Food, beverages, freebies — oh, and football: Party atmosphere a Monday night tradition |

Food, beverages, freebies — oh, and football: Party atmosphere a Monday night tradition

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

It’s more than a football game on Monday nights. It’s about matching rivalries on national television, pyrotechnics and listening to John Madden’s philosophy on turf when it gets stuck on a face mask.

On the South Shore, the game of bringing customers into bars is also getting bigger. Competitors lower the price of drinks, offer food specials and make offseason transactions involving bigger televisions.

Many bars are keeping their old game plan of discounted drinks and food. Others go the extra step each year to reach the goal of best bar for Monday Night Football.

Wanting to get drunken drivers off the road, the Rockwater Bar and Grill hired a 20-person shuttle to drive people to and from the bar at 787 Emerald Bay Road.

The shuttle will pick up people at their residence then begin dropping patrons off 30 minutes after the game. Those who ride the shuttle will get a ticket for the buffet. People who don’t use the shuttle must have a minimum of two drinks to receive a buffet ticket.

The Rockwater raffles off prizes during halftime and at the game’s end. There are three televisions on the patio — warmed by nine heaters — and five televisions inside.

The shuttle is not available for people going to the Tudor Pub, but the bar has a similar buffet and raffle.

For shuttle reservations call the Rockwater or (530) 544-9186.

A few blocks away at 2236 Lake Tahoe Blvd. sits Steamers Bar and Grill. The restaurant seems to be be under the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy when it comes to MNF. Monday is the restaurant’s $2 taco night and happy hour is extended through the game. Beverage specials include $1 pitchers and 50 cents off other drinks.

Steamers does have a relatively new 45-inch, flat-screen television which joins 10 other televisions downstairs. Upstairs there are two televisions and the older big screen which faces the window for people sitting outside.

Asked why people should go to Steamers, employee Missy Young said, “Tacos, I would say, and the good prices.”

With three televisions, many might bypass Rojo’s for football watching. But the barbecue joint is elbowing its way into the competition. Well shots go for $1 and Budweisers and its light versions are $2. Those who are hungry can purchase a $2 “slider,” a miniature hamburger with grilled onions and potato chips.

“Slide into the end zone with Rojo’s sliders,” said a smiling Lauren Berhardt from behind the bar.

Like siblings separating a room with a bed sheet or masking tape, the Schooner’s Sports Bar is located snugly inside Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery at 3601 Lake Tahoe Blvd. The bar boasts 10 televisions, darts, half-priced appetizers and beer specials.

This year every drink purchase will give a patron a raffle ticket for prizes, including a mountain bike or snowboard. Servers will be wearing referee uniforms.

“We have the best (televisions), the best giveaways and the best-looking referees around,” Loren Garrigan said.

Across the street from Schooner’s might be the largest television in South Lake Tahoe. Mulligans Irish Pub and Restaurant has an 10-foot by 8-foot-high definition television. Food and drink specials are plentiful at the pub, as well as giveaways.

Stateline has several casinos and bars at which to watch the games, but Sam’s Place down Highway 50 in Zephyr Cove has reduced the amount of televisions to make space for other activities.

Manager Scott O’Neill said the five televisions inside the bar and restaurant has a MNF crowd enjoying drink and food specials — including two-for-one appetizers — and plenty of activities for children and the non-football fan.

Football squares, which go for a dollar, are based on the score. Prizes are awarded to the winner at the end of every quarter.

“I think there are a lot of hooks to get people in here, but the distance gets a lot of people,” O’Neill said.

— E-mail William Ferchland at

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