Big Lead Sports Bar

5/19/2008

WHERE DO YOU WATCH THE PENS?

The Penguins' championship run is now 14 games old, with anywhere from four to seven games remaining. A fortunate few can have the privilege of watching game action from inside Mellon Arena, often at a hefty cost. But for the majority of Penguins fans, we're watching the game from somewhere else, be it outside the area, at home, at a Pittsburgh sports bar, or at an out-of-town establishment.

I'm pretty sure about 95% of you don't care for the Versus broadcasting team, and the reasons are well-documented. Not only did they appear to be Flyer cheerleaders/apologists (and for obvious reasons), but the broadcast pales in comparison to the excellence we've come to know from FSN Pittsburgh, who covered their assigned games from every conceivable angle and with a surplus of insight and analysis.
As Jim Krenn and Randy Baumann said on this morning's WDVE morning show, FSN's Dan Potash is like an embedded reporter in a war; he really injects the reader right into the action. And Potash should know - he's certainly paid his dues and spent a lot of time covering those pre-Crosby Penguin teams that history will soon forget.

When FSN broadcast their last Pens game, what followed was a lose-lose for everyone. Fans were forced to tune to Versus, and FSN (as of tonight) is broadcasting minor-league arena football between Reading and Baltimore. Quite a dropoff from Penguin playoff hockey indeed.

Despite your dislike for Versus, you're still tuning in; Game 2 of the Pens-Flyers series was the most-watched telecast (2,345,834 viewers) in the history of the network. And local TV ratings have beaten established TV titans like American Idol.
Ratings and opinions aside, the real point of this post was to discuss where you watch said Penguin broadcasts. I've fielded inquiries from readers wondering more about the outdoor Arena experience, about Penguin bars outside of the city, and even from readers who relocated who wanted to know where to watch a game in the city of Pittsburgh.
Given the fact that I watch the games from the cozy confines of home, I've had little data to share with said readers, other than what I've seen or heard. So Penguin fans, this one's up to you. Do your fellow Pittsburghers (at home and across the country) a favor and share your expertise for any or all of the following questions:
1. A loaded question: What's the best Penguin bar in or around the city of Pittsburgh?
2. If you've experienced a game outside the Arena on the big screen, is it (as I anticipate) worth the trip?
3. For out-of-towners: I know I've put this out there before with several responses, but I thought we'd consolidate it into one neat and tidy post right here...where are you planning on meeting to watch the Stanley Cup Finals?
Please, if you have any info to share, feel free to leave a comment for your Penguin brothers and sisters. I know many of you have gotten into the habit of emailing me directly, and while I certainly appreciate that, please take a second and create a Blogger account to drop some knowledge and share your opinion with the greater masses.

24 comments:

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

I'd like to watch a game at Slap Shot's in Dormont. That place looks like it had mullets galore and old style IC Light cans in the early 90s when the first Cups came around.

Koz said...

I will be most likely attending Games 3 & 4 in person. Woo woo!

LeeTunnel said...

In NYC for game four, I went to the ESPN Zone. Huge screen is great to watch the game from, but it's busy, a ton of people could care less about the hockey game and could be watching the NBA, the service was bad and there were Flyer fans there. I wonder if Scruffy Duffy's, the great Steeler bar in Hell's Kitchen, becomes a Penguin bar or not.

matt the cal u grad in tampa said...

I can only answer #3 because I haven't been home since last summer...

But I will be watching at Hattrick's in downtown Tampa. Close to the house, good food, decent prices, and a few other Pittsburghers in attendance.

I actually sat next to a girl from IUP. I think our bartender went there as well.

They have a huge video wall in the middle of the place with plasmas in every corner and above the bar, and they pipe in Doc Emrick and Edzo.

And as a bonus, they even had the Bucco's on one of the corner tv's.

I am out of town for the long weekend but I will be there for all of the games after. Cheers!

Wojno said...

Actually was at Slap Shots on Sunday. Seen a couple games at Cains (Dormont) too. Ventured to South Side once, Carson City Salon, They have nice drink specials when the Pens score.

lauren_hbg said...

If you're in the Harrisburg area, I recommend watching the game at The Coliseum in Camp Hill. It's similar to a Dave & Buster's, with several flat-screens in the downstairs sports bar area.

Even better - beer prices are great... Anywhere from a $1.75 PBR to only $3.00 for a Guinness. I haven't had the food yet, but people around us were eating, and it looked and smelled good... That's gotta mean something.

Another good thing is that they actually turn the volume up so you can actually hear what's going on (not that you want to if it's on Versus, but still).

Didn't mean to sound like a commercial - but it's a great place to watch Pens games if you're in the Central PA area.

PO said...

Archie's (formerly South City Tavern) on the Southside is a great place to go and so is Redbeard's in Mt. Washington.

Those are my top two choices, Redbeards great for an afternoon game and lunch with Archies being great for a weekend night game and drinks.

They both have great wings and great drinks specials during the games and after the games the drink prices don't spike too hard either.

jefe said...

im in Phoenix and chances are ill be watching the first 3 games at home, however, the Native New Yorker is a good place to watch games. a lot of flat screens and a portable audio box you can have in front of you, so i might do a game there..

games 4 and on ill be in the 'Burgh, prob outside the arena :) tailgateblog!

jtp2106 said...

I'm living in NYC right now and I've been watching the games on VS either on my computer or at Bourbon St. at 79th and Amsterdam. There usually aren't too many Pens fans there, but they usually carry the games on a few of their flat screens in HD. I'll be there on Wednesday, enjoying 50 cent beers from 9-11 and hopefully a Pens victory.

potus said...

Well here's a warning: worst bar in Pittsburgh to watch a game: Carson City Saloon. They went cheap on their tv's. The big screens are high def while the small "booth tvs" are not. Therefore you get the pleasure of hearing a roar a good 4-5 full seconds before seeing what happens. I asked the manager/owner if he could either shut off the small screens or switch the big screens to the non-high def channel. He said people come to the bar to see the high def. So I asked, "what about changing just one screen?" He said "Then everyone will watch that one". Exactly.

Just a warning. Marios is a much better time for the local scene.

Big Snack said...

Archie's is a great place to go, but if you're looking for a smaller place with cheap beer and great service during a game go to Crystal's in the Strip right on Penn Ave.

And if you do go there tell them Big Snack sent ya, maybe I'll get a free beer outta the deal.

And if you're in the Greenfield Area head to Chaser's down in lower Greenfield (the run)...VERY good beer prices and new HD TVs

Nick Saia (usa) said...

ill be at rockys in denton, TX.

BlacknGold66 said...

CLEVELAND:

Westside:

Winking Lizard in Lakewood.

Tons of huge TV's and when there are a decent amount of Pens fans (which their usually are) they'll cut off the jukebox and put on the game.

They have a killer sattellite that picks up just about every station.

Good food too although if you want to get drunk you best be going with the special because it can be a bit pricey.

There should also be a decent contingent of Red Wings fans in there since we're at the epicenter of where the fan bases collide.

bbird said...

Great place to watch the Pens is Crystal in the strip, it is a small local-like bar and is a blast for a game.

C Gally said...

In Arlington, VA. I wouldn't mind going to a bar for the games, but we can't risk it at this point. We have 4 guys that come over and we all sit in the same spots on the couch. Drink from the same glasses as all playoffs.

When the game is over, we remove our outer Penguins apparel and place them in a pile on the floor, not to be touched or washed until next game.

Someone brought a Swiffer to game 4 against Ottawa. The same person brought a broom instead to game 4 against NY and Philly. The broom was drawn, quarter, and burned. The ashes were fed to donkey who crapped them out onto a Flyers jersey. We are set to go.

P Niddy said...

In Baltimore, aka HOCKEYTOWN, we are trying to get a big group together to watch the games in a bar. If interested, please email reggiedunlop1889@yahoo.com. Thanks! Go Pens!

Meadowbrookalum1 said...

Beef O'Brady's in Sarasota...pick one. The chain is rumored to be owned by a Yinzer and they dedicate either an entire room or the biggest TV in the house to whatever Pittsburgh game is on. They're crazy during Steeler games and evey wilder during these playoff series. There are 5 surrounding me and you could walk into any one of them during a game and think that you were on Carson Street.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I've just watched most of the games at home here in Tampa, usually with my family.

I lost the contact info of the people from my local Steeler bar, so I haven't been able to call any of them to see if they want to meet up some where.

I went to Buffalo Wild Wings twice in the 1st round, there were only like 3 or 4 other Pens fans in there each time though.

the nigerian nightmare said...

In DC I would suggest the Pourhouse on the 300 block of Penn Ave.....It's the defacto place for Steeler games and the bartender told me the Pens crowd has been steadily growing throughout the plaoyffs.

tha friendly stranger said...

Archie's is the best bar in southside and their bartender extrodnaire, jack, is the man (he pours with a heavy hand)

Also hough's on greenfield ave. is awesome lots of pens fans and lets not forget about the miller light girls, always a plus in my book

Phoenix Rising said...

For those of you in Northern New Jersey / New York, there is an awesome Steelers fan club: STEELERS IN HOBOKEN. I have received e-mails from them that they are gathering for the Pens games at the Headquarters Bar: Texas Arizona, 76 River Street, Hoboken, NJ, (Located directly across from the Hoboken PATH/Railroad Station). Best place that I have watched a Steelers game outside of Three Rivers/Heinz Field. Should be loaded with Pens fans throughout the Stanley Cup Finals. (My Space: SteelersinHoboken)

Also, for those of you in the Burgh, you might want to check out Excuses on Carson - South Side. They have purchased equipment in order to sychronize the radio feed featuring Mike Lange with the TV broadcast. (My Space: 148190054)

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

JTP - come around the corner to Blondie's at 212 W 79th. Usually 10 or 12 Pens fans at the bar. Plus, one of the bartenders, Becky, is from Butler, so shots are on the house from time to time.

http://blondiessports.com/

I'll be there for games 1-3 and then dahn the Igloo for Game 4, bay-bay!

As for Slap Shots in Dormont, for some odd reason (read: the name and how dingy it looks), I've always wanted to watch a game there, too.

Chris Flecker said...

NYC Peeps;

SCRUFFY DUFFYS WENT UNDER! Sad news indeed, but that's a part of the NY bar scene.

A bar in the upper west side is supposed to be money. Blondies at 79th btwn. Amsterdam and Broadway. They have Pens fans, the game broadcasted through the speakers.

Texas Arizonas in Hoboken is also good.

Kill Your Face 5000 said...

i've really enjoyed watching games at buffalo blues on s. highland in shadyide. they have actual, real HDTVs that are actually being fed an HD signal (unlike 90% of bars, which just feed their HDTVs with a crappy standard def signal, which is then stretched and cropped to fit the screen... headache inducing). unfortunately, they have dish network, which doesn't carry VS in HD. still looking for that bar with dependable real HD...