I hate football. A lot. I may catch hell for saying so, and it may decrease my “cool girl” rating, but I really do hate football. It’s on as often as possible in our home since The Boyfriend is a superfan, but I always manage to zone out or read a book. To me, it’s just a bunch of dudes running around and falling down on each other. But, I did graduate from UConn and since they made it to the Fiesta Bowl, I felt that for a single evening I could watch some football. I also am more of a dive bar/pub-type of girl than a giant club or sports bar regular, but for a game I will endure a sports bar with wall-to-wall TVs–if it’s a proper sports bar.
So, on the very first night of the year, I joined The Boyfriend and a friend at Damon’s Tavern in The Beat, where they had been before but I had not. Damon’s isn’t in downtown Beat, but on Prospect Avenue on the West Beat line in a neighborhood you wouldn’t expect to find a huge sports bar. But, that’s what Damon’s is. Unlike places like Black Bear that pretend to be a sports bar only to turn into a slutty ho bar at the stroke of 10 p.m., Damon’s is a true sports bar. Given this, the crowd was pretty testosterone-y with a good healthy dose of what I call Connecticut Short Man’s Syndrome. CSMS is rampant at UConn–short dudes who feel like they have to make up for their lack of height by being douchey and pump up to much too wide a stature — so I wasn’t surprised to see an abundance of it out for the game.
I was expecting (and sort of hoping for) a dive because of the neighborhood Damon’s is in, but the bar was pretty modern with about 50 giant flat screens all over the place. It was also pretty damn clean (having worked in a bar for three years, I just assume that they are all as funky as the place I worked). The staff was pretty friendly, and generally typical bar staff (flirting with and rubbing up against each other and regular patrons which made for great people-watching). The place was understandably packed and we were quoted an hour wait, but we managed to scope out a table rooting for Wisconsin in the Wisc-TCU game and staked claim for when they were leaving. However, when we went to claim our booty, some crewcut-sporting, CSMS suffering dudes from the next table tried to commandeer it. We persevered, but had to endure a handful of “you stole our table” ribs until they found some cougars to invite to their table.
The boys ordered beers from their extensive draft list and I went for a girly margarita that was sub-par even though they talked it up on the menu and it was priced to expect it be amazing. I’m not one to rave about bar food (although I love to indulge in it), however, my BLT was quite good — the bacon was perfectly crispy, and the addition of avocado was brilliant. Even the fries were worth a mention — I couldn’t stop eating them long after I was already stuffed. The Boyfriend’s pulled pork sandwich was also tasty — big chunks of pork and above par BBQ sauce.
Even though it was football, and I dislike it, Damon’s was a good place to be for the game — despite the pounding that the Huskies took from the Sooners (still not clear what a Sooner is). Almost every TV in the place was on the game, and they actually had the sound up on it, like any good sports bar should. Full of UConn fans and a handful of Husky chants, it was almost like being back on campus — although when I was on campus, our football team supersucked and the cheering was reserved for basketball.
The only rub was that during our three hours there, they had a door propped open the entire time. It wasn’t nearly hot enough to warrant keeping the place ice cold, unless you were waitstaff running your ass off. Even then, I’m of the mind that you should keep your customers comfortable. When we asked our waitress about the draft, she told us the door was just opening and closing and that it wasn’t really open. A quick walk told us otherwise, and even though I was bundled with my coat on and hood up for two hours, the door remained open. I was so cold I couldn’t even bring myself to try and drink anymore since it didn’t look like they could whip up a hot toddy.
Overall, one salt shaker. I’d give it two since it was a “real” sports bar, but I value a decent margarita too much, and if I wanted to freeze my ass off while drinking, I’d take a six pack onto my front porch.