Game On

The stats are in T.J. Stone's favor

NFL lockout aside, late summer means an inevitable, beltway-wide craving for Redskins updates, tailgating-style food and good beer.

It may be a while before the season commences, but T.J. Stone's can satisfy the other cravings.

Restaurateur Steve Mann, proprietor of neighboring–and timelessly entertaining–watering holes Shooter McGee's and Ramparts, aims higher with a flashy sports paradise of flat-screen TVs and surround sound that is still food-friendly.

The bar does well with refreshment, doling out 180 bottled beers, many of which are microbrews. There are also 14 worldly drafts, including the crisp, wood-fired Schlenkerla Oak Smoke ($8) and a rotating firkin–or cask-conditioned–selection.

Fried bacon with melon ($9) produces towers of thick pork belly and summer's sweet watermelon crowned with the snap of sliced onions. The chicken box ($6) pairs a kid's dream meal of buttermilk-soaked chicken tenders with giant, smoked-Gouda-laced, fried potato puffs.

Beef brisket ($14) calls up tender strips of slow-cooked meat smothered in tangy, tomato-based sauce. It's even better when partnered with a forkful of the creamy, delightfully peppery house-made slaw.

Still miss the stadium? Stone's full-size popcorn machine belches out hot buttered kernels throughout happy hour.

T.J. Stone's, 608 Montgomery St., Alexandria; 703-548-1004 or tjstones.com