The Dish: Rustico burger

The Location: Rustico, 827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, (703) 224-5051

The Price: $10 for lunch, $12 for dinner; includes a side of house-cut fries

The Skinny: Remember this: Watching important games alone at home is for social misfits. Watching important games with a room full of drunk strangers is a potential bonding experience with people you can impress with your old high-school-jock anecdotes. With only a few days left before the start of the World Cup and the NBA Finals, people are fretting about where they will watch the games. It’s a big decision, and I’d like to steer you to a relative newcomer: Rustico, a hip watering hole and restaurant in Alexandria.

Rustico’s bar is spacious and friendly. But more important than that, it has deep cushiony stools to pad your pampered butt while spending hours staring at one of the four flat-screen TVs above the well-stocked bar. Even if you’re forced to stand during the length of the game, Rustico can at least make the time pass quickly, with one of its nearly 300 beers (in bottles and on draft) or with its imaginative take on pub grub. For ease of handling—a factor worth considering in overcrowded surroundings—I suggest the Rustico burger, a generous patty of grilled ground beef topped with Chimay cheese and small curved slivers of fried onions. Sandwiched between a grilled sesame-seed bun, the well-seasoned burger is salty, creamy, rich, and meaty—and easy to eat. The hamburger comes with a side of seasoned house-cut fries, skins intact, and a small crock of smoked-ancho-pepper ketchup for dipping.