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Remember Walters Sports Bar? The Park View watering hole named after Washington Senators’ pitcher Walter Perry Johnson closed on the last day of 2017. Now owner Jeremy Gifford is reviving the concept across town in Navy Yard. He hopes to open by baseball season’s opening day, which is scheduled for March 28.
It’s going into the first floor of the building that also houses Mission at 1221 Van St. SE. JBG Smith, the developer who owns the building, sought a sports bar for the space facing N and South Capitol Streets SE. “They told me they wanted someone who was local and who lived and breathed local sports and had a passion for it as opposed to a Buffalo Wild Wings,” Gifford says.
The Walters revival will be much larger than the original at 6,000-square-feet with plenty of televisions to watch games. Gifford says they’ll serve a full menu of American fare with a focus on burgers.
Beer lovers who hate waiting for a pint to arrive when a sports bar is slammed on game day will dig the 24-tap, self-pour system. Customers can pay by the ounce. “It’s not a wall you walk up to with no one there to assist you,” Gifford says. “My hope is to have some cicerone certified person who can talk to you about why you don’t just need to drink Bud Light, though we’ll have it.”
He’s headed to Chicago Monday morning to scout three different bars with the high-tech, self-pour systems to pick the brains of bar owners to learn “what doesn’t work and what does.”
One of the neighborhood’s first sports bars, Justin’s Cafe, closed this fall creating a void that Gifford hopes to fill. Especially in a neighborhood that’s within striking distance of Nationals Park and Audi Field. “We’re trying to be the neighborhood bar of Navy Yard,” Gifford says.
News of an incoming sports bar is a welcome change in a year that saw so many close including 10 Tavern from Phillips Seafood in Chinatown, The Prospect on U Street NW, and Parlay Sports Bar & Lounge in Dupont.
Walters Sports Bar, 1221 Van St. SE