C’Ville’s Best Places to Watch The Game, Pt. I

It wasn’t an easy decision choosing where to watch NLDS Game 1 [Phillies – 11, Cardinals – 6 THANK YOU]. There’s no shortage of restaurants* with TVs in C’Ville, even though it feels that way when you can’t go exactly where you want to go. Shaun and I inevitably go down the same list every time we’re searching for a spot [and always whine about why C&O and The Local don’t have TVs].

Game 1 in C’Ville: Blue Light Grill

Rather than carry our flat screen to C&O last night, we chose Blue Light Grill.

Photo source. Located on the Downtown Mall a short walk from our house [and next-door to the Jefferson], Blue Light has always been one of our go-to places for sports games [and dinner], believe it or not. We watched a chunk of last year’s World Series there, as well as a few World Cup games. They have a decent beer selection, great cocktails, and three large TVs that spread out over what is at least a 20-30 person bar.

The Pros:

Victory - like the Phils experienced...

  • Photo SourceVictory Brewing Company [Phila, PA] on tap and in bottles, which makes celebrating Philadelphia’s awesomeness even easier. Shaun opted for a Prima Pils draft. I got a bottle of the Golden Monkey, a Belgian-style Trippel. It’s creamy, it’s rich, its 9.5% ABV…which leads me to the next pro:
  • The inevitable meet-up with some extremely drunk, middle-aged person at the bar** trying to be “macho” on he and his wife’s sixth wedding anniversary. He wanted to “have what we were having” but didn’t take to heart that Victory’s Golden Monkey is 9.5% ABV [even though the bartender warned him], which led to (1) mild disaster when he lapped me three times, and (2) him being drunk enough to pay our tab. Thanks, drunk middle-aged guy.
  • Great bar snacks – Blue Light recently changed their menu by expanding their small plate and appetizer selections. You’ll find dishes like calamari, oysters, tacos, roasted vegetables, mussels, chicken & waffles, and watermelon salads. There’s also no shortage of steamed or raw seafood to munch on. It’s a way to get greasy watching sports without having to suck down BBQ wings, fried mozzarella sticks or french fries.
  • Really nice bartenders who know how to make great drinks and great conversation. It’s amazing what we learned about the hierarchy of restaurant ownership in C’Ville last night from chatting with the ‘tenders.
  • THE PHILLIES WON. Ryan Howard hits homers.

The Cons:

  • Someone from the kitchen will come out mid-game and attempt to change the channel. In his defense, it was because the UVA-Idaho game was tied, but come on. Thankfully, the bartenders were on our side and the NLDS prevailed.
  • The inevitable meet-up with some extremely drunk, middle-aged person at the bar. Did I mention that before he paid our tab, he yelled a lot [mostly about lawyers and how much he knew about sports] and shattered a pint glass full of water all over his wife and myself? Happy sixth anniversary, honey!
  • The limits of the drink selection. The beer list is great, but not as extensive as some other places with good game-watching environments [think: Beer Run, Fry’s Spring, Brixx]. If you like traveling around a beer menu, it might be difficult here. Nor are the wines by the glass very accessible. Where BLG really wins is their cocktails. For some, cocktails during a sports game aren’t ideal. For me, they are. Especially made by these bartenders.

The Score:

Blue Light gets a 7/10 for sports watching. I’m hesitant to go higher for a few reasons:

  • It could be difficult to watch there with a group too large to sit at the bar. BLG is definitely a sit-down dinner restaurant, and on a busy night I doubt they’d appreciate a group taking up a large table to order solely snacks and drinks. I don’t blame them, so keep the size of your party in mind when considering BLG as your game spot.
  • Timing: This game started at 5PM, so the bar was empty. A 7 or 8PM start on a weekend night could mean you’re too late to find a seat at the bar. This place gets packed. Get dinner there first, perhaps [because it’s delicious], and scope out your spaces early?
  • Versatility: the menu is narrow enough that it may not please everyone in a large group. Ensure everyone checks it out before you go.

As long as the Phillies keep winning, we’ll keep scoping out new places to watch the games. Tonight’s spot might be AFC, though, because 8PM may be the only time we can squeeze in a gym trip…

* I say “restaurant” because it’s actually illegal to have a “bar” in Virginia. A certain percentage of your revenue must come from food, and that revenue must be higher than revenue from alcohol. Hey, at least in VA you can sell wine and beer in grocery stores… Pennsylvania.

** No joke, happens every time. Not the free drinks part, though. This person always has a loud voice and strong opinions.


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Categories: C-Ville


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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