Somewhere off Route 4 in south Sanford resides a large, bunker-like building that houses a tae kwon do school, a music studio and a sports bar.

The other night I found myself at the latter, enjoying a beer, nachos and the down-home feel that only an old-school sports bar can provide.

Spectators Sports Bar is gritty — and people like it that way. Sure, there’s leftover spackle on the walls, crockpots of home-cooked (award-winning, seriously) chili on the bar and a door that’ll close on your foot if you’re not quick enough getting through the entrance.

But you’re not here to critique the decor. You’re here to play some darts, have a beer and meet up with friends to shoot the breeze after a long day of work.

And while you’re here, you might have a huge pretzel at the bar or some potato skins — or if you’re feeling fresh, order one of the multiple salads offered on the classic, pub-style menu. The menu hits a price point where you’d be hard-pressed not to keep sampling the tasty bar treats.

Spectators has a solid variety of entertainment offerings throughout the week. There’s live comedy nights on Saturdays, live blues on Fridays, open-mic nights on Wednesdays, dart league on Tuesdays, eight-ball pool league on Mondays, nine-ball pool league on Thursdays, and NFL football (when in season, and not striking) on Sundays. And, of course, there’s karaoke.

At the bar, you’ll find seven beers on tap, including brews from both near and far (from Gritty’s to Guinness), and more than 50 varieties of bottled beer. If beer isn’t your bag, the full bar will keep you covered. Add to that 13 TVs (none of them flat-screen, which I think is pretty gosh-darn awesome), pingpong, darts, pool, video games and a summertime deck.

If you’re looking for a chic cocktail, slick service and manicured ambience, Spectators is not for you.

But if you’re looking to play darts, chow down on all-you-can-eat popcorn (provided by the classic machine), get down to some serious karaoke and watch a life-sized game that’s projected on the wall behind the bar tables, Spectators is just what the doctor ordered. 

Johanna Sorrell is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.