by Mike Virgintino
The Verizon Center is home for the NHL Capitals, NBA Wizards, WNBA Mystics, the Georgetown University Hoyas and many musical and stage shows.
The Verizon Center is a $200 million sports and entertainment center located in the heart of Washington, D.C. Since opening its doors during 1997, it has entertained more than 33 million patrons and has been the scene of more than 2,200 sporting events, concerts and family shows. The center also has helped redevelop the entire neighborhood, which showcases hotels, restaurants and shops among such historic sites as Ford’s Theater.
The arena features a variety of restaurants and concession stands:
- The Johnnie Walker Coaches Club is available for sports season ticket holders.
- The Player’s Club is a private members only establishment that includes plush decor, a full bar, pool table, a fireplace and leather stadium seating.
- The Acela Club is available exclusively for club seat/suite holders and their guests. This 400-seat tiered restaurant overlooks the arena. It also is used for private events.
- The Dewar’s 12 Clubhouse is open to the public one hour before and one hour after events for drinks, appetizers and a main course menu.
- The Green Turtle Sports Bar and Grille is the place to capture a casual drink or bite before or after a game.
Executive suites number 106 and accommodate between 18 and 24 guests. The suites offer exclusive membership and access to the Acela Club restaurant, premium catering and food service, early and late entry to events at the arena, a private seating area and flat screen televisions that grab close-up views of game replays and provide all of the sports and entertainment action.
The center’s Captain Morgan Party Pavillion can entertain up to 99 guests. It features a glass-enclosed suite for meetings or hosptialilty with a wide view of the events on the floor. It is available on an event-by-event basis.
New Tech At Verizon Center
A few years ago, a high-definition LED scoreboard was added to the Verizon Center. It has the distinction of becoming the first indoor scoreboard of its kind at more than 14 feet high and about 25 feet wide.
Hanging over the center of the arena, the combination scoreboard and video screen features live color video of the action along with replays and statistics. It also offers eye-popping animation and 3-D graphics.
Penn Quarter Attractions
Besides all the eating opportunities inside the Verizon Center, the surrounding streets of the Penn Quarter area are filled with several of DC’s top-rated places for meals and drinks before and after every event, and also every other time of the year. These include a couple of popular restaurants on 7th Street.
The District Chop House & Brewery is a half block from the Verizon Center. It features some unique brews such as an oatmeal stout, Belgian pale ale and a Russian imperial stout. Lunch is served on weekdays and dinner is available every day of the week beginning at 3 p.m. A special brunch menu is available Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tried and recommended items include crab cakes (both appetizer and entrée), grilled Portobello mushroom starter and onion rings for the table. Among the entrees, the center cut porterhouse steak and the pepper crusted New York strip steak are popular. Key lime pie is worth the indulgence.
Carmines is a legendary New York City family style Italian restaurant that also has found a home in DC. Hours are Sunday-Thursday 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. It is open one hour later on Friday and Saturday. The bar always is open one hour later than the dining room.
Lunchtime calls for a hero, pasta and take-out service. Dinner features a wide selection with a special each day of the week. Among the recommendations are Tuesday’s rack of lamb and Saturday’s prime rib chop.
For breakfast, the local greasy spoon is on 10th Street across from historic Ford’s Theater. Lincoln’s Waffle Shop is known for its waffles, eggs, French toast and tasty grits. History buffs may cringe at the name of the eatery and its location. But while sitting at the window-side counter and gazing at the theater, it is possible to travel back in time for a moment to imagine the commotion in the street back in 1865. After he was shot by John Wilkes Booth, President Abraham Lincoln was carried across that street to the Peterson House just a few doors away from the restaurant.
To attend an event at the Verizon Center and to fully enjoy the sites and bites of Penn Quarter, a stay for a night or two might be wise. Courtyard by Marriott at 900 F Street NW (between 9th and 10th streets) is centrally located, comfortable and reasonably priced. Street level houses Garden Bersch Brewery & Restaurant. It is open daily at 11 a.m. and features German lagers and ale. Popular menu items include Kobe sliders of three mini burgers, lobster and shrimp mac ‘N cheese along with a variety of sandwiches that include pulled pork.
Other hotels also can be found nearby. While rates are high during the week and at special times of the year, one-night and two-night weekend packages are economical for tourists. Besides the Verizon Center and the quality eateries and watering holes, Penn Quarter hotels are within short or long walking distances of the Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial, World War II Memorial, the White House and many of the museums that comprise the Smithsonian Institution.
- AAA New York
- Destination DC