America's Best Sports Bars
October 16, 2012
1. Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar (Louisiana)
Walk-On’s is the passion project of two Louisiana State alumni, Jack Warner and Brandon Landry, which may explain why the Louisiana state chain is such a favorite among locals. The bar most recently beat out others national sports bars in ESPN’s mobile contest, and continues to draw in sports-hungry fans with traditional Southern bites like Louisiana alligator, catfish, crawfish, and jumbo Gulf shrimp. (Be sure to check out the Final Four challenge, too — complete a 2-foot sandwich of shrimp, crawfish, and catfish served with cheese fries, a cookie skillet sundae, and a 32-ounce Coke in less than 30 minutes and the meal is free.) The beer menu is your traditional Miller Lite, Coors Light, and Budweiser taps, but you won’t even notice you're not sipping a craft beer when watching the game.
Number of TVs: 100 +
Number of Beers: 10 +
Best Dish on the Menu: Tie between Cajundillas (made with chicken Andouille sausage, boudin, and caramelized onions), and the Crawfish Mac and Cheese
Coolest Thing About It: The history of the bar: two college friends dreamed it up on a trip back from a Louisiana State/ Tennessee game. That’s the stuff sports nuts dream about, and they made it happen.
2. Red Star (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
New Yorkers, rejoice: you have a full, state-of-the-art sports bar to take in all your MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, and NCAA games. It’s consistently ranked as the best place to watch March Madness, the Super Bowl, and any other televised sporting event on its 40 TVs. With 14 beers on draught (including the Red Star Amber Lager), plus an extensive wings and food menu, the bar sets you up perfectly for a night of sports. (Or tequila, if you go on a Tuesday.) We recommend the crispy curry wings and the bacon Cheddar wings — two stellar recipes.
Number of TVs: 40
Number of Beers: 14 on draught, 8 bottled
Best Dish on the Menu: The raspberry barbecue wings
Coolest Thing About It: Wednesdays are 50-cent wing night — if that’s a deal on award-winning wings, we’ll take it.
3. The Four's Restaurant & Sports Bar (Boston)
Ah Boston, home to the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Bruins, and The Four's, a bar known to be a relic of sports history in this town. Come to see the walls covered in sports memorabilia, and stay for the clam chowder (they’re known for it) and rowdy crowds. Just steps away from TD Garden, The Four's has been named the number one sports bar by Sports Illustrated, among others — you know this is a bar home to the true sports greats.
Number of TVs: 42
Number of Beers: 9 on draught, 19 bottled
Best Thing on the Menu: Clam chowder
Coolest Thing About It: It’s transitioned from gritty hockey bar to a "sports-themed" restaurant, thanks to the microbrews, sports memorabilia, and mahogany bar.
4. STATE (Chicago)
Even if you aren't a sports fanatic, it's worth heading to STATE if only for the food — filet mignon burger, sockeye salmon, and quinoa salad aren’t your typical sports bar offerings. And making STATE that much more impressive? The bar’s 124 HD plasma TVs to keep fans watching all night. If that’s not enough, STATE also has a giant draught beer selection: 100 total. We’ll take it.
Number of TVs: 124
Number of Beers: 100
Best Thing on the Menu: Filet Mignon Santa Fe Toast, with USDA Prime filet mignon, Fire Sky barbecue sauce, and pepper jack cheese
Coolest Thing About It: Trivia nights, with prizes up to $1,000 cash. Yeah, we’ll take it.
5. Duffy's Sports Grill (Florida)
We can see why Miami Dolphins fans love this bar. A Dolphin Express bus to all Miami Dolphins football games?! We’re in. For those sticking around the bar for the game at the Miami outpost, there are a mere 700 seats to fill and 200 flat screens to watch the action on. And the extras are what keep this bar at the top of its game: gluten-free items on the menu, a wine list, a poolside bar (yes, really) and dockside parking for all you boaters.
Number of TVs: 200
Number of Beers: 15 +
Best Thing on the Menu: The Rachel Burger, with pastrami, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, and spicy brown mustard
Coolest Thing About It: Did we mention the poolside bar?
6. Chappell's Restaurant & Sports Museum (Kansas City, Mo.)
Upon entering this Kansas City, Mo., bar, you’re immediately greeted with 100 years of sports greatness: 1,000 football helmets, Super Bowl rings, autographed Hall of Fame baseballs, and more — there’s a reason it’s called Chappell’s Restaurant and Museum. While taking in the relics around you, watch a game and dine on some classic American dishes, like the fish and chips and Chappell burger.
Number of TVs: 10 +
Number of Beers: 9
Best Thing on the Menu: The London Broil, marinated flank steak served au jus with potatoes
Coolest Thing About It: Obviously, the relics of sports legends — a Babe Ruth signed baseball, for starters.
7. STATS Restaurant and Bar (Atlanta)
What makes Stats stand out from the others? Six separate viewing areas for the games, which means you won’t rub shoulders with your rivals, plus there's a whopping 70 HDTVs in the bar so everyone can have a great view. And as if that wasn’t enough, wait until you see the beer tap system set up throughout the bar, so patrons can pour their own beer instead of relying on a waitress during a particularly intense inning — and that’s on top of the five bars. This mecca of sports (it’s the home of radio broadcast 790 The Zone) also serves classic American bar food, with a long list of draught beers. We’re already in the car.
Number of TVs: 15
Number of Beers: 70 +
Best Thing on the Menu: Beef brisket, made with Texas Pete hot sauce and served with mac and cheese
Coolest Thing About It: At the main bar are four high-top beer tables, complete with a built-in taps system. No more crowding the bar to get a cold brew.
8. Chickie's and Pete's (Philadelphia)
This family-owned Philly sports bar chain has won numerous awards from ESPN, but they’re also known for one particular item on the menu: Crabfries. Imagine a crinkle-cut fry topped with the season’s leftover crab seasoning, with a cheesy sauce on the side — doesn’t get any better than that. Besides the seafood-heavy menu, it’s the fans and constant games on TV that make the Chickie's and Pete's outposts a favorite for game-watching. The South Philly location is known for legendary Eagles watch parties, but we’re sure any Philly team gets a lot of loving at Chickie's and Pete's.
Number of TVs: 18 in the flagship location, one in each private suite, plus one 12-foot projector and two 10-foot projectors
Number of Beers: 10
Best Thing on the Menu: The Magooby sandwich, made with Crabfries, cheese, shrimp, pickles, and onions
Coolest Thing About It: It’s home to the largest TV screen in Philly at the flagship, plus four bars — that will do the trick for fans.
9. Pete's Tavern (San Francisco)
It’s called the premier sports bar of San Francisco for a reason — it's located just across the street from the SF Giants' AT&T Park — but it’s the cocktails and draft beer on offer that get us excited. Say hello to the Ballpark Cooler (made with Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade), the Pete’s Rye Manhattan, plus Drake’s 1500 ale, Speakeasy Prohibition brew, and Red Hook ESP. It’s spacious, it’s rowdy, it’s filled with TVs — what more could you ask for?
Number of TVs: 22
Number of Beers: 12 on draught, 15 bottled (including 10 wines)
Best Thing on the Menu: Bacon-wrapped dog, with onions and peppers
Coolest Thing About It: Proximity to AT&T Park, plus lots of space and seating, making it a great home for Giants games.
10. Nemo's (Detroit)
Nemo’s may not have the bells and whistles of other bars on the list, but it has tradition, classic bar food, and sports memorabilia on its side. The bar, built more than 50 years ago, was next to the original Tigers Stadium, but now serves as a hub for all Detroit sports fans. Plus, it’s another bar that transports its guests to and from the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers games, a major plus for all patrons.
Number of TVs: 12
Number of Beers: 12
Best Thing on the Menu: Fish and chips
Coolest Thing About It: Back in 1997, it was the first place that Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch brought the Stanley Cup.
11. Lagasse’s Stadium (Las Vegas)
Chef Emeril Lagasse has reimagined what a sports bar could be, and turned his into a high-stakes venue. Located at The Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip, the bar looks more like a swanky loft than a sports bar — not that we’re complaining. TVs furnish the dining room, the "stadium" looks more like a plush movie theater, and the upstairs luxury boxes are outfitted with couches, pool tables, and even arcade games. And don’t forget the upscale bar food, like the Stadium burger, shrimp po'boy, and baby back ribs — you won’t want to watch a game anywhere else, not even in a real stadium.
Number of TVs: 100 +
Number of Beers: 25 +
Best Dish on the Menu: Spice-rubbed baby back ribs with Creole mustard coleslaw and homemade jalapeño cornbread
Coolest Thing About It: The plush, couch arena to watch the main game.
12. Auto Battery Sports Bar (Seattle)
Only in Seattle can you enjoy a sports game the hipster way: this converted auto shop-turned-bar is dedicated to all Seattle teams, both college and professional. If you’re being dragged to watch sports but aren’t feeling it, head to the shuffleboard tables, pool tables, and Skee-Ball games. But it’s safe to say everyone can enjoy the food here: the Po Dog menu is filled with what may be the most deadly hot dog selections we’ve seen — with options like the Deep-Fried Danger Dog, Mac and Cheese Dog, and the Po-Roll dog that's rolled up with rice like sushi, this isn't your typical sports bar fare. Top it off with a Deschutes or a Manny’s brew, a PBR if you’re really feeling hipster, or a Black Fire cocktail if you’re feeling dangerous.
Number of TVs: 9
Number of Beers: 8 on draught, 15 bottled (plus Caffe Vita coffee and an unreal cocktail menu)
Best Thing on the Menu: The Po Roll, with cream cheese, cucumbers, rolled in sushi paper and panko-crusted and fried
Coolest Thing About It: The bar is hooked up to Nintendo Wii — so if you’re over NFL, start playing the game version.
13. Jerome Bettis' Grille 36 (Pittsburgh)
That’s right, that Jerome Bettis: the legendary Steelers and Rams player owns Pittsburgh hot spot Gerome Bettis' Grille 36, which attracts a dedicated, but high-end, sports fan clientele. Case in point: the Grid Iron steak, Korean beef barbecue tacos, and the Greg Norman Wagyu hot dog. Not to mention an extensive draught beer list (Magic Hat, Arrogant Bastard, Penn Brewery, and Dogfish Head all grace the list) and wine menu that could make some non-sports bars jealous. It’s been named the best sports bar in Pittsburgh, a notably saturated town for sports bars, for the five years it’s been open by Pittsburgh Monthly.
Number of TVs: 55
Number of Beers: 32 on draught, 39 bottled (plus 36 wines and a cocktail menu)
Best Thing on the Menu: The 36, a bone-in, 36-ounce New York strip steak with onions and mushrooms
Coolest Thing About It: Its location near Heinz Field and Stage AE, plus a two-way mirror in the men’s bathroom that overlooks the bar… let’s just say the online reviews rave about it.
14. Phoenix Landing (Boston)
We know, soccer may not be every red-blooded American’s sport of choice to watch. But for the true soccer fans out there, you can’t beat Phoenix Landing: the Boston bar has every Premier League and UEFA Champions League game; plus NFL, NHL, NBA, and NCAA games. Phoenix Landing is also Boston's official Liverpool FC Clubhouse, as the team is owned by the Red Sox’s John Henry — so you know, if you’re a Red Sox fan, you just might catch a glimpse of him around. Non-soccer fans will appreciate the extensive bar-food menu and the "alternative Irish" vibe — Guinness is a mandatory drink order.
Number of TVs: 12 +
Number of Beers: 12
Best Thing on the Menu: Shepherd’s pie, with all-natural ground lamb, fresh veggies, mashed potatoes, and Cheddar cheese
Coolest Thing About It: It’s not just home to soccer enthusiasts; Phoenix Landing also has enough DJs and live music to make some concert venues jealous.
15. Sam's Sports Grill (Nashville, Tenn.)
Nashville Scene Magazine, Maxim, and MSNBC all agree: if you’re going to watch sports in Nashville, this is the place to be. Sam’s is complete with the full game experience: waitstaff decked in referee outfits and team jerseys, a long beer list, a full bar-food menu with acclaimed chili, chicken fingers, and pizza, and plenty of TVs — not a bad seat in the house.
Number of TVs: 20 +
Number of Beers: 16 on draught, 28 bottled
Best Thing on the Menu: The chicken tender and rib combo
Coolest Thing About It: The bar is known for its trivia nights (which won yet another award from Nashville Scene magazine), karaoke nights, and its Olympic specials over the summer (shots every time a U.S. gold medal was won).
16. Eskimo Joe's (Stillwater, Okla.)
Eskimo Joe’s already made our list for Best College Football Bars, but its dedication to all things Oklahoma State athletics makes this bar outrank its amateur peers. Consider the Joe’s Dome expansion, the legendary cheese fries, and the tailgating crowds for every Oklahoma State game — if the two Bush presidents approve, we think it’s good enough for the regular, football-loving Joe Schmo.
Number of TVs: 10 +
Number of Beers: 12 +
Best Thing on the Menu: The cheese fries, obviously.
Coolest Thing About It: It’s a sports bar by day, but hosts rockin’ country acts all night. And don’t forget the legendary tailgate parties.
17. Frankie's Sports Bar and Grill (Dallas)
Two patios, 30-plus HDTVs, bathroom mirror TVs (really), 20 local and national beers, and athlete-named dishes — yep, the checklist for best sports bar fits for Frankie’s Bar. The bar has consistently been named the best by both Dallas and national media outlets. Try the Usain Bolt sandwich, the Kobe & Shaq chicken waffles, the Rocky Balboa burger, and more athlete-inspired items on the menu, for when you’re truly feeling like a champion.
Number of TVs: Depending on the location; 70 flat screens at Fort Worth, 43 flat screens at Lewisville, and 33 flat screens at Dallas, including HDTV projectors
Number of Beers: 20 on draught, 12 bottled
Best Thing on the Menu: The Mike Tyson burger, made with two patties, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, melted Swiss cheese, and Frankie’s Famous Boomerang sauce
Coolest Thing About It: Every night is a new event — trivia, build-your-own bloody mary bar and brunch, and watch parties for UFC and MLB, just for starters.