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What’s Up seeks out the Best Baseball Pubs in Kitsap.
Today the calendar page turns and welcomes October.
Which, in turn, ushers in most important time of the year for Major League Baseball — the postseason. It’s been a long, long time coming, as it typically is in baseball. Blood, sweat and tears, three times over.
But with the stakes raised, the weak weeded out and emotions peaking, autumn always tends to breathe vigor back into the baseball diamond. It stokes the fire for the players on the field and, for fans, makes watching the three-to-four hour games of pitch and catch on a big screen appealing again.
At least for some.
For others, like the young blonde bartendress at the South Pacific Sports Bar on a Wednesday night in Bremerton — “It’s football season,” she says. “Nobody cares about baseball right now.”
Which is true in a way, especially in this corner of the country.
With the Mariners in such a dismal state — having broken the 100 mark in the loss column, possessing the worst record in baseball, no hopes for the playoffs and so on — it’s not surprising to see so many inflatable Seahawks helmets and so few Ichiro bobbleheads decorating sports bars and pubs across the county.
Also not surprising that you’re likely to find much more of a party for a regular season Seahawks game than you will for most any pre-World Series playoff baseball game around here.
But thinking of those local baseball enthusiasts favoring non-local teams — perhaps the Cubs fan reveling in this “magical season” or the Yankees fan stunned and searching for a new team — What’s Up wanted to map out the best places for one to grab a beer and a playoff baseball game throughout the county this October.
Plus, last week was a bye week for the Hawks.
So, here’s the criteria — the Best Baseball Pubs in Kitsap must: have at least one big screen, have substantial and scrumptious baseball-friendly bar food and quality seating. And wireless Internet would be nice to track what’s going on in the rest of the league.
We found at least one fitting place in each region of the county, many of which are just as fitting for playoff baseball as they are for Seahawk Sundays.
• The Endzone Sports Pub, 1023 Bethel Ave., (360) 874-8628
When inquiring sports freaks and barflys around the county as to “Where’s the best pub to catch a playoff baseball game in Kitsap?” — you’re likely to get one of a few responses, depending on who you ask.
1) A blank stare and a response of “What? In Kitsap?” with a hint of “you’re an idiot.”
2) The Cloverleaf, or
3) The End Zone Sports Pub in Port Orchard.
Given that it’s one of the few bars in Kitsap with a sports-themed moniker, we figured the End Zone would be a fitting place to begin our quest.
And what we found is possibly one of the Best Baseball Pubs in Kitsap, bar none.
In addition to vintage trading cards underneath the plexi-glass on the bar, the End Zone boasts all kinds of sports on more than 14 screens — with 10 regular-sized TVs surrounding one 60-inch big screen on the back wall, two 48-inch flat screens above the bar and two others in the “Hawks’ Nest.”
Mid-week patrons say the place can get rowdy during football season, but when asked if anyone gets much into baseball playoffs, one guy hesitates and replies “Maybe if the Mariners weren’t sucking so bad.”
ALSO CHECK OUT: The big screen and outdoor TVs at Moondogs, Too, 714 Bay St.; Big screens plus an indoor driving range and great food at Shooterz Deli/Pool Hall, 1750 Village Lane and Slip 45, 715 Bay St.
• South Pacific Sports Bar, 218 First St., (360) 479-1657
Despite nobody caring about baseball here, according to one bartender, the South Pacific takes the prize for one of the most unique screens and most unique scenes of the Best Baseball Pubs in Kitsap.
In addition to a neon-lit plastic palm tree, a cabana over the bar and a stand alone 60-inch big screen on the ground level, the South Pac also features a projector screen stretched across the railing of its upstairs balcony, viewable from almost any seat in the house.
Being located in downtown Bremerton, it’s also got the requisite Wi-Fi, which makes up for a subtle lack in screens.
An unusual plus: daily sports news hangs in the bathroom, waiting for fans taking a break from the game.
ALSO CHECK OUT: The game with a nuclear drink at the 19th Hole, 2171 Erlands Point Road; Find plenty of sports-minded conversation and debates at the Horse and Cow, 3050 Northlake Way and also at Bremerton Lanes, 540 Bruenn Lane.
• The Cloverleaf Bar and Grill, 1240 Hollis St., (360) 377-8516
With the three main criteria — screens, food and seating — considered, the Cloverleaf in East Bremerton is the Best Baseball Pub in Kitsap County.
No wonder it is one of the most popular responses you’ll get when asking where to find the county’s best sports bars.
They’ve got a row of flat screens hanging side-by-side above the bar in addition to others in the corners providing for multiple game consumption from any seat in the house. And they’ve got a vast beer selection and multiple fried foods available for consumption.
Not to mention their famed pub-style pizza.
It’s the type of place where you can gather with the boys for beers or bring out your significant other for dinner on game day.
But perhaps trumping all else, this is where the Bluejackets — Kitsap’s collegiate summer league baseball team — have been known to hang out.
ALSO CHECK OUT: A low-key, high maintenance hang out at the A&C Sports Bar, 3249 Perry Ave. F; A brand new sports bar taking up residence at the former Ammiratos — MDs Sports Bar, 2901 Perry Ave and McClouds Country Bar across the parking lot from MDs.
• Our Place Pub, 9322 Silverdale Way, (360) 698-0340
Celebrating its 30th year in business this year, Our Place Pub takes the prize for the best seating area(s) in the quest for the Best Baseball Pubs in the county.
In addition to the requisite flat screens above the bar, Our Place has also got a 72-inch big screen surrounded by a plethora of tables providing plenty of room for crowds. Then in the back there’s another big screen area with pool tables instead of seating.
You’re likely to find at least a few old men to talk sports with here, if you’re into that kind of thing. But one downfall, you might have to listen to those old men screaming from the bar as Jimmy Johnson takes the lead in the latest NASCAR race.
But that’s another article altogether.
ALSO CHECK OUT: Old-style surroundings and a fairly tranquil setting at the Tracyton Public House, 4889 May St. in Tracyton; Some of the best grub — also one of the most crowded places — in town at Silver City Brewing Co., 2799 NW Myhre Road.
• The Mucky Duck, 19559 Viking Ave. (360) 779-2202
In this unpretentious bar in a business park on Viking Avenue, you’ll find one of the biggest TVs of any Baseball Pub in Kitsap — a giant overhead projector-like screen on the wall next to the front door of the Mucky Duck.
The bartendress didn’t know the size of it, but it was bigger than my 6’1” frame and wingspan. And though it wasn’t quite hi-definition picture, that screen — and the 1970’s-era pleather-backed swivel chairs — were the highlight of the Mucky Duck, and sports bars in Poulsbo.
ALSO CHECK OUT: The Cheers-like atmosphere and sports talk at the Portside Pub, 18779 Front St. #C, a rampant beer selection to go along with the game at Tizley’s, 18928 Front St. and Wi-Fi at Voodiez, 18932 Front St.
• The Filling Station, 11200 State Highway 104, (360) 297-7732
While some old-timers in Kingston say it’s a nice place to go if you want to get in a fight with the town’s young whippersnappers, the Filling Station seems like a quality place for a date night, a night out with the family, or a night out with friends.
It’s not technically a sports bar, but there are high-definition flat screens above the bar and on the adjacent wall, plus a fine selection of pub food, an upscale atmosphere and, among other things, booth seating.
ALSO CHECK OUT: A cramped but quality Drifters Sports Bar, down the road at 11265 State Highway 104 NE in Kingston or San Carlos Mexican Restaurant, 279 Madison Ave. in Bainbridge.