It's the eve of the biggest day on the gridiron calendar, Super Bowl XXII Sunday. And because the games dwindled to a precious few the last couple of weeks, most pigskin aficionados are more than ready for the annual ritual: Visions of chili dogs, potato chips and beer have invaded their waking hours; it's cheer and boo time; crazy time.
The Super Bowl ritual, of course, is more fun when practiced in the company of like-minded football fanatics. But a vast majority of us won't be able to get to San Diego to make our supplications to the great pigskin extravaganza. And so, all over the country, guests will be invited in, and families will crowd around the TV set at home--coffee, sodas, beer and chips all within easy reach.
A Measly 26-Inch Screen
But for some, it isn't that easy. Witnessing the Super Bowl is an act of faith requiring more than a measly 20- or 26-inch TV screen. They want BIG. The bigger, the better. Not only that, for many, the Super Bowl just isn't right unless the entire business is celebrated with a mob of worshipers, each carrying on as loudly as the next; what's a game without debates about point spread, defense and injuries? Atmosphere--that's the ticket.
So, where do you go if you want to get out with the crowd--if you absolutely must have a big screen and a press of noisy armchair coaches around you?
If you haven't already made plans to be at a favorite neighborhood hangout, fear not, big-screen fans. Here are some places that are offering the big picture and would love to have you join in:
Orville & Wilbur's: 401 Rosecrans Ave., Manhattan Beach, is holding a Super Bowl XXII party, replete with a buffet table, $1.75 margaritas and beers, and a big-screen TV plus four monitors. The festivities begin at 2 p.m. Telephone (213) 545-6639.
Pancho's: 3615 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach, at the corner of Highland and Rosecrans avenues, has one big screen and three smaller monitors. Nothing special planned, but the crowd is guaranteed. Telephone (213) 545-6670.
C.J. Brett's: 2701 Pacific Coast Highway, Hermosa Beach, has two big screens and nine small--so there's simply nowhere you can sit and miss the game. Just for the occasion, there will be a special concessions stand offering "ballpark food." Telephone (213) 318-2545.
Zendejas: 665 W. Arrow Highway, San Dimas Station Mall, San Dimas. That's right, Houston place kicker Tony Zendejas and family own the bar, so you know they've got something going. The Super Bowl crowd is invited from noon to 5 p.m. Besides the big screen and four monitors around the restaurant and bar, they will be offering a Super Bowl buffet--all you can eat for $6.95. Telephone (714) 592-6762.
Sports Deli: 2040 Avenue of the Stars (inside the ABC Entertainment Center), Century City. Here is a Super Bowl watcher's dream. Think of it: two giant screens and 10 televisions placed strategically around the restaurant. Though there's no special menu planned for this year's game, you can bet there will be plenty of people in attendance, and the usual deli fare will be offered. Telephone (213) 553-5800.
Geraldine's, 11344 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood. Super Bowl Weekend features free food and Super Bowl T-shirts for sale. There are 12 26-inch TVs around the room. The fun starts at 10 a.m. Telephone (213) 755-6768.
Village Saloon: 4201 Olive St., Burbank (across from the Burbank Studios). On the agenda is a Super Bowl buffet--free to all comers. After the game, seen on three big screens, there will be live entertainment and dancing. Telephone (818) 846-2342.
Tudor House: 800 Arrowhead Villas Road, Lake Arrowhead. There's a complimentary buffet for all and sundry, and, though there's no big screen, all five TV sets will be turned on--and there isn't a bad seat in the house. So, if you're in the mountains and want company for the game, the doors open at 11:30 a.m. Telephone (714) 337-4711.
Charlie Brown's: corner of Katella Avenue and State College Boulevard, Anaheim. This is the place if you want to attend the 5th annual KOST-FM-sponsored Super Bowl Party. There are five TVs around the room. The craziness starts at 2 p.m., with free food and free soft drinks for the first 100 people to show. Telephone (714) 634-2211.
Chad's Place: 40740 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Village. Chad's will be cranked up for the big event with its 12-foot giant screen and two TVs. A special snack menu is being concocted. Telephone (714) 866-2161.
R. J.'s: 252 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills. The wide-screen TV in the lounge area will be tuned to the game, and fans of both teams will be glued to the set. Telephone (213) 274-3474.
Merlin McFly's, 2702 Main St. (on the corner of Hill), Santa Monica. The big draw here is 75-cent draft beer, starting at 3 p.m. With one big screen and two regular screens, this popular pub should be packed. Telephone (213) 392-8468.
Malibu Inn, 22969 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. This is the site of Super Weekend '88, sponsored by Bud Lite. It's a laid-back, peanut-barrel bar, just across from the pier. And, with four televisions around the room and specials on the beer, they expect to have "wall-to-wall people." Telephone (213) 456-6060.
Although Super Bowl Sunday is often so popular that neighborhood bars are closed to all but their "regulars," there are many other possibilities for perfect viewing. The Super Fan has all day today to scout out the perfect spot. If all else fails, you can stage your own neighborhood party.