Dark Horse Tap & Grill

On an ordinary day, the Dark Horse Tavern has the shabby, homey appeal of any neighborhood pub. I'd been in once before, on a sweltering summer evening, and enjoyed a beer in the cool darkness of the bar's seating area.But the most recent day I stopped in...was no ordinary day. For me, anyway: No one had warned me the Dark Horse is a Steelers bar. (To put it mildly.) I stumbled in from the cold and was assaulted with twinkling Christmas lights and belligerently drunk Pittsburgh supporters. My three friends, who are Cowboys fans, were huddled at a table in the middle of a war zone, nursing their drinks. One of which was a $3 Smithwick's. Which seems like a pretty amazing deal. Being a neutral party -- as someone who grew up a Chiefs fan by proximity, you can be nothing but neutral about football, as far as I'm concerned -- I was positively gleeful at the atmosphere. With every play, the volume and excitement in the room drew closer to a fever pitch, despite the fact that both teams were still scoreless at the half. Their leader, a stout man who commanded everyone's attention with his screams of "DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!" was probably the best part of the day. Unless you count the Guinness-battered chicken fingers. A little greasy, but wow. A heaping platter of glorious, meeeeeeeaty chicken strips with all the ketchup, honey mustard and barbecue sauce (variety is the spice of life, duh) I could handle? Plus six inconsequential sticks of carrots and celery to offset my grease guilt? For seven dollars? I'm on board. My Bloody Mary left a little to be desired (read: flavor), but nothing really stands up to the best, cheapest Bloody Mary ever (Kansas shout-out!). Dark Horse could've at least given me enough vodka to get a buzz. Other highlights of the afternoon included aging frat boys dancing to "My Lollipop," a heinously fake-baked girl running out in her jersey to save her Nissan from being towed and all the other joys of hanging out on the fringe of Wrigleyville. I'm not much of a football enthusiast, but the madness of this place on a Sunday afternoon is almost enough to turn me into a fan.