It sometimes seems like every bar with a TV set wants to pass itself off as a sports pub for Monday night football. But there are some real sports bars out there for whom the sporting image isn't just a once-a-week makeover.
Sneakers Sport Saloon, nestled in the Long Reach Village Center in Columbia, has enough sporting photographs on its walls to always keep the subject on your mind. Although it is not nearly as sportingly hyperactive as some competitors when it comes to rowdy fans, video games and silly contests, the more subdued conditions mean you can actually follow the game action on any of six TV sets. Oh, there is the occasional spirited shout going around the central bar island, but nothing to truly disturb the still of the Columbia night.
If you're driving in from the Baltimore area, though, be forewarned that this is Redskins territory. But the affable crowd readily tolerates those with long Colts memories and little interest in the 'Skins, so there's no need to wear shoulder pads and a helmet for self-protection.
Like other bars that go for the Monday night football business, Sneakers makes the whole experience a lot less expensive than going to a game. Cheap pizza, hot dogs and draft beer won't set you back much, even if the game runs late.
Where the rest of the sports world is concerned, Sneakers has gained plenty of experience in its eight years. Another regular draw here, for instance, are the dart leagues whose Wednesday night contests prove just how seriously Howard County saloons take these winged projectiles.
A measure of Sneakers' staying power may be that it realizes even sports fanatics have other interests, too, like eating. The full-service restaurant menu of sandwiches, burgers and seafood is available into the evening, as well as pulling a separate lunch and dinner clientele.
For more than a year now, Friday nights have been given over to karaoke -- with patrons making cassette recordings while singing to the backup music of hit songs -- and Saturday nights have long featured classic rock and Top 40 bands.
Sneakers Sport Saloon
Where: 8775 Cloudleap Court, Long Reach Village Center in Columbia.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Menu: sandwiches, burgers, steaks and seafood.
Credit cards: Choice, AE, MC, V.