate dominance when they see it. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick didn’t win five straight. Neither did Shaq and Kobe. It’s the most impressive feat by a team in the modern era of sports. 

After two years of failing to win it all, he returned to championship form, winning his sixth in 2013. NASCAR then again changed the championship format to go to a winner-take-all, championship four style format. And after another two-year break, Johnson did it again.

His record-tying seventh title came in 2016, using his patented passing skills to get by Kyle Larson on a late-race restart to claim his first career win at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a track that had crowned him champion six times, but had never given him the “race winner” title.

His quest to defend the title in 2017 was a tough one. Although he won three times, he finished 10th in the standings, only the third time in his career he’d finished 10th or worse

In recent years, his performance has been lackluster to put it lightly. No wins for the first time ever in 2018, and a missed playoff appearance for the first time ever in 2019. Johnson has gone almost two calendar years without winning a points-paying race.

Sure, age has something to do with it. But his team (Hendrick Motorsports) hasn’t kept up with the times, either. They, along with Chevrolet as a manufacturer, have fallen behind Toyota and Ford in recent years. Performance across the board has suffered.

This past offseason, Johnson announced 2020 would be his final year racing full-time in the Cup Series. Some people blamed his performance as a factor, some blamed age.

I’d chalk it up to a little bit of both. But I’m going to watch Johnson’s 2020 season through the lens of appreciation. It’s not often that you get to live through an era where the best to ever do it competes. Right in front of your eyes.

That’s what we’ve gotten to see from Jimmie Johnson.

Here's the bottom line: NASCAR literally changed the generation of stock cars the field ran three separate times and changed the playoff field three times along the way.

Regardless, Johnson and Knaus continued winning no matter.

After winning his seventh title, the hashtag “#Chasing8” was a rallying cry for Johnson supporters on social media. But after his announcement, he decided to change that hashtag to something a little more sentimental.


So when Johnson likely competes in his last Daytona 500, and races at Las Vegas, Atlanta, Dover, leads his final laps, perhaps wins his final race, takes his final checkered flag, the list goes on: appreciate it. Because there’ll never be another Jimmie Johnson.

He’s one of a kind.