Finding big screens for the big playoff game

Fans of a feather flock to local watering holes for this weekend's big playoff game

  • Tiffany Kallenberger, left, with her husband, Matt Kallenberger of Cockeysville, right, and friend Erica Holsey of Towson celebrate a Ravens touchdown last year at Padonia Station. The sports bar expects to be mobbed for the playoff game.
Tiffany Kallenberger, left, with her husband, Matt Kallenberger… (Baltimore Sun photo by Elizabeth…)
January 07, 2010|By Sam Sessa | sam.sessa@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun reporter

Much like the game itself, watching football is a team sport. The crashing tackles, hard-fought yardage and nail-biting field-goal attempts are all the more intense when you're in the company of a hundred or so other hard-core Ravens fans. And Sunday's playoff game, when the Ravens take on the New England Patriots, promises to be a bruiser.

Baltimore restaurants and bars are gearing up for the game with food and drink specials galore. One lucky fan will get to sit on a couch and down free beer and wings during the game at Luckie's Tavern. In Timonium, Padonia Station plans to serve more than half a ton of hot wings. Even The Ottobar, a club traditionally known for live music, is throwing a football bash.

Here are several prime spots to watch the game, whether you're a Ravens or -- gasp -- Patriots fan.

Mother's Federal Hill Grille has long been the go-to spot in South Baltimore for wild and rowdy Ravens fans. Last spring, the restaurant and bar opened Mother's on the Alley, a nearly 4,000-square-foot expansion with a 60-foot-6-inch bar -- the exact distance from home base to the pitcher's mound on a major league baseball field. That's not to mention the nearly 20 TVs and surround-sound speaker system.

Sunday, some patrons will show up as early as 11 a.m. to claim their seat, according to owner Dave Rather. Mother's will be dishing half-priced wings, as well as buckets of Coors Light for $10 and pitchers of Blue Moon for $11. Rather said his staff plans to decorate the space with balloons and beads as well, and expects capacity crowds.

"We're going to be packed," Rather said. "It's going to be high-energy and people will be really excited."

Mother's is at 1113 S. Charles St. Call 410-244-8686 or go to mothersgrille.com.

Few foods go with football like hot wings, and few area bars will consume as many wings as Padonia Station. Between inhouse and carryout orders, the Timonium sports bar will most likely go through 1,600 pounds of wings, general manager Larry Leonardi said. To wash down all those wings, the bar will be serving 16-ounce Coors Light drafts for $2.50 each. And, if anyone is still hungry after the game, burgers will be half-price after 7 p.m. Leonardi expects a wall-to-wall extravaganza -- the usual for playoff games, he said.

"It'll be mobbed in here," Leonardi said. "There's no doubt about it."

Padonia Station is at 63 E. Padonia Road in Timonium. Call 410-252-8181 or go to padoniastation.com.

The unfortunate reality of Sunday's game is that not everyone in Baltimore will be rooting for the Ravens. A small but vocal minority will cheer for the Patriots, and Don't Know Tavern will welcome those folks with open arms -- and free shots. Every time the Patriots score a touchdown, Don't Know will give everyone wearing Patriots apparel (jerseys, face paint, etc.) a free shooter. Patriots fans will also receive food and drink specials, including $2.50 Miller Lite bottles and a 20 percent discount on food. Jason Zink, who manages Don't Know and owns the nearby No Idea Tavern -- a Jets haven -- said he thinks Ravens fans will mingle with Patriots fans without incident. Zink said he doesn't have a favorite team himself.

"I like it when the Patriots win, I like it when the Jets win and I like it when the Ravens win," he said. "It's a win-win situation."

Don't Know Tavern is at 1453 Light St. Call 410-539-0231 or go to dontknowtavern.com.

Sometimes the best way to handle such a high-profile game is without all the fuss. At least, that's ESPN Zone's school of thought. Sunday, the Inner Harbor sports-watching mecca will be business as usual, without any food or drink specials, according to marketing representative Leigh Friedman.

"We'll be doing standard operations," she said.

Of course, "standard operations" at ESPN Zone means more than 100 HD TVs scattered throughout the building, including the 16-foot big screen in the middle of the screening room. It's possibly the biggest TV in town, which means viewers can get up close and personal with the players.

ESPN Zone is at 601 E. Pratt St. Call 410-685-3776 or go to espnzone.com.

Yes, hipsters watch football, too. This year, The Ottobar has held get-togethers for a pack of Ravens fans known as the Baltimore Football Hooligans. Sunday, they'll meet in the club's upstairs lounge to hoist inexpensive drinks and share potluck dishes while watching the Ravens and Patriots go head-to-head. It may be an unlikely place to find football fans, but the club promises good times for all.

The Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. Call 410-662-0069 or go to theottobar.com

What are the ingredients for the perfect game-watching experience? Tomorrow, Luckie's Tavern in Power Plant Live will be signing people up for a chance to win a VIP couch seat in front of the bar's 15-foot HD screen, with free wings and beer during Sunday's game. What more could any Ravens lover want?

Luckie's, which has a retro feel, plans to throw a Ravens bash Sunday called Boozin' and Bruisin' Brady. Specials, which will be available until 4 p.m., include $2 Miller Lite bottles, $3 Bloody Marys, $4 mimosas and $4 bombs.

Luckie's is at 10 Market Place in Power Plant Live. Call 410-223-1105 or go to luckies tavern.com. For more information about the raffle, e-mail ben@luckiestavern.com.

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