Sports fan. Fanatic. Madness. Some, such as Merriam-Webster, define fan as a shortened version of fanatic. Fanatic, others claim, comes from the Latin fanaticus, meaning "insanely but divinely inspired." Hence, sports madness. (Although some seem to consider their favorite team divine.)
March, and hope, spring eternal for sports fans, and even more so for the well-documented weary Seattle fans. For those who may be holding their collective Sonics' breath, we sought out a few new and interesting places to watch sporting events, from March Madness® to Australian rules football. We searched for places that were established for specific sports and serve quality food and drink, while maintaining an atmosphere conducive to enjoying the game(s) you are watching.
This being March and all, NCAA basketball will be everywhere, but should you be interested in something else, read on.
Soccer Season Is Coming
Seattle has a few notable soccer pubs, but none boasts the single-malt Scotch selection that makes St. Andrews Bar and Grill in the Green Lake area a haven for fans of at least two cultural exports from the U.K. St. Andrews (7406 Aurora Ave. N., Seattle; 523-1193; standrewsbarandgrill.com) offers a healthy selection of better-than-average pub grub, including the "Highlander Hot Wings" and the "Braveheart Burger" topped with a fried egg.
The atmosphere is friendly, the staff is attentive and the array of craft beers on tap will keep you sated for at least a 90-minute match. For the more committed fans, check out a morning match and enjoy some fine staples like pancakes, omelets and a bloody Mary.
Yes, There Is a Rugby Bar
Sports Down Under-style your cup of lager? Try Kangaroo & Kiwi (2026 NW Market St., Seattle; 297-0507; kangarooandkiwi.com). Styled as a refuge for Australian and New Zealand expats, Kangaroo and Kiwi recently moved out of its old haunts on Aurora Avenue near Green Lake to the historical Carnegie Library in downtown Ballard. Seriously, rugby in a library? Blimey, what a great idea!
Featuring three large rooms and outdoor seating, this friendly sports bar offers reasonably priced, traditional pub grub ("the drinks, the pies, the lollies") from Down Under. The staff is very welcoming. Rugby, Australian rules football, cricket and soccer take priority, but if you ask nicely, they might put on a different game just for you Yanks.
A Few All-around Sports Bars to Check Out
Slide 95 (722 E. Pike St., Seattle; 328-7666; 95slide.com) opened last year, one block west of Broadway. This is a Seattle-themed sports bar, named for Ken Griffey's famous slide on Edgar Martinez's "El Doble" in '95 that "saved baseball" for Seattle.
The walls are adorned with artwork of local sports figures. The main room is ringed with generous and comfortable booths - each with its own HD monitor (but there is only one sound channel, which was set to '60s music most of the time we were there).
A dozen different beers are on tap and several more in bottles and cans, along with several sports-themed cocktails. Fair warning, the wine options come in boxes, not bottles. For food, we liked the "95 Sliders" - mini gruyere cheeseburgers with bacon and grilled onions on rye bread. We were not there on Tuesday, but apparently the weekly chicken and waffles special (fried chicken, waffles, mac and cheese) is the late-night snack equivalent of a home run.
If you are visiting Magnolia when overcome by March Madness®, a very nice option is the Serendipity Lounge (3222 W. McGraw St., Seattle; 282-9866; serendipitycafeandlounge.com). Here you have the benefit of a sports bar ambiance with three HD screens. (It also doubles as a classy lounge with live music.) Plus, there's fine cuisine at the adjoining Serendipity Cafe, so the food is better than standard pub fare.
The cheeseburger is recommended for the visiting carnivores, or the tasty veggie paninis with pesto for those preferring veggie options. Cost is affordable, especially if you are in for a long day of watching hoops. Private rooms are available and parking is easy in Magnolia. You will be surprised how comfortable and at home you feel at the Serendipity Lounge while you observe your NCAA bracket disintegrate. Good luck.
For the Sports Player
What if you like to play sports, as well as watch them? The Washington Athletic Club Sports Cafe (1325 Sixth Ave., Seattle; 622-7900 ext. 2809; wac.net/food-wine/sports-cafe) may be the place for you.
Members of the WAC and their guests can work up an appetite playing handball or swimming laps in the Helene Madison pool. The Sports Cafe allows members to order a meal to-go that will be ready when you are all showered up and are heading back to the office, or that can be enjoyed in the bright seating area. The Sports Cafe is decorated in a sports theme, but the mood is subdued, as intense-looking people bearing gym bags line up for a quick healthy lunch; the televisions usually show CNN.
But the menu is more interesting than a gym food stop usually is, with dishes like the Thai chicken bowl (brown rice, spinach, marinated chicken and housemade peanut dressing) and naan sandwiches (chicken, hummus and artichokes).
For those who are set on a spectator sport and a cold beer, the WAC is also home to Hagerty's Sports Bar (wac.net/food-wine/hagertys). From March Madness® to Oktoberfest and beyond, Hagerty's is always celebrating something with hand-battered fish and chips and Scuttlebutt Blonde draft beer. If a traditional sports bar with waiters dressed in referee attire is what you crave, then Hagerty's, not the Sports Cafe, is where you should go.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Christopher Howard at 206-407-1524 or at firstname.lastname@example.org; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx. Follow us on Twitter @schwabedinesout.