Bier Magazine
Home » bar reviews, washington d.c.

Bar Review: Nellie’s Sports Bar

Submitted by on November 30, 2009 – 12:06 PMNo Comment
Bookmark and Share

Nellie’s Sports Bar
900 U St.
Washington, DC
Tel: 202.332-NELL (6355)

Hours of Operation:
Mon. – Thurs.    5 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Fri.         3 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Sat.         11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Sun.        11 a.m. –11 p.m.

Best time to visit: Game-time, any time.

nelliesNellie’s is a unique institution in Washington: a gay sports bar.  It is neither one exclusively – you can go if you’re straight, and you can go if you don’t care about sports.  But if you hate sports, don’t go during a big game, and if you’re straight, bring an open mind.

It’s a big place with lots of separate spaces and plenty of TVs.  The deck is inviting in warm weather, and the downstairs dining area is a perfect place to hunker down for a Winter-full of football.  Space is available at the bars, but Nellie’s fills up quickly most nights.

There is a welcoming atmosphere, and people at Nellie’s are happy to socialize.  The many regulars harbor no air of exclusivity.  It is an understandably close-knit community, and the true Nellie’s supporter is proud to call the place a second home.

Located near the U-Street Metro Station, Nellie’s combines the feel of the local hang-out with a diverse crowd from all over DC and its surroundings.  Through the traditionally quiet nights – Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday – Nellie’s still brings in crowds with a poker night, bingo night, and trivia night, respectively.  Bear in mind, these events each have a Nellie’s twist.  Bingo night, for example, is “Drag Bingo.”  Trivia night, meanwhile, is a well-run two-fer, offering two quick games every Wednesday, each one offering prizes of cash off your bar bill.  The regulars are fiercely but amicably competitive, and the team names alone can provide a full evening’s amusement.

Nellie’s offers an above-average pub menu, only lacking in real bargains.  But  they offer most of their menu items in different sizes, so you can decide whether you want just enough for yourself, or plenty for your whole group.  Whatever you order – from nachos to salad to black bean soup – is bound to be done very well.  (“Well” as in “Good” – not “Burnt.”)
There is a reasonable selection of good beer, including 8 varieties on tap, ranging from the mundane to the above-average.  Happy Hour offers a popular “beat the clock” option on bottles: $1 from 5 to 6 p.m., $2 from 6 to 7, and $3 from 7 to 8; a good excuse to leave work early.

The ultimate selling point for Nellie’s is its sense of community.  The bar sponsors many events, local teams, and charities, and the owners clearly make a tremendous effort to create a dynamic, fun, and inviting environment. They take great pride in their establishment, and the loyalty of their customers shows that that pride is not misplaced.

They currently serve Guinness, Sam Adams (seasonal), Blue Moon, Bass, Peroni, Stella Artois, and Bell’s Oberon were available a last check. Also, Nellie’s defies certain stereotypes by only offering one “Light” beer, and a unique one at that.  “Nellie Light” is comparable to a decent pale ale, only not so hoppy.

Great community atmosphere; numerous activities; decent specials.

Cons: Could use a few more cheap food options; not a great place for sports-haters or homophobes.

Rating: 4 out of 5