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Mar 18, 2008 09:49 AM

Sports bar - Burlington, VT area?

I'm looking for a place to hang out with a friend and watch the NCAA tournament on Thursday afternoon. Looking for decent food and a place where we can stay for a couple hours and watch the games. Right now we're thinking about some place downtown, maybe Church Street Tavern, or VT Pub and Brewery. Other options might be the Pour House in S. Burlington or Cody's in Essex (I'd like to stay away from chains like Chili's or Friday's). One of the pizza places could work too if they've got a nice setup for watching the games. Anyone have any thoughts/recommendations about these places (particularly with regard to watching a game), or have any suggestions? Any input appreciated.

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  1. Church St. tavern is probably your best bet with multiple tv's and decent food.

    1. The Upper Deck Pub at the Windjammer (Williston Road) is a good place.They don't have a large screen TV, but have multiple TVs on and it's always sports. They have good food too. I like the "Jammer Crew" - grilled chicken sandwich.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bm_vt

        I don't know if it's reopened yet, but Nectar's use to be pretty fun for that kind of stuff...

      2. I know this may not be the popular answer, but there is a Hooter's. Wings, cold beer, and well you know the rest..........................

        1 Reply
        1. re: TonyO


          Well, it's not "Vermont politically correct" to go there, but TonyO makes a very solid recommendation.

          The good news is that you're unlikely to encounter servers at Hooters with hair under their arms, and sporting goatees. You might not be able to make that claim at more p-c establishments in Burlington, male OR female.


        2. Thanks for the input guys. Upper Deck Pub is a place I hadn't thought of. Does Nectar's have much in the way of tv's?

          I did think of Hooter's but I'd rather support a local business. Also, my friend is female ...

          1. I'm not going to touch the hairy armpit comment... oh wait, I think I just did... anyway, Nectars just did a makeover and they have more TVs in the dining/bar area. At least that's the word on the streets. Local is always better.

            8 Replies
            1. re: biggirlco

              Went to Church Street Tavern and it did the job. Food was fine and several tv's showing different games (even had a little spring training action mixed in). Might try Nectar's next time.

              1. re: biggirlco


                Local is always better?

                Well, if you say so...

                I guess not all of us are enamored with the Vermont "hippie" vibe which spills over into our restaurants having poorly-trained waitstaffs. There are times when I've been greeted by waiters (male and female) in local restaurants whom I desperately wished projected a clean, professional image, instead of the slovenly appearance that passes for stylish in some places here.

                I just returned from Paris, and every restaurant I visited had waitstaff that knew their jobs, knew it well, and took care of the customer's dining needs. OTOH, I recently posted a review of Quatre bistro in Burlington, which can be found here....and our waiter was that sort of untrained, thoughtless, post-hippie laid-back type who was more interested in regaling the entire dining room about his latest "mix" CDR he had made, while ignoring basic fundamentals for his customers.

                1. re: signothetimes53

                  Believe me, being a local "professional" server myself, nothing irks me more than poorly trained waitstaff, regardless of hippie vibe and stylish status. I don't think service requires automotrons in stogy black and whites either, you actually can be personable, friendly, full of knowledge... and maybe even a hippy and give good service. My point was supporting a locally owned and operated business is probably better than supporting Hooters... right?

                  Oh, and my armpits are shaved... most of the time.

                  1. re: biggirlco

                    Nice dialogue ! I'm on the fence pertaining this issue. I typically will give the nod to a locally owned restaurant if all things are equal (food quality, service, pricing). Unfortunately, there are many establishments that rest on the fact that they are locally owned and make no effort to put out a quality product (typically the paople that have little or no restaurant background but had some $ and decided, "Hey, let's open a restaurant !!". The staff is untrained and plagued with turnover (front and back of the house) and the life expectancy is usually under 18 months (you all know the places I'm referring to). As far as Hooter's go, I'm personally not a fan as the gimmick otweighs the quality of the food. If it is simply cold beer, t.v. sets, and simple food liek wings, they are ok (it is realtively hard to find a place with t.v. cold beer, and wings actually). I am not a fan of the unkept / no hygiene image that does seem to plague many downtown eateries. The secent of Patchooli Oil (I'm sure it is spelled wrong) does nothing for my appetite !

                    1. re: TonyO

                      Kind of interesting that this discussion of service has cropped up in a thread about sports bars .... I don't know how many of you actually have been there but the most "hippie" aspect of the place is probably that it's got local beer on tap.

                      And as for service, I personally would rather be in a relaxed environment rather than someplace where the restaurant staff try to intimidate you.

                      1. re: stroshow3

                        I have been to the Church St. Tavern on many occassions and they are not one of the "hippie" places based on my experiences. I like the Church St. Tavern but wouldn't think of it as a sports bar by any stretch. I should have thought to mention Ake's Place a block or so away on Church St. As far as being intimidated by a staff member, I have no idea what that reference is about and would appreciate am example. All I can think of is the incessant suggestive selling that takes place at hellholes like Applebee's and The Outback. "Good day MAte, can we satrt you off with some tucker such as our Bloomin' Onion and perhaps a Foster's Oil Can" ? Miserable to say the least but not intimidating.

                        1. re: TonyO

                          Maybe intimidating isn't the right word. The heart of what I'm getting at more is restaurants that place more emphasis on presentation, image, etc than on the food. Overly complicated or unexplained menus are one way that this sometimes can be somewhat intimidating. Unfortunately I can't come up with a specific example of an intimidating restaurant experience but again the point I wanted to make is that I'd much rather have the restaurant's emphasis be on its food than on its image.

                          1. re: stroshow3

                            The forst thing for me that comes to mind from your post are those restaurants offering "molecular gastronomy". Some foam, a Doo Doo Bird Egg, and a Sea Lion testicle all served on one spoon that you must eat while listening to Moby. But it must be worth it because there is a six month waiting list and the "experience" will cost a couple around $600. And don't forget the dress code and the mandatory adherence that all "participants" must a a perfect height to weight ratio.

                            Check Please..................