Burgundy & Gold Flag Football Game
Photo: Courtesy of the Redskins Cheerleaders

The Ladies Take the Field in the Redskins’ Burgundy & Gold Flag Football Game

June 12 marks the third annual Burgundy & Gold Flag Football Game hosted by the Redskins and played by the women making a name for themselves in DC area football. In 2013, the Redskins Cheerleaders launched the event to raise money for charities ranging from the Redskins Charitable Foundation to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

“It’s an opportunity for us to show our involvement in the community and our football skills,” says Jamilla Keene, Assistant Director of Programs & Marketing for the Redskins Cheerleaders.

This year, the Redskins Cheerleaders are joining forces with the Women of Washington Redskins (WOW) and the DC Divas, the DMV’s top-ranked Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) full-contact team. Glendalyn Junio, the Redskins’ Marketing Manager, says the cheerleaders are looking to change up the flag football experience and involve the women’s platform for the team.

“In the past, the cheerleaders made up both teams,” she says. “This year, we’ve partnered up to really empower more of the women that have played a role in the growth of women in the sport of football.”

Junio says the Redskins are excited to have a variety of women involved who have all been exposed to different levels of the game.

“The fact that we’re involving a women’s professional full-contact football team [the DC Divas] just adds to that excitement. Don’t worry – they are completely aware that it is flag football.”

Redskins alumni Doug Williams and Gary Clark will join the game as celebrity coaches, and current linebacker Houston Bates will serve as assistant coach. The guys selected names at random for the burgundy and gold teams at the Kickoff to the Draft party this spring from a list of WOW, DC Diva, and Redskins Cheerleader and Ambassador draftees.

“It’s a unique opportunity where we’ve partnered up with three groups who are extremely passionate about football and the Redskins,” Junio says. “Not only will we make it feel like a game with giveaways, cheerleaders and hype people, we know these ladies will play their hearts out!”

The game has sold out for the past two years, so get your tickets soon:www.redskins.com/cheerleaders. Gates open at noon, and kickoff is at 1 p.m.

Burgundy & Gold Flag Football Game at Woodrow Wilson High School: 3950 Chesapeake St. NW, DC

Photo: Courtesy of the Redskins Cheerleaders 

where to watch soccer dc
Bar photos: Courtesy of respective bars and Bill Hamid photos: Tony Quinn, D.C. United

Summer of Soccer

Every four years, planet Earth collectively salivates at the opportunity to guzzle the World Cup game by game, experiencing the worldwide party that is futbol.

Surely you remember two summers ago, when boisterous crowds filled the district with red, white and blue, while jumping to the chants of, “I believe that we will win!” And the pandemonium when we did.

But while casual soccer fans are counting their fingers to Russia 2018, futbol fanatics know we are just days away from kicking off an amazing summer of soccer, as the two best soccer regions in the world compete for continental supremacy.

The UEFA Euro 2016 from June 10 to July 10 will showcase 22 of the world’s top 30 nations, according to the current FIFA world rankings. The qualification for this tournament was so highly contested that international mainstays Denmark and the Netherlands failed to make the 24-team field.

The French hosts will undoubtedly be fueled by tributes to the lives taken in last year’s Paris attacks, and will be led by two emerging young superstars in Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann.

The reigning World Cup champions, Germany, are looking to continue their international dominance, while England will hope to finally find the right combination of experience and athleticism to reemerge on the international scene.

Perennial powerhouses Spain, Portugal and Italy have landed in difficult groups full of potential spoilers, and Belgium, Sweden and Croatia, although lacking the same team depth and historical success, will look to ride their big name superstars through the knockout rounds.

Where to Catch Euro Games

With the Republic of Ireland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland all in action, there are many great opportunities to enjoy pub football at its finest. Head to Fado Irish Pub in Chinatown and order the most traditionally Irish items on the menu to go along with your favorite pint. Enjoy the feel of a day in Dublin while watching the United Kingdom’s best teams duke it out on the European stage.
Virginians can enjoy a similar atmosphere at Ireland’s Four Courts in Arlington, just across the street from historic soccer pub Summers Restaurant. Fans can jump from one to the other for a great day of soccer. Ideal pub matches are England vs. Wales on June 16, and the Republic of Ireland vs. Italy on June 22.
German fans should check out Biergarten Haus on H Street and enjoy the patio televisions, traditional Bavarian fare and boot-shaped pints. Bring or make friends, and celebrate a German goal with a four-person shot ski.

The Copa America Centenario

The Copa America Centenario is the world’s oldest international soccer competition, and will be celebrating its 100th anniversary this summer by doing something it has never done before: playing the games in the U.S.

From June 3-26, classic South American futbol will take 10 American cities by storm, playing in historic stadiums like Soldier Field, Gillette (previously Foxboro) and the Rose Bowl. In addition to the 10 South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) teams, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) will add six teams to create the largest field in the tournament’s history.

Whereas the Euro Cup features rigid team structure and intense tactical battles, the Copa brings a free-flowing, fast-paced brand of the game that fans can’t help but love, along with the divine creativity of players like Lionel Messi, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, Luis Suarez and Alexis Sanchez. These four players are fully expected to lead their respective teams (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and defending champions Chile) to the semi-finals, but there is certainly no guarantee they will, as eight of the 10 South American nations have previously won the tournament.

For the Americans, the challenge will certainly be difficult, but the same was said of the “group of death” they met head on in Brazil two years ago. They kick off the entire tournament on June 3 with a massive match against Colombia, the third-ranked team in the world, according to FIFA.

The winner of this match has an excellent chance of advancing, but a loss could be crushing, as the Costa Ricans and Paraguayans both present problems for an American side that has underachieved as of late.

While no CONCACAF team has ever won the tournament, perhaps the unprecedented home field advantage could help the Americans break through and make world soccer history.

Where to Catch Copa America Games

The tournament will not feature any games in DC, but fans hoping to catch the action live can see Uruguay vs. Venezuela on June 9 and U.S. vs. Paraguay on June 11 in Philadelphia, or the quarterfinals and finals at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. For those staying local, check out Lucky Bar in Dupont, Johnny Pistolas on 18th Street or Blaguard in Adams Morgan.

Bar photos: Courtesy of respective bars
Bill Hamid photos: Tony Quinn, D.C. United

Bill Hamid
Photo: Tony Quinn, D.C. United

D.C. United’s Bill Hamid

The popularity of Major League Soccer has risen rapidly in recent years with the addition of international superstars like Andrea Pirlo and David Villa. In the nation’s capital, however, it is the return of local legend Bill Hamid that has D.C. United fans excited for the 2016 season.

The talented 25-year-old shot-stopper has missed the last four months, and D.C.’s first 13 games, due to a follow-up procedure on the knee he injured last July.

“It’s been all about patience, and getting my body as strong as possible,” Hamid explained during an interview with On Tap. “I’ve been working hard [in] rehab, and I’m ready.”

Beloved by fans for his roots in nearby Annandale, Va., Hamid grew up playing travel soccer for his father, a native of Sierra Leone, who is still the first person to hyperanalyze his game films and tell him where he can improve. He credits his family, and his hometown, for his success.

 “It impacted me tremendously,” Hamid explained. “When you look at the different cultures and ethnicities coming out of Annandale, you get to see the way different styles of soccer are played, and learn about different cultures. That helped me a lot in my growth process.”

During his rehabilitation, Hamid has occupied his mind by taking French classes at the Alliance Francaise.

“I’ve been enjoying it,” Hamid said of his latest intellectual endeavor. “It keeps me busy, and my mind working. I’ll have to back off now that I am back on the field.”

Hamid’s return will come at a great time for the Black-and-Red. With 23 games remaining, the team sits just three points from the top, but also only two points from missing the playoffs, in a wide-open Eastern Conference race.

“It’s still early in the season, teams are building and no one in the Eastern Conference has found their groove yet,” he observed. “If we can develop chemistry and consistency in our performance level, we will put ourselves in a great position by the end of the year.”

Hamid was the model of consistency in 2014, saving 75 percent of his shots, accumulating 10 clean sheets, winning goalkeeper of the year, and helping D.C. United claim the Eastern Conference regular season title.

“No fear,” Hamid declared. “I got here by putting my body on the line to make the saves my team needs, and no injury is going to change the way I play the game.”

Although the time off will force Hamid to miss this year’s Copa America, the USMNT’s number three keeper has every intention of getting back to the squad as soon as he can.

“Like anyone who has been around the national team, I know the training sessions and what they expect. It will be important for me to watch those games very closely, and work hard with my trainer to come back and prove myself to my team and country.”

Hamid will also have his eye on the UEFA Euro 2016, where he has a rooting interest in England, due to time he spent with coach Roy Hodgson on a visit to West Bromwich Albion in 2011.

“Roy’s a great coach” Hamid applauded. “I saw the way he manages his team and has them play out of the back, and if they can implement that properly, they’re overdue for a big tournament win.”

While he occasionally gathers with friends to catch a game at a local pub, Hamid prefers staying in to study the games with the same analytical approach he learned from his father, and uses now to continually improve his game.

“I’ve got to get the DVR ready,” he said with a smile. “There’s going to be a lot of great soccer on this summer.”

Photo: Tony Quinn, D.C. United03

horse racing fun facts

Race Day Fun Facts

1. As of 2015, only 12 horses had won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton in 1919, Gallant Fox in 1930, Omaha in 1935, War Admiral in 1937, Whirlaway in 1941, Count Fleet in 1943, Assault in 1946, Citation in 1948, Secretariat in 1973, Seattle Slew in 1977, Affirmed in 1978 and American Pharoah in 2015.

2. While 13 horses tried and failed to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont since Affirmed in 1978, American Pharoah ended the 37-year drought in 2015 to become thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner.

3. On Kentucky Derby race day, visitors at Churchill Downs consume over 120,000 mint juleps, 40,000 Oaks Lilies and upwards of 425,000 cans of beer.

4. At the Kentucky Derby, over 400 roses are used for the winner’s garland, 60 long-stemmed red roses comprise the winning jockey’s bouquet, 2,100 roses dress the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle and there are 250 rose bushes around the facility.

5. The Preakness-inspired black-eyed Susan cocktail dates back to 1973, when the special drink was concocted to fill commemorative Preakness glasses. The original recipe involved orange juice, vodka, rum and triple sec, served over ice and garnished with a wedge of lime.

6. The Woodlawn Vase (currently valued at over a million dollars) used to be awarded to the winning Preakness owner. Due to the immense responsibility of safeguarding such a valuable trophy, the winning owner now receives a $30,000 sterling replica on a permanent basis while the original is on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

7. Considered the “Test of the Champion” and “Run for the Carnations,” the Belmont Stakes has a reputation for being the toughest test in the Triple Crown because it is the longest and last race of the series.

8. White carnations are the traditional flower of the Belmont Stakes. The blanket of carnations awarded to the winner consists of about 400 carnations and takes about 10 hours to put together.

9. The Virginia Gold Cup emerged when eight sportsmen met at the Fauquier Club in Warrenton and organized a four-mile race alongside the natural walls and fences of the nearby countryside on April 3, 1922. Thirty-four days later, the Virginia Gold Cup race was born.

10. Today, over 45,000 spectators attend the Virginia Gold Cup. This famed steeplechase race is one of the largest and most popular sporting events in the greater Washington area.

Fun facts courtesy of the following articles: 
#1, 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_Crown_of_Thoroughbred_Racing_(United_States)
#3, 4:www.kentuckyderby.com/sites/kentuckyderby.com/files/u64720/Fun%20Facts%20(2013).pdf
#5: www.horsenation.com/2015/05/15/official-drink-of-the-preakness-the-black-eyed-susan-3/
#6: www.preakness.com/preakness-tradition
#7: www.americasbestracing.net/en/the-latest/abrv/2014/5/29/ten-fun-facts-about-the-belmont-stakes/
#8: www.belmont-stakes.info/carnations
#9, 10: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Gold_Cup

Biking Washington DC
Photo: Courtesy of Svetlana Legetic

Biking in the City

It’s springtime in the city, and bike enthusiasts and newbies alike can reap the benefits of DC’s warmer months. Rated one of the best cities for biking, the District is chock-full of trails. Two local favorites include the Metropolitan Branch Trail, an 8-mile trail from Union Station to Silver Spring, and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, which runs along both sides of the Anacostia River. Both are wide, paved and go in both directions – perfect for beginners.

Need an event to kick off the season? Check out DC’s Tour de Fat on May 21 in Yards Park, an annual event hosted by New Belgium Brewing Company. It’s nothing short of a crazy bike party, and it’s all free. New Belgium will also have their highly-rated beers available for purchase. Learn more here: www.newbelgium.com/Events/tour-de-fat/Washington.

If crazy parties aren’t your thing, consider the DC Bike Ride (DCBR) on May 22, a 17-mile bike ride offering a car-free tour of DC. You’ll pass many DC icons on the ride, and participants are invited to stay after for a festival with yoga and music performances. Tickets can be purchased at www.dcbikeride.com.

Another option is the 16th annual Bike to Work Day on May 20, a free event offering raffle prizes to those who register. There will be pit stops throughout DC with refreshments and entertainment. Register at www.biketoworkmetrodc.org.

For a delicious ride, look no further than the Tree House Tour de Cookie in Rockville, Md. on May 7, where you can bounce between cookie stands. Choose from 12-, 26- and 42-mile options. Stick around post-ride for entertainment and activities. Tickets can be purchased at www.treehousetourdecookie.com.

If you want to join a local bike organization, check out the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), an association focused on creating a healthy, more livable region. Visit their website at www.waba.org. In Virginia, there’s the NOVA-CBG (CBG stands for Casual Bike Group), a great option for beginners and intermediate bikers. Check out their events at www.novacbg.org.

If you’re looking to purchase an electric bike, check out Riide (1933 9th St. NW, DC), offering free three-day demos. For a reliable bike and repair shop in the city, visit District Hardware (1108 24th St. NW, DC). It’s the oldest family-owned bike shop in DC, open since the late ‘60s.

For options in Virginia, visit Papillon Cycles in Arlington (2805 Columbia Pike), offering “the latest biking equipment, expert servicing and a gathering place for local bikers.” Or, try Arlington’s The Old Bike Shop (2647 N Pershing Dr.), which specializes in recycling old bikes. All used bikes include a 30-day warranty, and they even have some antiques.

If you don’t own a bike, or aren’t interested in purchasing one, consider the Capital Bikeshare program, which has stations all over the DC Metro area. Multiple membership options are available, ranging from 24 hours to annual. Visitwww.capitalbikeshare.com for more specifics on the program. Happy cycling!
Photo: Courtesy of Svetlana Legetic
baseball fun facts

Fun Facts All About Baseball

1. Approximately 21 million hotdogs are purchased annually at baseball games. If placed end-to-end, they’d round the bases 29,691 times.

2. Have no fear, the chances are only 300,000 to one that you’ll get hit by a baseball and injured at an MLB game.

3. If a curveball was thrown on Mars, it’d become a screwball, giving hitters the advantage since balls would travel almost three times as far on the Red Planet.

4. There are up to nine ways that a batter can reach first base safely in MLB.

5. The average lifespan of a baseball is five to seven pitches, with up to 72 baseballs used during a regular nine-inning game.

6. In the event of an enemy bombing, whichever team is leading after five innings is declared the winner. The MLB established this rule during WWII.

7. During a typical MLB season, up to 160,000 baseballs are used.

8. Straw hats were part of the very first baseball uniform, worn by the Knickerbockers in 1849.

9. If popped straight up, the longest home run ever hit (in Rogers Centre, formerly Skydome, in Toronto) would not have hit the ceiling.

10.  MLB baseballs are rubbed in a very fine, one-of-a-kind mud (Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud) found in a secret location near Palmyra, N.J.

Fun facts courtesy of the following articles:
#1: https://inthenation.nationwide.com/baseball-facts-infographic/
#s 2, 6: www.kickassfacts.com/30-kickass-interesting-facts-about-baseball/
#3: www.baseballbats-11.com/10-fun-facts-about-baseball-fans-not-know/
#s 4, 7, 9, 10: www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/35-odd-baseball-facts-that-are-too-strange-to-be-made-up
#s 5, 8: www.lastwordonsports.com/2013/03/31/30-completely-random-yet-amazing-baseball-facts/

Washington Nationals
Photo: Courtesy of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club

Nationals Aim High in 2016: New Players, Savvy Vets Raise Expectations

When the Washington Nationals take the field for their home opener against the Miami Marlins on April 7, the team and its loyal fans will be eager to erase memories of a disappointing 2015 season.

They’ll have plenty of reasons for optimism. With an experienced new manager in Dusty Baker, a strong bullpen led by ace Max Scherzer and the healthy return of the National League’s reigning MVP, Bryce Harper, Washington is again expected to reach the playoffs and possibly even earn their first World Series berth.

Nationals fans not only have reason to be excited about what’s happening on the field, but also the overall ballpark experience. The franchise has upped its concession game considerably for the 2016 season, doubling the size of the wildly popular Shake Shack counter and expanding Top Chef Mike Isabella’s gourmet presence.

One of the biggest changes to the lineup for 2016 is the Nats new beer partner, Budweiser.  You will still find local crafts on tap, but now fans will have access to a Goose Island bar, Stella Artois and the full family of beers in the Anheuser-Busch portfolio. Look for new names for some familiar spots, and an opening day celebration featuring the world famous Clydesdales. The Nats have also planned some fun giveaways including free Nationals sunglasses for the first 25,000 fans at the home opener, and a Bryce Harper bobblehead doll and Chia Pet later in the season.

“The Nationals are always looking to enhance the fan experience at Nationals Park,” said Valerie Camillo, the Nationals’ Chief Marketing Officer.

The team opens its season on the road with Scherzer throwing against National League rival Atlanta on April 4. Three days later, the team welcomes its fans to the home debut for a matchup against the Marlins at 4:05 p.m. Stephen Strasburg, who finished last season in blazing form, will be on the mound. The Nats will battle the Marlins twice more over opening weekend on Saturday, April 9 at 4:05 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 1:35 p.m. Tickets are still available for both of those games.

The team’s powerful batting lineup returns mostly intact with Harper and slugger Anthony Rendon taking top billing, but also with Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa and new addition Daniel Murphy expected to produce lots of runs. Murphy, an infielder with a big bat, was acquired from the New York Mets in the off-season and has drawn rave reviews for his positive clubhouse influence and work ethic.

Veteran slugger and fan favorite Ryan Zimmerman, hobbled by a foot injury last season, looked strong in spring training in Florida and will be ready to go for the home opener. Outfielder Ben Revere, whom the Nationals acquired in an off-season trade by sending pitcher Drew Storen to the Toronto Blue Jays, should provide some at-the-plate consistency that the Nats lacked with oft-injured Denard Span.

But of course the biggest story at the plate is Harper. The 23-year-old phenom hit .330 last season while blasting 42 home runs, a tie for the most in the National League. In the process, he became just the seventh – and youngest – unanimous MVP in baseball history. Some analysts are wondering if Harper can capture the NL’s first Triple Crown since Joe Medwick accomplished the feat with the Cardinals in 1937.

In an interview with MLB.com earlier this year, Baker seemed practically giddy at the prospect of coaching Harper, the most heralded baseball player in a generation: “Hey man, this kid can play. He can really play. I love watching him play. Hopefully he can learn from me, and there might be something he can teach me.”

While their bats look hot, the Nats’ pitching rotation also appears strong, if not quite as powerful as in recent years. In his first season with the Nats last year, Scherzer set a team record for strikeouts and became the fifth player in major league history to notch two no-hitters in one season.

Meanwhile, Strasburg – among the most hyped players in league history when the Nats signed him in 2010 – seems to have put a slew of injuries behind him. Strasburg was one of the best pitchers in baseball over the second half last season, going 8-2, with a 1.76 earned run average. The team will also field some young but promising relievers in Felipe Rivero and Trevor Gott, and competent journeymen in Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez and Yusmeiro Petit.

“We’ve got some live young arms and some good veteran experience,” Bob Boone, the Nats’ assistant GM, told the Washington Post in late March.

Of course, one of the biggest storylines of the Nats’ off-season was signing 66-year-old former player Baker to a two-year contract as the team’s new manager. An eclectic presence known for his rapport with players, Baker replaces Matt Williams, who rubbed many in the clubhouse the wrong way. Baker won a World Series as a player and has spent 20 years as a manager.

“He’s great with young players, he’s good with veterans,” retired outfielder Doug Glanville, the ESPN analyst who played for Baker with the Chicago Cubs, told the Associated Press last month. “Seeing him come back is great. I thought it was really important that he pass that torch in a way that he can end on the note he wants to end on.”

For schedules, tickets, bios and more, visit www.nationals.com.
Nationals Park: 1500 S. Capitol St. Washington, DC

Photo: Courtesy of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club

March Madness Brackets

Local Bars Pick Their March Madness Brackets

CHOI Bracket Room
What local teams are in your bracket?  Tech, UVA, UMD and GWU
Who do you think will go all the way?  Kentucky
Name your final four teams.  Kentucky, Ohio State, Duke and UVA
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  GWU 
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  [We have] 45 great-quality TVs.  

BRACKET ROOM: 1210 N Garfield St. Arlington, VA; 703-276-7337;www.bracketroom.com 

Who do you think will go all the way?  Kansas 
Name your final four teams.  Oklahoma, Kansas, Maryland and Villanova 
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  James Madison and Hampton  
When can we visit you at the bar? Thursday to Sunday nights  
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  Capitol Hill just has that unique blend of people that work in many different sectors of the economy. This creates a fantastic atmosphere throughout March Madness, but in particular, the early rounds. It’s a great time of the year to be around DC for sports. The Ugly Mug has that laidback feel where everyone is welcome. With multiple TVs, a staff that is sports crazy, beers served by the pitcher or 100 oz. beer towers, cocktails served in pint glasses and great bar food including brick-oven pizzas and Stromboli, it really is hard to beat coming to The Ugly Mug around tournament time. Of course, this year the first day of [the] games happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. [It’s] lining up to be an extremely fun first weekend of the Big Dance. 

THE UGLY MUG: 723 8th St. SE, DC; 202-547-8459; www.theuglymugdc.com

What local teams are in your bracket?  Maryland, West Virginia and GWU 
Who do you think will go all the way?  WVU 
Name your final four teams.  WVU, Miami, UNC and Xavier
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  GWU What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  Ragtime is a WVU alumni favorite. The restaurant will be packed with rowdy Mountaineer fans come tournament time.    

RAGTIME: 1345 N Courthouse Rd. Arlington, VA; 703-243-4003;www.ragtimerestaurant.com 

JOHN MURDOCK Old Town Pour House Gaithersburg  
What local teams are in your bracket?   I’ve got to give some love to the Terps, of course, who are looking to be a third seed. However, they’re not looking as hot as the projected first seed – either Virginia or North Carolina. [It] should be a good year for NCAA March Madness.    

Who do you think will go all the way?  Even Scott Van Pelt can’t give you that answer. I’m hoping for one of the area teams to make it to the Final Four, [and] keep the energy pumping for the region. I would love to see Maryland in the final, but we have some tough competition.     

Name your final four teams.  I’m thinking that Kansas, Oregon, Xavier and Villanova [will] make it.    

What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  A lot of schools are fighting for rank this year. There is no clear-cut champ, so it’s difficult for the smaller area schools to have a chance.     

When can we visit you at the bar?   I work the bar a few nights during the “drink-end.” You know, Thursday night, Friday night and then on Sunday night. Occasionally, I do the Saturday morning gig. As the tournament gets going, I may be there a little more.   

What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  My place is lively when it comes to sports. We’ve got 90 beers on tap, three 110-inch screens for the big games and another 11 55-inchers for the other games going on. Plus, for big games, we VJ the experience! Never watch a commercial. Instead, prepare to laugh and cheer with funny videos spun up by our video jockey Phillip –funny YouTube videos to celebrity mean tweets and more. [We’re] all synced up to cut out commercials and keep the vibe pumping. I’m expecting a lot of great moments at the bar this year for March Madness. 

OLD TOWN POUR HOUSE GAITHERSBURG: 212 Ellington Blvd. Gaithersburg, MD; 301-963-6281; www.oldtownpourhouse.com/gaithersburg 

What local teams are in your bracket?  Georgetown and UVA, but I’m from California, so [my] local team is San Diego State. 
Who do you think will go all the way?  Michigan State 
Name your final four teams.  Michigan State, Kansas, UNC and Oklahoma  
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  GWU
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  [We have] three floors of TVs, [and our] second floor is dedicated to sound. All games are played on TVs in the bar, and you can watch outside on the rooftop deck. 

DON TITO: 3165 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; 703- 566-3113; www.dontitova.com 

GARY OUELLETTE Union Jack’s Bethe sda 
What local teams are in your bracket? Maryland and Virginia
Who do you think will go all the way? Maryland
Name your final four teams.  Maryland, Virginia, Oklahoma and North Carolina
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  This is the “perfect storm” of events, with St. Patrick’s Day and the start of March Madness. Each event on their own [is] very strong for our store, but combined with the strength of Maryland this year, it should be off the charts.

UNION JACK’S BETHESDA: 4915 St. Elmo Ave. Bethesda, MD; 301-652-2561;www.unionjacksbethesda.com

SARAH KAYE World of Beer
What local teams are in your bracket?  Georgetown, Maryland and VCU  
Who do you think will go all the way?  Duke and Xavier 
Name your final four teams.  Duke, Xavier, Syracuse and Oregon 
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  UVA 
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  The ability to view games on over 17 TVs and drink a variety of craft beers from the states of the teams you love most! 

WORLD OF BEER: 901 N Glebe Rd. #105, Arlington, VA; 571-483-0422; worldofbeer.com 

LEO GOMEZ Spider Kelly’s
What local teams are in your bracket?  Duke, George Mason and VCU  
Who do you think will go all the way?  Duke  
Name your final four teams.  Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse and Maryland  
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  GW and VCU  
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?   [We’re] open for a.m. games, TVs are on a first-come, first-served basis and specials run [throughout the day]. 

SPIDER KELLY’S: 3181 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; 703-312-8888; spiderkellys.com

TOM ROTH On Tap Staff Member
What local teams are in your bracket?   Maryland, Virginia, GWU and West Virginia
Who do you think will go all the way? Oklahoma
Name your final four teams.  Oklahoma, Kansas, North Carolina and Xavier
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  James Madison and VCU

Spring Rec Leagues

Spring Rec Leagues

Work hard, play hard is a way of life in the DMV.  The area’s sport and social leagues are a great way to blow off some steam, meet new people and try a new sport. Each spring and fall, On Tap reaches out to see what these fun-loving groups have to offer, and the range of activities available is impressive. Here, in their own words, is what their leagues are all about and why they think you should put a little more social in your sports. To learn more about each league, including how to sign up to play, visit their websites.

Capital BBall
Capital Basketball is an awesome way to stay in shape while meeting new people. We gather at the area’s best courts to shoot some hoops, socialize and share our love for the game. We have a variety of leagues that include men’s and coed/open, as well as our brand new ultra-level leagues. All skill levels are welcome, so lace ‘em up and ball. Beginners should look for coed/open leagues, and our seasoned vets should look into our new ultra leagues. We are all about basketball – coed, men’s, women’s or ultra leagues!

Capital Bocce
Cap Bocce is all about the social – all day, every day! This league is here to provide young professionals an opportunity to meet new people and have a blast in the process. Our teams and players socialize both on the field and at the bar, all while playing bocce. Games are mostly on weeknights in Arlington and DC. All leagues include some kind of drink or food special at our sponsor bars, team T-shirts and just enough of an alternative sports vibe to make your Italian uncle jealous. Our league is designed for people to socialize with others while having a blast in the process. Crazy bocce-stans should move on!

Capital Cornhole
Capital Cornhole is a coed league with teams from four to six players in size. Games throw down at some really awesome bars like Penn  Social, Carpool and Continental. Leagues typically run seven weeks and include a final tournament, player T-shirts, and a brag-worthy pilsner glasses for the champions. Skill is not a requirement, just the ability to have a good time. We’re all about cornhole over here.

Capital Dodgeball
Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge. Capital Dodgeball is the ultimate nontraditional social sport league. It’s a high-energy, action-packed game with a kick butt attitude. Games are played downtown at Georgetown Law or in Adams Morgan, depending on your league, for eight weeks of ball-flinging fun and socializing. Cap the night off with some post-game drinks at one of our awesome sponsor bars. If you can throw a ball and halfway catch, you are overqualified. Sign up today!

Capital Flag Football
Capital Flag Football is a fun and safe way to toss around the pigskin with friends. Our league offers a six-week regular season of games and an additional two weeks of playoffs. You will meet a ton of new people on the field and at the bar; everyone in each of our locations enjoys great specials at our sponsor bars after the game. From social to athletic, to our ultra leagues and our men’s-only division, we are the choice for flag football in the city. Cap flag veterans, we heard you loud and clear. We are proud to announce brand new cap flag football ultra leagues. Flag football veterans now have a chance to prove their mettle on the gridiron. Captain a full team through the full season and get your registration fees back in USS credit, good toward select USS events and future leagues. Beginners and seasoned  vets, we’ve got the league for you. We’re all about the Gridiron, baby! Blue 42, ready, set, hike!

Capital Rowing Club
Capital Rowing Club is committed to bringing a variety of rowing opportunities to the DC area. Never been in a boat before? Not a problem. Capital Rowing Club offers programs for new and experienced rowers at a variety of different times that can meet your schedule on the Anacostia River. Our boathouse is Metro accessible. We also offer options for your organization or company to learn to row as a group. For information about our “Learn to Row” program or one of our experienced rowing programs, please contact membership@capitalrowing.org.

DC Bar Sports
DC Bar Sports brings everyone together for a variety of fun events and activities based – you got it, being in a bar. Teams compete in various games like skee-ball, cornhole, shuffleboard and more. You might even see a game of giant Jenga or a Connect Four pop-up, who knows? Looking for a new hangout? Leagues are located in Arlington, DC, Bethesda and Reston. No experience is needed to play bar sports, and it’s much better that way.

DC Bocce League
Are you ready to join a sport that is fun, social and accessible to everyone? Look no further than DC Bocce League! DC Bocce League focuses exclusively on bocce so we can put all our effort into making ours the most fun league there is. With a beer in one hand and a ball in the other, you’ll learn firsthand there’s no better way to spend time with friends after work. Sign up for the spring season and get eight weeks of bocce, exclusive food and beer specials at the bar, weekly prizes and giveaways, and a free end-of-season tournament and party. Plus, only DC Bocce awards its winning teams with donations to the charity on their behalf. No need to bring your sweats or cleats – this game is about finesse, not fitness. After you engage in a little friendly competition, your opponents go from adversary to drinking buddy. Celebrate your win or commiserate your loss at your division’s sponsor bar, and see how far the evening will take you.

DC Cityball
DC Cityball is a sports-first recreational sports league. We focus on providing a great game day experience for our players. We offer coed softball, coed flag football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, corporate/law firm basketball, coed basketball, coed volleyball and wiffle ball. The leagues are competitive but we offer recreational divisions as well. Our games are played on permitted fields/courts and we use certified officials in our leagues. Leagues consist of an eight-game regular season plus playoffs, and we host end-of-the-season parties as well as charity happy hours throughout the season. Most of our players are intermediate and experienced, but we welcome all types of players in our leagues.

DC Kickball
First, captains play for free. Second, DC K is hands down DC’s best kickball league. Period. DC Kickball is all about meeting other people and having a great time. New to town? Have you heard about this kickball thing? Yeah…that’s us! Games take place all over the DC and Va. area, including the National Mall, Adams Morgan, Dupont, Columbia Heights and Arlington. We play to be social, and we’re pretty darn good at it. If you’ve played kickball at any point in your life, you are DC kickball-certified.

DC Skeeball
DC Skee is the easiest and most fun way to meet new people and make new friends in the DMV. What is skeeball, you ask? Well remember that game at Chuck E. Cheese with the wooden balls and the tickets pouring out? That’s skeeball. Get your roll on, and become a legend. As with all leagues in the USS family, we welcome free agents, small groups and full teams. No experience needed. Your four-year-old niece could outscore you any given Thursday. You never know!

DC Soccer FC
DC Soccer FC is the fastest-growing soccer community in DC. We pride ourselves in delivering the best experience indoors and out. We offer indoor and outdoor grass and field six vs. six, seven vs. seven and eight vs. eight, men’s and coed soccer, with leagues playing in DC and VA. Sign up and get six weeks of game play and two weeks of playoffs, plus team shirts, end-of-season parties and super convenient locations. We work to make it as easy as possible for you to play the game you love. Registration is open to free agents, small groups and full teams. With both social and athletic divisions, we’ve got the league for you. As an added bonus, captains never get stuck paying for the whole team as they can opt for team members to pay their dues directly. Regardless of your athletic ability or skills, you will have fun in our league.

DC Social Sports
DC Social leagues are now powered by United Social Sports (USS)! This means more leagues at more locations than ever. Don’t sweat, your favorite DC Social locations are coming back, as well as your favorite tournaments and events – bar sports, basketball, bocce, cornhole, dodgeball, flag football, kickball, skeeball, soccer, softball, street hockey, tennis, ultimate Frisbee and volleyball. We have leagues for beginners and veterans. Looking to get social this spring with classic DC Social leagues? We are all about being social and having fun, so no need to sweat the little stuff.

DC Softball
Softball is our game, and you can’t wear it out! We play on traditional diamonds or on open National Mall fields with bases and backstops. DC Softball leagues play in DC and VA, so just pick the league that’s most convenient for you. All are welcome, from newcomers to long-time softball fans. The best part is captains never have to front the whole team fee, as individuals pay their registration dues directly. Registration is open to free agents, small groups and full teams.

DC Street Hockey
DCSH is a great balance of competitive street hockey with social interaction at the rink, at post-game tailgates or happy hours. On the rink, we offer by far the best and most competitive hockey and the area’s only men’s leagues, though women are highly encouraged as well. The rink offers DirecTV for NHL and NFL games to make the experience that much more exciting. There’s an annual golf tournament, happy hours, travel tournaments, local tournaments and other fun off-the-rink activities. Many players start in our lowest division or draft league, and learn from top players on those teams so they develop quickly. Though our leagues are always looking for new players, many of the leagues are for intermediate to advanced players. Our men’s leagues have a few different divisions and only the more advanced players play in the D1 top division.  Many players start in D2 and work their way up to D1 in a few years. DC Street Hockey is a great place to play a fun/competitive sport and make a great new social network. Email waynebarrett20@gmail.com to be placed in the proper league and team.

DC Ultimate
DC Ultimate is the first social ultimate Frisbee in DC! This new sport is a cross between basketball and football – fast-paced and exciting. We offer several levels of play including social, athletic and the newly-added ultra level. We’ve got a spot for every skill set. Stay active and get social with this new sport. Players enjoy seven weeks of play with playoffs. Grab a friend and sign up for this new exciting sport. Now playing in DC and Virginia.

DC Volley
DC Volley plays at some of the best locations across the DC area, with a variety of team play options. We have indoor, sand, four vs. four and six vs. six, and now ultra leagues. Long-time volleyball veterans can now test their game against the best competition in town. After games, players head to one of our awesome sponsor bars for victory drinks, and USS league specials. We offer several levels of play including social, athletic and the newly added ultra level. We’ve got a spot for every skill set.

District Karaoke
District Karaoke is DC and Virginia’s first-and-only competitive, team-based karaoke league. It’s team-based, meaning you perform with friends and cheer each other on. And the competition? You, your fellow singers and anyone else you invite score each performance using our matchup mobile scoring system. Teams compete over a 10-week season for a chance to go to the epic citywide finals. You can form a team, join a team or register as a free agent by going to the District Karaoke website and selecting a night and venue. No experience required.

Fairfax Adult Softball
We are the largest ASA adult softball league in the nation! We have a league for every age and skill level, ranging from seniors to social to elite. We also run several tournaments and events throughout the year supporting several charities. We do not require any experience at all – we have a league for everyone! Click the “Join” tab on our site and it will walk you through the steps.

FXA Basketball
FXA Basketball is one of the largest coed and men’s adult basketball leagues in Northern VA (VA/DC/MD), averaging around 25 teams each season. We offer both team and individual (free agent) registrations for all levels of play. To keep competition evenly matched, FXA offers two different divisions (casual or competitive) for teams ranging in skill sets.  All games are officiated by high school-certified and experienced referees, and played on regulation-size adult basketball courts. After the games, our sponsor bar provides beer and food specials for teams.

FXA Football
FXA Football is the largest coed, women’s and men’s adult flag football league in Northern Virginia (VA/DC/MD), averaging around 150 teams each season and playing on turf fields.  We offer both team and individual (free agent) registrations for our spring 2016 season. To keep competition evenly matched, FXA offers several different divisions (social, casual, competitive and elite) for teams ranging in skill sets. All games are officiated by qualified and experienced referees and played on turf fields lined for flag football.

FXA Soccer
FXA Soccer is the largest coed and men’s adult soccer league in Northern VA (VA/DC/MD), averaging around 120 teams each season of coed 11 vs. 11 and men’s eight vs. eight leagues. We offer both team and individual (free agent) registrations for our spring 2016 season and play all games on turf fields. To keep competition evenly matched, FXA offers several different divisions (social, casual, competitive and elite) for teams ranging in skill levels. All games are officiated by U.S. soccer graded and experienced referees and played on turf fields lined for soccer.

FXA Softball
FXA Softball is one of the largest coed and men’s adult slow-pitch softball leagues in Northern VA (VA/DC/MD), averaging over 50 teams each season playing on full-size adult fields with dugouts and an HR fence. We offer both team and individual (free agent) registrations for our spring 2016 season. To keep competition evenly matched, FXA offers several different divisions (social, casual, Competitive and elite) for teams ranging in skill. All games are officiated by ASA-certified and experienced umpires. After the games, our sponsor bars provide beer and food specials for teams to socialize and meet other players.

FXA Volleyball
FXA Volleyball is a coed volleyball league in Northern Virginia (VA/DC/MD). We play indoor, grass and sand, four vs. four and six vs. six coed volleyball. We offer both team and individual (free agent) registrations for our spring 2016 season, and any skill level can play.

Goombay Kickball
Goombay Kickball has been hosting coed, women’s and kids’ kickball leagues in the DC area since 2010.  We have a competitive and social league which plays on Sunday afternoons, and after each game the teams cook out, play music, drink and socialize.  Each Sunday is like a big family reunion! When players first come out, they don’t need to have any experience. We always host two to three open practices before the season begins, and we teach everyone how to play and the rules. We also allow the older players to dust off the cobwebs and meet new players. Register by clicking the “kickball” link for Washington, DC on our site.

Happy Hour Kickball
We offer a plethora of social sports to the masses in the DMV area from kickball and softball to cornhole and bocce. This summer, the focus will be on our 10th kickball season with games taking place on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 and 7:15 p.m., and post-game fun and activities at The Barking Dog in Bethesda. There will be food and drink specials, flip cup, pong and general merriment. Theme weeks will abound and friendships and partnerships will form. Join us, won’t you? Registration is done online and is just a click away on our registration tab. And stay tuned, “Happy Hour Softball Season Five” is coming this June! Games will be on Monday nights, so look for details as we get closer to the summer.

CCGW Coed Softball League
We have two coed slow-pitch softball leagues at the JCCGW in Rockville. The first plays on Sunday mornings at local park fields. The second is a weeknight league that is played on Monday and Tuesday on the JCCGW’s campus in Rockville. Both leagues are a mix of social and competitive. The teams have fun but like to win too. Some of our teams get together for happy hour after the games. It’s a great group of participants, and we are always looking for new faces to join our leagues. No experience required. We get many new participants each year who have little to no experience but are looking to meet new people and have fun. You can register an entire team online or send an email to be put on the free agent list and get on a team that already exists. To learn more, click on the “Fitness and Sports” tab on the homepage, then choose “Sports Programs and Adult Leagues.”

Metro Sports Leagues
We offer soccer, softball and volleyball. Our leagues are fun because we have multiple divisions and locations so you can choose to play in a league that suits what your team is looking for and where they want to play. It isn’t fun to play in a league where you are either killing every team or getting killed each week. We focus on making sure the experience on the field/court/gym is what you hoped it to be when you signed up. Recreational players can join and have a good experience, and at the same time we have competitive leagues for players that take the game seriously and want a high level of play.

Morven Park Flag Football League
Play on the finest grass fields in all of Loudoun County. Morven Park’s flag football league holds its spring season on Wednesday evenings, April 6 to June 1. The nine-week season includes seven regular games and a single elimination tournament. The league attracts players of all skill levels. Register by March 23 for this season.

Recreational Athletics Sports League (RASL or “razzle”) offers coed sports for adults over 18 years old. Our leagues and tournaments are held in Montgomery County, Md. with players hailing from Rockville, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Bethesda, Silver Spring, DC, VA and other locales. We offer coed, men’s and women’s flag football leagues. We offer registration for teams, small groups and individuals, and we are bringing back the women’s league.

Established in 1985, we’re the longest-running continuous provider of adult athletics in the entire United States, with the best-organized programs anywhere. Offering multiple divisions for our leagues, men and women of all ages/skill levels are always welcome to join. We offer flag football, softball, basketball, floor hockey, indoor soccer and volleyball, just pick your sport – and get in the game!

Social Sports of Bethesda
“More than just a game!” is our tagline. Social Sports of Bethesda (SSB) is a coed adult sports league for people who enjoy socializing and participating in organized sports. The league was formed to provide a venue for people ages 21 and older to participate in football, softball, volleyball, dodgeball and other sports in a safe, coed, well-organized and social atmosphere. We offer two or three divisions depending on skill level. The Miller division is for teams that prefer to be a little more competitive. The Lite division is a little less competitive and the Super Lite is for new teams or previous teams who finished sub .500 in the Lite division. Register as a team captain and have your teammates join your team.  Or register as a free agent and we’ll put you on a team.  Small groups (incomplete teams) are also welcome. Registrations are all online.

United Social Sports
With more than 15 active sport leagues in play this season, United Social Sports (USS) is the District’s largest social sports community. Our goal is to bring groups of friends and individuals together to connect socially and to play more often. From bocce to ultimate Frisbee to kickball, we have your sport/game of choice. We also host fun events like tubing trips and wine tastings. We will also have new tennis, street hockey and bowling leagues this spring. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned vet, we’ve got the league for you. For the first time, we are offering ultra leagues, so step up your game with our more competitive leagues or play in our infamously awesome social- or athletic-level leagues.

WAKA Kickball and Social Sports
Club WAKA brings games, parties and friends together into one national sport and social club. With more and more people to meet, great parties, tournaments and events throughout the U.S., there’s never been a better time to join WAKA Kickball and Social Sports. Find leagues in the DC area by clicking on the DC tab online. We offer kickball, football, bar games, dodgeball and volleyball. We welcome all players of all experience levels 21 and over. See you on the field!

Washington DC Gaels
The Washington DC Gaels has been celebrating the long tradition of Irish sports in the DC metro area since 1988 as part of a much larger international sporting organization, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). We provide the sports of hurling and camogie, combining the skills of field hockey, lacrosse and baseball in a very fast-paced and exciting game. We also have men’s as well as ladies’ Gaelic football, which are sports that combine the skills of basketball, volleyball and rugby in another fast-paced and aggressive sport. No experience is needed to play with the Gaels. Our experienced coaches and veteran players are more than happy to help you learn the sport and see you excel as a new player. Trust us, once you start playing these sports you won’t want to stop. The season runs March to September, until our national finals on Labor Day weekend.

ZogSports DC
ZogSports is the United States’ largest charity-focused, coed social sports league for young professionals. We organize sports leagues (basketball, cornhole, dodgeball, football, kickball, soccer, softball and volleyball), social events, and volunteer opportunities for young professionals in DC. Fun is our number one priority and the ZogSports staff is trained to ensure that you have a superb time on the court and at the bar. Plus, everything we do (from the sports to the weekly happy hours to our “Play For Your Cause” charity donations) exists for the sole purpose of bringing people together to create a warm, friendly and fun community. We have leagues for casual and competitive players, so you can choose your skill level when you sign up. You can register as an individual, with friends or as a whole team online. We take care of the rest!

best bars march madness

Best Local Spots to Catch March Madness

March Madness is upon us, with the NCAA tournament kicking off its 64 games on St. Paddy’s Day. In anticipation of the upcoming games, On Tap put together a list of our top picks in the D.C. area for enjoying the tourney with a little flair. Our short list features sports bars with great drink selections, elevated menus, endless HDTVs to choose from and a less rowdy, mellower ambiance for cheering your team on to victory. Not going to make it out for the tourney, or feeling like your bracket will be busted before you begin?  These locations are all great date places and have plenty to offer besides big screens.

Champps Kitchen + Bar
Champps Kitchen + Bar is a community sports bar with a down-to-earth Midwestern atmosphere, nearly 30 varieties of beer and dependable comfort food. Kevin Songster, managing partner at the bar’s Pentagon Row location, says Champps is still the best seat outside of the stadium.

“Where else can you have as many TVs?” Songster asks (rhetorically).  “There isn’t a [March Madness] game we’re not going to show.”

Champps has four 110-inch laser projection screens, four 70-inch LCD HDTVs and 45 50-inch HDTVs. Songster points out some of the bar’s lighter food options, like the tuna poke appetizer or Tuscan salmon, for those who want to enjoy the game without having to unbutton their jeans/wear stretchy pants to the bar, and different drink specials every day of the week.

CHAMPPS KITCHEN + BAR: 1201 S Joyce St. Arlington, VA; 703-414-3601;www.champps.com/locations/arlington/

High Velocity
Derek VanBrakle guarantees that High Velocity carries a beer you haven’t tried before. The restaurant manager at the Marriott Marquis near Penn Quarter and the Verizon Center is referring to High Velocity’s 48 draft lines.

“We’re always reaching out to [beer] vendors to get the newest, latest stuff,” he says. “We also try some that nobody’s ever heard of before, because the only way to know if you like a beer is if you try it.”

Located in the Marriott Marquis, High Velocity offers 40 HDTVs – three at 120 inches and the rest at 55 – and quieter spots to park it and watch your March Madness game of choice. During the tournament, the swanky sports bar will serve $5 pints of New Belgium Fat Tire and Citradelic IPA. Plus, bourbon fans can swing by The Dignitary (50-feet from High Velocity in the Marquis) before or after the game and choose from up to 70 different bourbons and even some high-end scotches.

HIGH VELOCITY: 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; 202-824-9389;www.facebook.com/HighVelocityDC

The Bracket Room
The aptly named Bracket Room in Clarendon has a tight community of regulars, according to bartender Tania Amador, while also attracting a diverse crowd.

“You see a lot of bonding going on during big games,” Amador says. “A little smack-talking is always in good fun. It’s never a volatile experience here.”

Bracket Room offers 38 Samsung Infinity Edge LED TVs ranging in size from 55 to 75 inches, half-price happy hour Monday through Friday from noon to 7 p.m. and 75 beers to choose from. Some of the most popular dishes include the “world’s best” tater tots, baby back ribs marinated and slow-braised for 12 hours, and an authentic lobster roll that Maine natives are sure to approve of.

BRACKET ROOM: 1210 N Garfield St. Arlington, VA; 703-276-7337;www.bracketroom.com

In the heart of the U Street Corridor sits The Prospect, an upscale sports bar with 45 HDTVs, craft beers and ciders, signature cocktails, and high-quality stadium and tailgating fare. The Prospect’s interior is covered in sports memorabilia – including an impressive collection of baseball mitts above the stairs and a brick wall of staggered baseball bats – and also offers a 40-seat patio for patrons to enjoy during warmer weather. Notable menu items include three types of home mules served in copper mugs – classic, spicy and strawberry – and hog wings that made Thrillist’s “Best Food & Drink of 2015” list.

“There’s not a bad seat in the house,” says Managing Partner Brian Dombrowski. “From every angle or direction, you’re able to see a specific game or multiple games at the same time.”

THE PROSPECT: 1214 U St. NW, DC; 202-450-4109;  www.theprospectdc.com

Old Town Pour House in Gaithersburg is ready for March Madness. General Manager Aaron Gordon says the ambiance is going to be awesome, with a great crowd of customers, the Pour House’s upbeat and friendly staff, a DJ spinning tunes during commercial breaks, plus upscale bar food and a diverse craft beer selection with over 90 drafts.

“We’re the total package,” he says. “There’s no restaurant in Montgomery County with the TV setup that we have. We have 14 viewing screens, so every single game will be on.”

Gordon says the bar’s three 110-inch and 11 60-inch flat screen TVs have a great sound system. Added bonus: Old Town Pour House is known for serving limited-edition brews and suds from local breweries.

OLD TOWN POUR HOUSE: 212 Ellington Blvd. Gaithersburg, MD; 301-963-6281;www.oldtownpourhouse.com/gaithersburg

Impressively sized National Pastime Sports Bar & Grill, offering 600 seats and 42 HDTVs – including a brand new and gargantuan 30-foot-wide LED screen that can break out into 32 games, four games in quadrants, or only one or two games at a time, depending on the day. The sports bar also caters to those of us that prefer a quiet space to watch our team kick some butt, with smaller dining areas featuring individual screens.

Andrew Gould, the executive chef of restaurants at Gaylord National Resort, notes the Indian-inspired veggie burger, lamb burger with mint mayo and health-conscious Cobb salad (topped with salmon, crab cakes or chicken) as some of his top picks on the menu. Specialty March dishes include stew made with a Port City Brewing porter (National Pastime is adamant about serving local brews), corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips. And get ready for some March Madness specials offering good deals on beers and appetizers during the games.

“We have a great local following from the Oxon Hill area and DC itself,” says Gould. “There isn’t another National Pastime. Our menus and our offerings are unique, and I think our service and general atmosphere is a lot different than what you get at other places.”

NATIONAL PASTIME SPORTS BAR & GRILL: 201 Waterfront St. Oxon Hill, MD; 301-965-5500;  www.nationalharbor.com/stores/national-pastime-bar-grill