A Great Seen

January 11, 2011

Champions and McGreevy’s offer first-class viewing experiences for Patriots fans

By Cary Shuman

New England Patriot fans are bracing for what should be an exciting month of NFL playoff football.

And Patriot Nation has some great choices where to watch Tom Brady and Company on the road to the Super Bowl.

Two excellent choices for sports fans in the Back Bay are Champions at Boston Marriott Copley Place and McGreevy’s Sports Bar and Pub on Boylston Street.

Champions is truly a champion itself when it comes to sports bars in Boston. With the largest HD projection screen in Boston (at 12 X 24 feet), 36 flat panel televisions, two projector screens in private dining areas, and technologically advanced sound system, it’s the ultimate viewing experience for a football fan.

Samir Dhir, restaurant manager at Champions, expects the sports bar to be filled with Patriots fans (and some Jets fans) when the two teams clash in the playoffs Sunday afternoon.

The immense popularity of the Patriots has made Champions a place to be and be seen on game days. Dhir, who is a huge soccer fan but has become a full-fledged member of Patriot Nation through his wife Wakana, said Champions also drew fans in droves for last summer’s World Cup.

“There were lines to get in for World Cup games,” said Dhir, a lifelong soccer fan who was born in India and grew up in England. “I became a big football fan myself after I got married, because my wife is a big-time Red Sox and Patriots fan.”

But football will be first and foremost on the minds of  visitors to Champions, drawing a crowd that will consist of Boston residents and guests who stay at the hotel.

“It’s a great atmosphere – and all of our televisions will be tuned to the Patriots’ game,” said Dhir. “Every section of the restaurant is individually controlled with sound and televisions. It’s great to be here during the games. We might have a special room – which we call the Bullpen – for Jets fans on Sunday. But of course, this is Patriot Nation.”

Fans are welcomed to stay for the entire game and partake of Champions’ new and diverse menu.

“We just launched our new menu a month ago and we’re very excited about it,” said Dhir. “There are a lot of new dishes on the menu. You can do the shrimp baja wrap. We have the pork carnitas and that’s a great choice. Our turkey Ruben sandwich has become really, really popular. Our featured item is the Champions Sampler Tower which is a great appetizer for a group of four. It has a selection of five different menu items and the presentation is excellent. And of course, we have great burgers that can be customized for whatever the people want.”

Tom Plant, a resident of Boston who works in the health field, spends NFL Sundays at Champions and he’ll be at his customary spot for the Pats-Jets game.

“I come here to watch all sports,” said Plant. “Champions has a great atmosphere for sports viewing. They have the big screen that you can’t find in Boston and they have a friendly crowd here. And the food is fantastic – the burgers, the chicken wings, the quesadillas – I love it all and they have a great staff. They’re all friendly, they’re very attentive and they make you feel very comfortable.”

McGreevey’s at 911 Boylston Street is proud of its heritage and moniker as “America’s first sports bar,” according to Joshua Lach, manager at McGreeveys.

The historic sport bar is gearing up for another festive and enthusiastic crowd of Patriots rooters this Sunday. The better the team does, the larger the patronage at the popular Irish-themed bar.

“It should be pretty intense – there will be a lot of faithful Patriots fans, people rooting on their hometown team,” said Lach. “Hopefully we can beat the Jets.”

McGreevys moved to Boylston Street three years ago when Ken Casey, leader of the Dropkick Murphys, and Boston business owners decided to open at the new location.

“I would say we’re the most unique sports bar in America because of our heritage, the atmosphere, and the tie-in with the Dropkick Murphys,” said Lach.

There are plenty of delicious food choices for diners at McGreeveys. There is the famous Beckett Burger, a spectacular, one pound, nine-ounce hamburger that is sold to benefit the Josh Beckett Foundation. You receive a T-shirt whether you finish the mammoth sandwich or not.

There are also other burgers, grilled chicken and pulled pork sandwiches, bangers and mash (sausage and mashed potatoes), Shepherd’s pie (ground beef with mashed potatoes), macaroni and cheese, and fish and chips.

While McGreevys is more widely known as the ultimate destination for Red Sox fans and its Dropkick Murphys connection, you can bet that Patriots fans will be journeying to Boylston Street for a supremely enjoyable game-day viewing experience.

And hopefully they’ll be celebrating another Patriots’ victory.

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