Watching the Olympics 2008

Every two years, the Olympic Games give us a legitimate reason to be arrogant patriots. Screw diplomacy-we want hot wings, gold medals and a round of "USA! USA!"

RECOMMENDED: London 2012 Olympic Games guide

Date: July 18, 2008 5:27:03 PM EDT
Subject: Olympics

Where can I watch the Beijing Olympics in the city?

Kimberly N., Upper East Side

The Olympics are…a celebration of international sports excellence.

For soccer

First, call it football. Then check out the Parlour (250 W 86th St between Broadway and West End Ave, 212-580-8923), where you can watch the hotly anticipated Netherlands-USA match Sun 10. The Parlour gets its games via satellite, so if you have your heart set on the Brazil-China slugfest that’s also happening that day, this is the place to see events that won’t be aired on NBC.

For table tennis

Certain Olympic sports, like table tennis, make you think, Hey, I could do that. News flash: You can’t. See for yourself when the dominant Chinese fire the ball at 70mph starting Wed 13. You can play along at the Ping-Pong tables at Brownstone Billiards, a 20,000-square-foot emporium with dozens of huge flat-screen TVs. Happy hour ($4 Blue Moon pints and $10 pitchers) runs 3–8pm and whenever the U.S. is playing.

For basketball

Roundball junkies can see all-stars out to avenge USA’s 2004 bronze-medal disappointment or the WNBA’s Lisa Leslie competing in her fourth Olympic Games (Sat 9–Aug 24). The Brother Jimmy’s UES outpost will be tuned in to LeBron James, Jason Kidd and Carlos Boozer taking on NBA teammates like China’s Yao Ming. America’s men’s team is led by Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski, so expect the bar’s ACC crowd to greet his leadership with either reverence (Duke fans) or bitter criticism (everyone else). It’s as all-American as it gets—you think they have “Rib Tips and Hot Wings Nite” in Mother Russia?

For every other event

Normally we’d leave ESPN Zone and its reclining loungers to the tourists, but this is a special occasion, and the Times Square behemoth has more TVs under one roof than J&R. The Zone hopes to sponsor watch parties for the home teams of local Olympians, and their 14-foot projection screens will show the opening ceremonies in near life size. The restaurant’s upper level even has dozens of arcade games to distract you during synchronized swimming.

The Olympics are…a biennial excuse for nationalistic partying.

For scantily clad servers and swimmers

Athletic prowess is great and all, but keeping tabs on the eye candy between medal ceremonies is half the fun. A like-minded crowd will be watching swimming—hello, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin—along with beach volleyball, track and field, diving and basketball at Gym Sports Bar (167 Eighth Ave, between 18th and 19th Sts, 212-337-2439). The bar has long sponsored local athletic leagues, and the watch party for the swimming events on Aug 14 will feature roving servers selling Jell-O shots while clad in Speedos (or less). Be sure to get there before 9pm for the two-for-one happy hour.

For cute accents

The name of the Australian (20 W 38th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 212-869-8601) says it all: This is where to watch if you’re still sore that the Thorpedo retired. The midtown hangout will host a huge opening-ceremony party on Fri 8, complete with a custom cocktail called the Ozmo, discounts on Down Under booze and a costume contest. Shots of Goldschläger are on the house whenever Aussies win gold over Americans.

For a taste of beery glory

The Village Pourhouse has 74 beers of varying origin on offer, with planned specials to coincide with the teams playing: Look for a dollar off Sinebrychoff when the Finnish race-walkers are striding toward the finish line. Pourhouse will also sponsor its own drinking-games competition—a tournament of beer pong, flip cup and quarters—so every sodden lush can feel like a champion.

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