Restaurant News & Reviews

Where to eat, drink and watch football in SLO County

The Boardroom's chopped barbecue chicken salad features mixed greens, grilled chicken, tomatoes, corn and cheddar cheese, tossed in barbecue-ranch dressing.
The Boardroom's chopped barbecue chicken salad features mixed greens, grilled chicken, tomatoes, corn and cheddar cheese, tossed in barbecue-ranch dressing. The Tribune

What do the The Boardroom, Cattleman’s Lounge and Monterey Street Wines have in common? Would you put odds on fun places to watch football?

The Boardroom

If you think a place called The Boardroom requires a suit and tie, think again. This self-described “surf pub” in Pismo Beach definitely embodies a mellow vibe.

Just steps from the beach on Hinds Avenue, The Boardroom opened in 2009, originally as a wine bar.

Though owners Steve Norwood and Bob Kuntz still offer several local wines by the glass, they have been steering it more toward “a surf bar and sports bar” since taking over in May 2010.

To take advantage of their NFL Sunday Ticket subscription, they added a big flat-screen to the two existing televisions and have plans to put up a couple more. For game-time refreshments, The Boardroom’s six taps include premium drafts such as Stone IPA and Firestone Double Barrel, and there are almost 60 domestic and imported bottled beers available.

The pub fare includes flatbread pizzas, salads, burgers and sandwiches, but Norwood and Kuntz have opted not to have a fryer in their tiny kitchen.

Chicken wings are baked in the convection oven instead of being deep-fried, and instead of a side of fries you have your choice of green salad, potato salad or soup.

Standouts on The Boardroom’s food roster include a BBQ chicken flatbread topped with Parmesan and cilantro, a warm goat cheese and pesto salad with apples, and a roast beef and blue cheese panini with caramelized onions.

Other favorites include the recently added burgers, such as the quarter-pound Angus Boardroom, the spicy chicken with chipotle spread, or the veggie Tree Hugger on a whole-wheat bun.

The Cattleman’s Lounge

The Cattleman’s Lounge is one of several common areas that have been recently remodeled at the Paso Robles Inn, but “we definitely didn’t want to take away the cowboy feel,” said chef Karrie Hills.

The revamp considerably brightened the feel of the upstairs bar, which sports four flat-screen televisions and a large screen that’s pulled down on game days. (Cattleman’s also has NFL Sunday Ticket.)

The full bar features specialty drinks and three taps, and the upscale lounge menu offers everything from pancetta-wrapped quail, to fish tacos with housemade salsa verde, to a butter lettuce salad with blue cheese and hazelnut vinaigrette.

You can also build your own burger from an extensive list of options, or order off the inn’s full restaurant menu. That opens up the playing field to items such as a trio of lamb sliders with cucumber raita, housemade mushroom ravioli, or a steakhouse Cobb salad with grilled-to-order flat-iron steak.

Monterey Street Wines

Though it’s closed on Sundays, Monterey Street Wines in San Luis Obispo offers a unique playbook for watching Monday Night Football.

“We’re not a sports bar and never will be,” admitted bar manager Greg Rose, “but we offer a relaxing, comfortable space to watch the game.”

Indeed, “watch” is the operative word because the sound on the television is turned down in favor of music. However, with a glass of premium wine and a nice plate of toasted bruschetta with melted Gruyere cheese or tapenade in front of you, it’s very easy to get used to this approach.

Also, check out the game night food specials such as chicken wings and potato salad.

Owner Patrick Faverty has expanded the seating since he bought Monterey Street Wines in the summer of 2009, and winewise is focusing on “primarily Central Coast wines and ‘undiscovered gems.’ ”

Tasting flights are an option, plus Firestone on tap, several other bottled beers, and cheese plates.

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