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NIGHT SHIFT : Fall Football Kicks Off Super Mondays at Bars

September 16, 1993|FRANK MESSINA | Frank Messina is a free-lance writer who contributes regularly to The Times Orange County Edition.

It's back, that annual tribal gathering ritual known as Monday Night Football. And there are two basic ways to go for that bone-crunching Monday night entertainment: atmosphere, or atmosphere with inexpensive food and drink.

Oddly enough, most sports bars aren't particularly generous with cheap victuals. In fact, many are downright stingy. (As one bartender put it, "We pack them in without having to put out any specials, so why do it?")

But throughout Orange County, for the next four months, some taverns and saloons will be enticing fans of the pigskin ovoidal with food and drink deals on a night that the rest of the year is usually a financial fumble.

Sports bars are about paraphernalia and big screens. Go there if a bad look at a big screen in a bar packed with snarling, cheering, boisterous crowds sounds like fun. To get all that sideshow entertainment plus free food, look no further than the Charley Brown's at 16160 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 842-6602.

For Monday Night Munchies, the restaurant puts out free hot dogs, burgers and soft tacos. Wash down this feast with cheap suds and mixed drinks. A hefty schooner of beer or a double margarita runs $3.50.

The occasional sports celebrity, such as XTRA radio talk show host Jim Rome, will make an appearance, and Charley Brown's also gives away prizes such as T-shirts. Regular Monday night addicts can qualify for a Las Vegas road trip drawing during the Super Bowl.

Those hankering for a cross-cultural football experience can try Tia Juana's Longbar, 14988 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, (714) 551-2998. Beer might be the libation of choice for the average football fan, but Tia Juana's serves a fine margarita. Believe it: A juicy, quarter pound hot dog ($1.50) and a frosty, tart maggie work just as well in front of a big screen.

Tia Juana's lays out a free spread of popcorn, fruits, vegetables and offers an appetizer special every week such as $2.95 buffalo wings. It wouldn't hurt to order one of their Mexican specialties, either; the place serves good food.

T-shirts and hats are given away at halftime, with the year-end grand prize being free tickets to the Freedom Bowl at Anaheim Stadium and a limousine ride to the game.

The Monday night staples of many bars seem to be hot dogs and chili, and that includes the Loose Moose Saloon, 8901 Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 826-2040. Its customers and employees brag about its homemade chili and chili con queso. The weiners are also free, and a 12-ounce draft costs a buck ((714) 826-2040).

A well-known Cal State Fullerton sports watering hole also offers free hot dogs and chili, along with 14-ounce drafts of Coors and Coors Lite for $1. The name of the place is Brian's, at 1944 Placentia Ave., Fullerton. (714) 993-1401.

Other deals include:

Coach's Sports Grill, 1025 Pacific Coast Highway, Seal Beach. (310) 431-5266. Something more than the usual hot dog and beer deal, Coach's offers meals at special prices for its Monday night football crowd. A homemade lasagna dinner costs $3.95 and a hot sausage sandwich with fries for $2.95 are among the deals. Their 12-ounce draft beer is $1 and a 20-ounce draft is $1.75.

Bilbo Baggins, 2701 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa. (714) 545-1718. 99-cent cheeseburgers, fries and draft beer.

The Huddle, 741 W. Baker St., Costa Mesa. (714) 540-0965. Free hot dogs and hors d'oeuvres. No drink specials.

Mugs Away, 27324 Camino Capistrano, No. 101, Laguna Niguel. (714) 582-9716. They serve a $5 barbecue steak sandwich and 16-ounce draft for $1.50.

Froggies Bar & Grill, 1189 E. Ash, Fullerton. (714) 992-6621. 25-cent hot dogs, free popcorn, chips and other munchies. A 20-ounce draft of Budweiser or Bud Lite costs $1.50, and you can keep the plastic NFL mug it's served in.

El Torito, 24301 Avenida de Carlota, Laguna Hills. (714) 951-9137. Hot dogs are 50 cents, steak tacos 99 cents and chicken tacos 75 cents. Pitchers of beer run $3.95, and 16-ounce drafts cost $1.25.

Red Onion, 101 E. Sand Pointe Ave., Santa Ana. (714) 556-7701. This restaurant calls its weekly football celebration Massive Monday and backs it up by charging 25 cents for tacos, corn dogs and hamburgers. A 20-ounce draft is $1.50.

Tijuana Willie's, 27567 Puerta Real, Mission Viejo. (714) 582-8775. Another free dogs, cheap brews concept. No charge for the red hots and a 12-ounce draft is only 75 cents. Pitchers are $4.

Ragamuffin's, 1527 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente. (714) 492-3255. Chili dogs for a mere quarter. A 12-ounce draft is $1.25 and a 20-ounce draft is $2.

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