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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Where to Watch the National Championship: the Complete Guide


A few people around the state of Oregon have expressed some interest in an event this Monday. It turns out a local university is participating in some kind of contest. I don't know, maybe it's not that big of deal; but hey, any excuse to get out to the bars, right? On the off-chance you're planning to stop into a public house, you might be interested in the following choices, culled by my team of interns in a rigorous selection process.

Note: I will update this if/when I gather more info. Don't hesitate to email!

Best For Beer
Mostly, the best beer spots are not the best places to watch football. Here are your best bets for combining the two:

Beermongers, 1125 SE Division. Wear Ducks gear for a discount; a prize will be awarded to best-dressed fan. Tap selection: Four rare(ish) beers (plus Total Dom), including a mystery beer.

EastBurn, 1800 E Burnside. Special projection screen, TV on the patio; $10 pitchers; doors open at 4pm. Tap selection: Always very solid rotating selection, usually featuring at least one rare beer. Instantly updated list here.

Pilsner Room
, 0309 SW Montgomery. Tap selection: Full Sail's finest, including cask taps, plus a very nice selection of guest taps. Comment: The Pilsner Room has the virtue of a projection screen, but not a huge room. Get there early--and enjoy a great happy hour (including $3 burgers).

Projection Screens
For some, the only way to watch football is on a screen large enough to approximate the experience of being there. These aren't always the places with the best beer (though some are!), but life is full of compromises. In descending order of beer selection, here are your best bets.

Spirit of '77, 500 NE MLK Blvd. Tap selection: an extremely well-selected eight taps (Ommegang Hennepin, Hopworks Secession, Old Rasputin, etc.). Comment: I didn't know this place existed, but it looks like a great venue.

The Guild House. 1101 E. Burnside Tap selection: just five taps, but they are well-selected and include the rare Oakshire Willamette Dammit. Comment: This is a pre-grand opening for my friend Jesse Cornett's new pub. I haven't been there yet, but obviously it rocks.

Tom's Pizza and Sports Bar. 2630 N Lombard Street. Tap selection: a dozen or so non-exotic micros.

Claudia's. 3006 SE Hawthorne. Tap selection: a dozen or so non-exotic micros. Comment: This used to be a smoky sports/dive bar with a serious fan vibe. It still is, sans smoke.

McMenamin's Tap selection: McMenamins' beers have lately been spottier than usual; caveat emptor. Doors open at 4:30.
  • Bagdad Theater, 3702 S.E. Hawthorne.
  • Grand Lodge, 3505 Pacific Ave. Forest Grove
  • Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan.
  • St. Johns Theater and Pub, 8203 N. Ivanhoe

Multiple Flat Screens
For pure visual splendor, nothing beats a projection screen, which sort of approximates a live-event feel. But if not a big screen, a clear, sharp flat screen is the next best thing. These pubs are those with lots of little screens (you know, like four feet), which, if you get a good seat, are perfectly serviceable.

, Pearl: 110 NW 10th Ave and SE: 2239 SE 11th Ave. Tap selection: nice mixture of reliable micros and a few more exotic choices. Comment: Blitz Ladd is a great place to hang out, and if you find a nice table with a view--or better yet, get a seat at the bar--it's one of the best places to watch sports.

Bottles, 5015 NE Fremont. Two flat screens and 412 bottled beers. Tap selection: An additional eight well-selected beers on tap.

Breakside Brewery, 820 NE Dekum St. Tap selection: Breakside's own brews plus a few well-selected guest taps. Comment: just two 50-inch screens, but it's a great environment.

Laurelwood, 5115 NE Sandy Blvd. One of your best brewpub bets. Tap selection: Laurelwood's finest.

Good Call, 11010 SE Division. Tap selection: apparently a few micros, but more importantly it's an Asian-owned pub with Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian, and Khmer food.

Grand Central Bowling. Tap selection: a dozen or so non-exotic micros.

Pit Stop, 10245 SW Canyon Rd. Tap selection: unknown, but the barbeque is purported to be good.

Beyond Portland Metro
McMenamin's Old St. Francis School, 700 N.W. Bond Street, Bend. Tap selection: McMenamins' beers have lately been spottier than usual; caveat emptor. Projection screen. Doors open at 4:30.

The Cooler,
20 Centennial Loop. Projection Screen. Tap selection: a decent selection of Eugene-area craft beers.

  • Side Bar, 1680 Coburg Road
  • Sixth Street Grill, 55 W. Sixth Ave
  • O-Bar & Grill, 115 Commons Drive

Pacific City
Pelican Brewery
, 33180 Cape Kiwanda Drive, Pacific City. Tap selection: not too shabby. (Actually, when I got the email, I considered briefly driving to Pacific City for this.) Doors open at 2pm, so you can start piling in plenty early

Brewers Union Local 180
, 48329 East 1st Street. Brewers Union now has a projection screen to go with their beautiful pub and tasty fish and chips. Tap selection: some of the state's finest cask ales as well as several more great guest taps.

Prodigal Son Brewery
, 230 SE Court Ave. On the projection screen in the theater room. A $20 buffet includes two beers. Doors open 4pm. Tap selection: the finest ales from one of Oregon's brightest debut brewery.

Seven Brides Brewing
, 990 N. First Street. Tap selection: Seven Brides' finest.

Sporty Sport
A bullet list of more traditional sports bars, with culture and beer to match:
  • Big Al's, 14950 SW Barrows Rd (projection screen)
  • Lil' Cooperstown, 5851 NE Halsey St
  • Macadam's Bar and Grill, 5833 SW Macadam (projection screen)
  • On Deck, 910 NW 14th Ave
  • Skybox, 7995 SE Milwaukie Ave


  1. What a better way to watch the Ducks national championship victory than on the very floor of the 1939 Basketball Ducks played on in MacArthur court?

    I say, get thee to Oakridge and Brewer's Union 180

  2. I have to throw in a plug for my local favorite place to watch a game. Kenny and Zukes Sandwich Works at NW 24th and NW Thurman has a single large flat screen and will be showing the game. Whenever the TV is on they offer happy hour prices the whole time which includes $2.50 cheater pints. They have 3 well selected taps. They also have great sliders and soft pretzels that are cheap cheap cheap.

  3. I'd add 4th Street brewpub in Gresham. Usually happy hour prices on food and drink during big games (including $3 Imp. Pints). The real draw for this place is the HDTV setup, two big flat screens to the right and left of bar, lots of smaller flat screens all around, all setup properly with HD and great audio as well (being a TV engineer, I really appreciate this). Also, for those without ESPN, but with Comcast broadband, I think they are streaming it on