When a network change brought the ratings-deficient Monday Night Football to ESPN last year, many speculated that it was the end of an era. But ESPN’s actually done a great job – even if it did transfer Hank Williams III along in the move. Under the national spotlight, MNF maintains such a heightened level of intensity that each game feel like second-round playoff nail-biter.

Finding the perfect environment to hunker down and ride those four magical quarters out is tantamount to a good game. Consider, for a moment, the Breezeway Bar at Gulfstream Park (901 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale). The track-side bar has all the major components of a stellar gridiron-watching experience: (1) 16 plasma televisions broadcasting in exacting HD, so you can see each blade of grass upturn when your favorite receiver drags his feet inbounds on a sideline catch. (2) Cheap libations, like $2 Wells, domestic drafts, and 3 Olives Vodka mixtures, not to mention buckets of “you-pick-΄em” 16 oz beers for just $15 (add a dozen spicy wings to that for just $3). (3) Entertainment during half-time and commercials, in this case provided by former Miami Dolphin wide receiver and 560 WQAM personality O.J. McDuffie and his Penn State teammate Ki-Jana Carter. The pair will offer commentary, host raffle and hoops contests, and generally hang out with the fans throughout the entire MNF season at Gulfstream. Kick off the festivities this week when Dallas visits Buffalo at 8:30 p.m. Call 954-454-7000.
Mondays. Starts: Oct. 8. Continues through Dec. 17, 2007

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John Linn