It has become kind of an annual happening around here.
About a week before college football kicks off, I field a text or two: "Where should I watch the game?"
Of course, the football fanatics among us set the schedule way in advance. Some of us pick out the games we want to travel to and others go so far as to set up tailgate menus. If you don't travel to games much, you probably have a routine for watching your team. Sometimes that's at home, other times it's at your favorite watering hole sports grill establishment. In most cases, it's a little of both.
Of course, that depends on the magnitude of the game. In my world, the bigger the game involving my team, the fewer people I want around. Too much noise when I am focusing on Miami losing 58-0 grates on my last nerve. Of course, that figures to change now that my team is walking around with the ex-wife.
Talk is cheap. We still have to play the games and watch them, right?
Every year I come up with a list of places, usually four or five spots that are game-ready. How do I define game-ready? Criteria is simple.
There have to be multiple TVs around. Big ones. Second, the food has to be good. That's it. Contrary to popular belief, I'm not too picky. I can enjoy a game anywhere with the best of 'em. As long as the beverages are cold and the TV is in color. Oh, and you gotta have cable.
We all have our favorites around town. Some of us like to go downtown; others will do anything to avoid it. B&D Burgers, World of Beer (with food delivered from around the corner), Savannah Taphouse, The Distillery and McDonough's are all great spots to watch a game downtown. You'll even eat it and like it.
I've got a few you probably haven't considered for your game, but maybe you should. Outside of downtown, Coach's Corner is quite possibly the best true sports bar in town. Beyond that, there are any number of spots with TVs where you can enjoy a game.
Disclaimer: If you are a stats geek or fantasy football nerd who shows up at the sports bar with a laptop and an iPad capable of tuning in to NORAD or surveillance cameras outside of a Brazilian gas station, then my list isn't for you. If you like to watch a few games at once, eat some good food and enjoy an afternoon, then by all means take a look at my list, which is provided in no particular order.
The Bar at Basil's
216 Johnny Mercer Blvd., Wilmington Island
The island crowd knows all about Basil's. The pizzas, along with Huc-A-Poo's out on Tybee, are the most popular pies east of Skidaway Road. Hugely popular, family-friendly dining is on one side, with a great bar area on the other featuring multiple TVs and full access to their menu. It's the kind of place where the locals will get there early to watch their game in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. I'd recommend Basil's to watch "THE" game, not necessarily "A" game. There is a big difference. Of course, beauty is in the eyes of the beer holder. That goes for the team on TV as well. It's tucked away in a corner of town, but I am including them on this list because it is a fantastic place to stop for a late game after an afternoon at the beach, which appeals to a whole lot of folk.
7 E. Bay St., downtown Savannah
I've been going to Tondee's for a few years now and watched it evolve from just another dusty old overlooked spot on Bay Street to an eatery that deserves your attention. Especially if you are watching a game or two. Owner Willie Tuten has very quietly given his place a bit of a makeover the last couple of years. Old carpeting is gone, wood floors are exposed and refinished. There are a bunch of huge screens hanging from the ceiling from a variety of angles and there is a long bar serving any number of beers, local and otherwise. Oh yeah, the food is good, too. Their burgers are hand patted and taste like it. Looking to sleep all day the next day? Try their Beantown Style Mac and Cheese Burger. Yes, a well-crafted affair topped with macaroni and cheese.
Lucky Nomads Pub
7222 Hwy. 21, Port Wentworth
After a bit of asking around and research, I thought I'd take a ride up Hwy. 21 to Lucky Nomads. Chef/owner Will Cattlet is a food and beverage veteran who's just looking to do good food, offer a cold beer and enjoy any of the games going on. He's easily got a couple of dozen TVs set up all across the quite large space. The name of his spot comes from his travels around the country. He has dishes from practically every corner of the country. There are New Orleans influences, Floridian influences, nachos, tacos, seafood and a whole lot more. I think Will's menu is a little too big and he'd be better served paring it down a bit, but that said, we enjoyed the lunch we had there: patty melt, chicken sandwiches and wings. Nothing about Lucky Nomads says gourmet and that's fine, especially if you live out that way and get tired of driving all the way to Pooler to have a bite and watch a ball game. Give Will a shot. I think you'll enjoy it.
225 W. River Street, downtown Savannah
I've shared Dub's story with you before. If you haven't given them a try yet, shame on you. For my money, it and The Warehouse are the two best spots on River Street to watch multiple games. The food is great at Dub's. A ton of TVs all over the walls. Plenty of space for two ping pong tables, darts and more. It's not just one of my favorites on the river - it's one of my favorites in the city. Chicken fingers are fantastic. Keep in mind they are way down on the very often overlooked west side of River Street, which actually works in your favor if you are looking for lots of TVs but not the kind of crowds that can make any experience a little sticky. Dub's is the perfect balance in my book, and has been for years.
See you on TV,