SI Vault
The 25 Best In America
Chris Ballard
February 07, 2005
So many bars, so little time before last call. And yet, undaunted, SI's (Pabst) blue-ribbon panel set about the task of determining the best sports bars in America. First, we convened a nationwide nominating committee of some 100 staffers, correspondents and certifiably reliable bar aficionados to begin the process. � Some suggested places were eliminated early because they failed to meet our definition of sports bar: a place that first and foremost caters to sports fans. Other joints made the first cut by virtue of how often, and how passionately, they were nominated. Then the panel went to work. Where any doubt existed, a panelist was dispatched to check the place out and render a decision. � Given the nature of the subject, this list surely won't go unchallenged, and if a worthy watering hole has somehow been overlooked it is a certainty that you, the sporting barflies of America, will let us know. And if your case is convincing? Well, maybe we'll have another round.
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February 07, 2005

The 25 Best In America

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OPENED IN 1995 on the eve of the Colorado Rockies' first game at Coors Field, the Sports Column was in prime position to flourish when the Broncos and the Avalanche ruled their respective sports in the late '90s. In a city where sports bars are as common as home runs in the mile-high air, the Sports Column has one distinctive touch that's especially nice: At the start of the NFL, NBA, NHL and baseball seasons, every team's banner hangs from the rafters--that is, until the team's elimination from title contention, when its colors are ceremonially removed from the bar's firmament.

[TV] 39 [FB][B][H][BB] �[DB] 20 [BT] 25


Crystal City Pub Crystal City, Va.

OPENED IN 1994 by three college buddies from Mount St. Mary's who were weaned on the original Champions in D.C., Crystal City feels like a sports bar crossed with an OTB parlor. Digital scoreboards show the latest lines, and wi-fi access allows industrious patrons to follow other games. Once a hangout for Redskins before the team changed stadiums-- quarterback Trent Green would come in after games--it now boasts a little of everything: pool tables, live music, alumni groups, memorabilia and the occasional pack of suspiciously attractive women, whose presence can be traced to a co-owner who also runs a strip club.

[TV] 70 [FB][B][BB] �[DB] 13 [BT] 16


Corner Club Moscow, Idaho

A CAREFREE atmosphere (perhaps enhanced by the traditional 32-ounce beer glasses) prevails at this popular University of Idaho hangout, which opened in 1948. Consider that for much of its history, the most famous item in the bar was a nail hammered into a ceiling beam, daring anyone to try to match the 11'3" leap made by former Vandals basketball star Gus Johnson. The mark stood for 23 years until it was equaled by Southern Idaho's Joey Johnson (Gus's cousin) in 1986. (The nail was removed in 1991 when half the bar was torn down to make room for a freeway, but the stories are still told fondly.)

[TV] 9 [FB][B][BB] �[DB] 10 [BT] 19

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