For big sports fans, nothing can truly compare to being at the game. That said, when a sports bar gets it right, it can come as close as possible to replicating the experience — ideally with the added bonus of a more convenient location, less traffic, and cheaper and better food and drinks.
There are any number of criteria on which to evaluate sports bars and compare them against each other. In no particular order, these characteristics are as follows: quality and quantity of TVs, food, drinks, value, location, friendliness of the staff, décor (which for sports bars means unique, nostalgia-inducing memorabilia as opposed to sleek interior design), and clientele. Does the bar cater to certain team fan bases or to specific sports? Could a deep-pocketed investor open a competitor nearby and do a better job catering to fans?
These tenets meld together to create an unquantifiable but readily noticeable factor which, above all else, determines the worthiness of a sports bar: atmosphere. At the best sports bars, you can go to grab a delicious meal, have a couple of drinks, and catch a game by yourself, leaving a few hours later with a group of new, like-minded friends. Especially if your favorite team wins.