Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Brew Lounge 'Topic of the Week': Televisions in Bars

I don't have a long diatribe to pursue on this topic. The topic is televisions in bars. Basically, my opinion is that televisions have a place in sports bars, but that's it. I really think the idea of a TV (esp. anything larger than a 13" screen) in the bar is counterintuitive to the role that bars are meant to fulfill. That is, as a social gathering space where people can communicate and socialize with each other. A television usually serves as a distraction and discourages conversation. I can think of only one time when I was happy for television in a bar. It was at Garrett's in Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. when O.J. Simpson was on the run with his buddy Al Cowlings. But, the car chase had nothing to do with murder, right?! Once again, I digress... But, that was a night when a major news event (I use the term 'major' very loosely here) was out there and provided plenty of conversation for the people at Garrett's. {Flashback} Hhhmmm, Garrett's...where you could always find a Foggy Bottom brew, one of my original microbrew loves...Foggy Bottom, R.I.P. What do you think? Do you like TVs in bars? Or is this a trivial debate?


Adam said...

I guess I don't mind one or two TVs, but, sometimes you can't even find an area in the place that doesn't have a TV. And now huge flat panels are everywhere too!

There are several times when I have started a conversation with somebody and they just drift off as they see something on the TV behind me.

At this point I would settle for a NON-TV area.

How many TVs does the Boathouse have Bryan? 50? Seriously...that place has more TVs than circuit city.

Bryan Kolesar said...

No smoking, no TV, great beer, great food....dare we dream?!

Anonymous said...

Here in Washington we've done away with the smoking but the TVs are relatively ubiquitous. For the duration of the World Cup this is appreciated but one of my favorite pubs leaves the controls to patrons. This means lots of Friends or CourtTV "whodunnit specials".

Which is why this is the best product known to man:

Bryan Kolesar said...

Ah, yes, I've seen this somewhere before. This would be fun to try!

Anonymous said...

I see your point to some extent -- I always go to great lengths to keep the TV off during parties at my house, but as a sports fan (which I assume you are not based on this thread), I can tell you that I do often go to non-sports bars to specifically watch a game, and thus the conversation usually revolves around that game (so the TV being there actually encourages conversation and fun with friends). There are plenty of bars that cross this line from sports bar and back pretty regularly, so if you drew a hard line this would cause some problems.

Interestingly, I find a similar problem with some bar games -- pool, shuffleboard, beer pong, etc. These games are fun, but they are also anti-social to some extent -- If you are with 6 people and 4 of them go to play a game of pool, that kind of ruins the group dynamic, no? Talk about serving as a distraction and discouraging conversation...

Bryan Kolesar said...

Ah, quite to the contrary... a huge sports fan. Just trying to put the two in their place if at all possible.

But, you got me to thinking about another angle. And that's the TV during holiday dinners, parties, etc. There's nothing that drives me crazier than going to a holiday meal or party and the TV is on. And, I mean, it's not like there's a specific event or holiday show on TV, it's just on. Completely inappropriate, especially when it's left on during the meal. Ok, I'll stop now :)

Adam said...


I'm not a huge sports fan. Bryan would back me up on that ;-)

I certainly don't mind a couple TVs. I guess I'm just tired of them following me around! I feel like I'm watching that commercial where there's a TV in every nook and cranny.

I see what you mean about the gamees too. That usually doesn't come up for me...but, interesting none the less. Hmmmm...

All I know is that it seems like every freakin' place I go there's a TV. I want some downtime. I don't want to compete with a GoDaddy commercial. I just want to have the option of going someplace for a beer without feeling like the people I'm with are hypnotized by the moving pictures up on the big screen plasma TV behind me, beside me, under me...yes under me.

The three closest beer places all have too many TVs. The Flying Pig might have the least (almost acceptable). Mckenzies has like 10 plasmas in their main bar area. The Boat House has a bazillion. That's right a bazillion!

TVBgone sounds like a great equalizer! heheh