Posted January 16, 2014 by Cooper Point Journal in Uncategorized

The Spectator’s Almanac

Finding your Sports Niche in the Olympia Bar Scene

by James Gutsch

This weekend the Seattle Seahawks will once again lock talons with their old adversary, the San Francisco 49ers. They’ll meet in the National Football Conference Championship in an effort to punch their ticket to the biggest stage on national television: the Super Bowl.  Although this is the biggest game of any Seattle team since the 2006 Super Bowl, allow me to reference what acclaimed sportswriter Grantland Rice once wrote back in 1908: “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes – not that you won or lost – but where you watched the game [Slightly altered for relevancy].”  This brings us to the point of this article: finding the best sports bar in Olympia.

The Westside Tavern

One of my personal favorite places to watch the game, this hole in the wall is located just a few blocks from the Harrison and Division intersection. The Westside Tavern has some of the best game-day specials in town as well as free pool on Sundays (for halftime).  A frequent patron told me, “Every time you go in there and there’s a ‘Hawks game on, and everyone is decked out in gear, they’re just ready to cheer and it feels cool to be a part of that.” Food and drink are fairly cheap, and because of the convenient location it attracts a lot of Evergreen students.

Average cost for a meal plus a few drinks:  $15.00

Pints & Quarts

Located in the Capital Mall, this is another popular spot among the Greener crowd. P’s & Q’s has an excellent happy hour menu, game-day specials and a vast number of TVs playing a wide variety of sports action.  The biggest screens though, are always reserved for the Seahawks. They also have weekend breakfast specials, trivia and bingo on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, as well as meal deals throughout the week. Sports fanatic or not, Pints & Quarts always delivers a good time.

Average cost for a meal plus a few drinks:  $12.00

Buffalo Wild Wings

Although the above bars are great, they are a little mainstream. For a super mainstream venue, look no further than Buffalo Wild Wings! BWW had its grand opening in Olympia less than a year ago. It gets about as close as possible to simulating the actual stadium with massive TV screens, a victory lap following every Seahawk touchdown, and yes, the menu is slightly overpriced. Although it  is a bit of a walk from the 48 bus route, Buffalo Wild Wings has an atmosphere that will bring out the 12th Man in anyone. Just be sure to get there early because it fills up quickly. (12th Man: generic label applied to all Seahawk fans, regardless of gender, race or creed).

Average cost for a meal and a few drinks:  $20

O’Blarney’s Irish Pub

For those looking for a less chaotic bar that still brings the game-day intensity, this may be just the pub for you. This venue is a bit out of the way in East Olympia/Lacey, but is well worth the trek. What it lacks in game-day specials is made up for with a superb menu featuring traditional Irish favorites, as well as an inviting homey atmosphere. While it is a bit expensive, O’Blarney’s is fun for people of all ages, so expect both grandparents and children (there is both a bar and restaurant).

Average cost for a meal and a few drinks:  $25.00

Tugboat Annie’s

For another family-friendly place to watch the game, check out Tugboat Annie’s on the Westside. Although it is not accessible by bus, Annie’s is right on the water and has a great selection of food plus some delicious drinks. The TV collection is not as impressive as other bars in Olympia. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere and don’t mind paying a bit more, don’t hesitate to give it a go.

Average cost for a meal and a few drinks:  $20.00

Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill

Lastly, no review of Olympia sports bars would be complete without Frankie’s! This bar made headlines back in 2012, after the passage of Initiative 502 (legalizing recreational cannabis) when the owner began allowing customers to smoke marijuana in the bar’s upstairs section. Patrons must pay a small annual fee to enter the private ‘Friends of Frankie’s’ section, where they can drink beer, watch football, and of course, get high.  If you prefer tobacco, there is a tobacco smoking section as well (the TV is small) and they have a regular bar and grill. If you care deeply about ‘aesthetics,’ the bartenders do dress in lingerie. A menu dedicated to the Seahawks plus a few fairly large TVs, the presence of a loyal fan base and Frankie’s wide selection of alcohol makes this one of the best bars in Olympia for watching sports. It’s on the Eastside, but the 66 bus route stops right next to it on its way to Lacey (i.e. no car is needed, so drink up!).

Average cost for a meal and a few drinks:  $15.00

So whether you give a standing ovation after every touchdown whilst swearing at the referees after every controversial penalty, or are just looking for a quiet place to drink with friends and watch a good football game, or you don’t even know what football is and you just like to see chairs fly –  Olympia has the sports bar for you. Go Seahawks!