Where to Watch Bowl Games
College bowl season is here, and while sure, you could watch football on your couch, it's a lot more fun to be surrounded by other fans and alumni in school colors singing fight songs. Here's where the action -- and the largest booster groups -- will be for the big games.
Friday, Dec. 29
Champs Sports Bowl
Purdue vs. Maryland, 8 p.m.
Maryland fans have no shortage of places to hang out around here. Bars in College Park will be packed to the rafters (what's up Santa Fe Cafe!). Most bars in Bethesda are Terp hangouts (especially Rock Bottom, Caddies and Willie and Reeds), and in D.C., I've joined my fellow Turrpins at Porter's, Cleveland Park Bar and Grill and the Uptown Tavern, among other venues. Look, it's a Friday night game. This will be on just about anywhere you go. The Boilermakers, meanwhile, hold their game-watching parties at the Bottom Line, which has some seriously good specials from 8 to close, including $1 Miller Lite bottles and $3 baskets of wings.
Saturday, Dec. 30
Meineke Car Care Bowl
Navy vs. Boston College, 1 p.m.
Navy's excellent season was rewarded with a trip to Charlotte, N.C., for this game. Annapolis bars will be busy -- try Griffin's, Riordan's, O'Brien's or the Acme Bar & Grill downtown -- while Boston College's alumni meet at Porter's.
Georgia vs. Virginia Tech, 8 p.m.
The D.C. Dawgs -- Georgia's local alumni group -- gather at the Crystal City Sports Pub. Virginia Tech alumni have plenty of choices. The "official" spots include the Bailey's in Ballston, Grevey's in Falls Church and Sly Fox Pub in Annapolis, but most sports bars in Northern Virginia count a few Hokies in their regular crowd. I've heard good things about the crowds at Mister Days and Champps Americana in Reston, but for the best view, head to Arlington Cinema N Drafthouse, where the game will be broadcast on the movie screen. Admission is free.
Monday, Jan. 1
Tennessee vs. Penn State, 11 a.m.
Tennessee has been hosting viewing parties at Bailey's in Crystal City this season, while Penn State's numerous alumni can choose from gatherings at the Rhino Bar, Ballston's Carpool or Union Jack's. All three bars are opening at 10:30 a.m.
Auburn vs. Nebraska, 11:30 a.m.
Auburn fans roar on their Tigers at the popular Crystal City Sports Pub, while Cornhuskers pack Capitol Hill's Union Pub. Both venues will be busy, so arrive early to get a table.
West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech, 1 p.m.
Ragtime, a bar near the Court House Metro station, is owned by a West Virginia alumni, so it's become the de facto place for football fans to gather on game day. Georgia Tech fans meet at the Champps Americana sports bar on Pentagon Row.
USC vs. Michigan, 5 p.m.
As always, the USC fans will have their own room at Bailey's in Ballston. Doors open at 4:30, but card-carrying alumni association members can hit the 3:30 pre-party, which includes priority choice of seats and free appetizers. (See www.dctrojans.org for more information.) Michigan supporters, on the other hand, will be at Tommy Joe's in Bethesda and the Pour House on Capitol Hill.
Boise State vs. Oklahoma, 8:30 p.m.
I haven't been able to track down any information about the Broncos (alumni are welcome to leave some information in the comments field below), but Sooner fans of all ages head for Mackey's Public House in Crystal City.
Tuesday, Jan. 2
Louisville vs. Wake Forest, 8 p.m.
Wake Forest fans have reserved the back of the Cleveland Park Bar and Grill for their fellow Demon Deacons.
Wednesday, Jan. 3
Notre Dame vs. LSU, 8 p.m.
The "official" Fighting Irish bar is Mister Days in Clarendon, though you'll find the game at most Irish bars around town, including Sine on Pentagon Row. LSU alumni have been gathering at Bailey's in Ballston all year, where they have a private room and food and drink specials. If you want a seat in front of one of the big screens, arrive early.
Monday, Jan. 8
BCS National Championship
Florida vs. Ohio State, 8 p.m.
Florida fans root their Gators on to the national title at Joe Theismann's sports bar in Alexandria. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, can choose between Willie and Reed's, where they'll find drink specials during the game, and Georgetown's Rhino Bar.
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