America’s 25 Best Sports Bars
December 13, 2011
Taking everything from beer and wings to game watchability into consideration, these are the best sports bars in the country
America’s 25 Best Sports Bars
Taking everything from beer and wings to game watchability into consideration, these are the best sports bars in the country.
#25 Between the Buns, Indiana
Be part of the crowd or have your own party at Between the Buns, where each booth gets its own TV and a slew of other screens ensure that everyone is watching what he or she wants. A self-serve Bloody Mary bar and one-dollar Miller High Lifes appeal to many customers, as does the fact that all locations (there are five) pay homage to area teams by displaying high school and college memorabilia alongside the pro stuff. Buns MVPs earn points towards their tab and area locals have voted this the Best Sports Bar in South Bend, Mishawaka, and Elkhart.
#24 Taps, Los Angeles
You guessed it. There are 33 beers on tap at this LA sports bar, where fun food like mac ‘n cheese-topped burgers and enchilada-style nachos make getting your grub enjoyable. As do the beer-shot combo list that includes a Shock Top & Raspberry Vodka pairing for just eight bucks. There are TVs everywhere you look – 55 of them to be exact – and the place will open in the morning if there happens to be a game on.
#23 Big Wangs, Los Angeles
The prerequisite sports bar food — wings — gets center stage at Big Wangs, where they are regularly on special for a couple of coins each. The happy hour menu is available all day on Wednesdays, and a five spot will get you a beer and a taco on Tuesdays. They have “more HD TVs than anyone else in L.A.” and stadium seating facing seven of them. Two sound systems mean audio for both games at once, and over a dozen beer selections means they will have something for everyone in the group.
#22 Ainsworth, New York City
It’s not enough for a sports bar in NYC to just show the game. You’ve got to have the game-food-drink combo just right in the city that never sleeps. At The Ainsworth, spectators take over the place to gaze at framed plasma TVs while chowing down on goat-cheese stuffed lamb burgers or pulled pork sandwiches, washed down with one of 16 beers or a specialty cocktail. And because it is New York, there is bound to be someone who is on some kind of cleanse — so stuff them with a quinoa-kale burger, and everyone’s happy.
#21 Stadium View Bar and Grill, Green Bay
It’s safe to say Green Bay loves sports. Stadium View is just a field goal kick away from Lambeau Field, so the green and yellow is in full force here. There is a special Packer Game Day Menu and behemoth beer offerings like a 92-ounce fishbowls or 108-ounce towers. It’s not uncommon for a tent (with a full bar and TVs) to be set up in the parking lot on Packer game days to handle the overflow. If you’ve got tickets to the game and plan on stopping here for some tailgate action beforehand, you might not leave.
#20 Buffalo Billiards, Washington, D.C.
D.C. area residents flock to DuPont Circle to descend on Buffalo Billiards on game day. The beer is cheap and plentiful (12 draft and 16 bottle options) and there are TVs in every line of vision. You can stay active here, too, with 15 pool tables, 10 shuffleboard tables, 4 skeeball machines, 3 foosball tables, 2 Hoop Fever Pop-a-Shots. The only thing missing is a partridge in a pear tree. But when that becomes a sport, they'll have one of those, too.
#19 Standings, NYC
Jerseys, pennants, and sport headlines hang on the walls and from the ceiling at Standings in the East Village. There’s no music to be heard. Instead, they blast audio from the games, because that's what it's all about. It’s a slim space, just 10 bar stools and seating for roughly 30 or so more. Everyone gets a great view of the eight flat screens, and one of the 12 draft selects are always just an arm’s reach away.
#18 Jillian’s, Boston
Jillian’s is the ultimate three-in-one sports mecca. The three-story space houses a bowling alley, pool hall, and bar/club, so you can come to watch and play. The second floor is rec-room heaven: 30 pool tables, dartboards, Ping-Pong, and more. Dozens of TVs are tuned into whichever game spirited fans are most serious about watching.
#17 Cheli’s Chili Bar (Detroit)
Named after owner and Detroit Red Wings defenseman and NHL Hall of Fame inductee Chris Chelios, Cheli’s is an indoor/outdoor sports bar with 36 HDTVs. It’s just a slap shot away from Comerica Park & Ford Field, so you can feel like you’re in on the live action. Expect spillover after the game, so the party just keeps going, especially if there's a win involved. Fans love the magnitude of beer selections and the roof-top patio with bleacher seats (from which it's possible to watch ball games for free).
#16 40/40 Club, NYC
Four LED TVs, a bunch of LCD and plasma TVs, and a stellar sound system are just a few of the Jay-Z-driven ingredients in the 40/40 Club’s recipe for a great sports bar. The other elements? A reservation-recommended policy and a membership program that allows access to a private VIP room and exclusive invites to parties, product launches, and more. Autographed jerseys are on display and over 30 sports-themed cocktails and more than a dozen bottled beer offerings round it all out.
#15 McGreevy’s 3rd Base Saloon, Boston
McGreevy's calls itself "America's First Sports Bar." Pro athletes and politicians have been known to stop by for a brew (or to serve one as a celeb tender) if they are in town. Over 15 HDTVs and a handful of projection screens are tuned into the game and all-day game celebrations, including confetti cannons and menu specials (beer buckets and 25 cent wings included), make this a fun time every time.
#14 The Tavern, Austin
46 HDTVs, equipped with surround sound, on two levels are a huge draw at The Tavern, one of Austin’s oldest sports bars. The white wings are a must try, and if it’s an Austin Gooners game you’re hoping to catch, the place opens early on game days so that fans can get a head start on merrymaking.
#13 Bar 508, Minneapolis
Bar 508 is serious about beer. They offer over 35 selections with a focus on craft. To go along with that, they’ve created a menu that bridges the gap between fanfare and food-lover faves. Think buffalo chicken wontons and Summit Beer-battered walleye fingers. Fans love that there is an area for them to get their victory dance on after watching their team win on one of dozens of TVs tuned into all day sports.
#12 Cooter Brown’s, New Orleans
Seafood-loving sports fans can have it all as Cooter Brown's. Picked as the best sports bar in NOLA year after year by area locals, it’s a fan favorite for the deluxe oyster bar and hometown specialties like alligator — not to mention the 400-plus beer offerings (60 on tap), 17 flat screens, 2 eight-foot drop-down screens, and 15 wide screens, plus a deluxe sports package that ensures every game being played will be showed.
#11 Jackson’s Sports Rock, Denver
Jackson’s 30,000 plus square feet of space is packed with 40 hi-def TVs. The outdoor patio is one of Denver’s largest and overlooks the Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club. Sports fans nosh on Rocky Mountain oysters and sliders while downing craft beers at one of five indoor and outdoor bar areas. If you're outside, you've got a view of Coors Field right across the street. It's a bar with great amenities, like a free bus to and from the Broncos Invesco field on game day, and a flat-fee open bar for private events.
#10 Burger & Beer Joint, FL
Pool tables, flat screen TVs and a 10-pound $125 dollar burger made with pork belly, homemade stuffing, foie gras, and cranberry sauce (as well as a long menu of more conventional burgers, all excellent) are just a few of the reasons Miami locals flock to the Burger & Beer Joint on game day.
#9 Lagasse's Stadium, Las Vegas
Emeril Lagasse kicks things up a notch at his Vegas outpost dedicated to watching whatever game is going on a the moment. It’s Sin City, so everyone has a stake in at least one of them. Watch them all on hi-def action on over 100 screens while lounging on oversized plush couches that you won’t want to get up from. Kicked-up game day fare includes shrimp and andouille sausage etouffee.
#8 Chappell's Restaurant & Sports Museum, Kansas City, Mo.
As its name implies, this is not just a bar, it’s an eatery and a sports museum. Chappell’s owner has searched high and low for his collection of sports stuff and it’s all on display, from vintage helmets to an autographed pair of Muhammad Ali’s gloves. Northwest Missouri State even conducted sports memorabilia classes at Chappell’s. Guests tour the space in between stuffing themselves with smokehouse grilled chicken and potato skins.
#7 Major Goolsby’s, Milwaukee
There are so many TVs at Major Goolsby’s that it’s as if every person sitting at the bar has his or her own personal screen. The bar is seriously old school, serving up pub fare like cheeseburgers, sweet potato tater tots, and the like, and covered in sports memorabilia. Fans crowd the place on any given game day.
#6 Nemo’s Bar & Grill, Detroit
Nemo’s offers shuttles to all major concerts and sporting events, so it’s a major meet up spot for before, during and post-game shenanigans. The cash-only spot has been serving up pub-friendly food for the last 50 years.
#5 Heroes Sports Bar & Grille, Mobile, Ala.
#4 Ricky’s Sports Theatre and Grill, San Leandro, Calif.
A large fleet of TVs — over 100, with some even set up in the bathrooms — guarantees that you won’t miss one second of sports action. Check in on their mobile app to get info on events and discounts and special deals on food and beer options. This is a media-friendly bar, so don’t be surprised if a TV or radio show has set up shop and is broadcasting live from Ricky’s.
#3 STATS, Atlanta
Atlanta's sports radio station 680 The Fan has a glass booth set up at STATS specifically for broadcasting from inside the bar. The bathrooms are decked out like dugouts, complete with baseball facts and vintage radios and a rooftop and lounge area are ideal for those who happen to be there with a group or on a date. Roughly 70 HDTVs fill the three-level space, so missing a game moment is not an option. As for beer, there is plenty of it, with a serve-yourself option courtesy of tableside taps.
#2 Sluggers World Class Sports Bar, Chicago
Sluggers is the spot to hit up if you’re a sports fan in Chicago. The place, located in area around Wrigley Field called Wrigleyville, has indoor batting cages, trampoline basketball, skeeball, golf, basketball hoops, and more. It’s an ESPN favorite and locals love that they can get a bucket of wings alongside 50 beer options, as well as the daily drink deals and the opportunity to stare at over 30 TVs (six of them 10-footers).
#1 Chickie’s and Pete’s, Philly
Area locals love the Eagles and Phillies as much as they love the crab fries at Chickie’s and Pete’s. They flock there for those, the cheesesteaks, the specialty brews on draft (and served in a frosted mug or by the yard if you’re so inclined), and fact that there will always be at least two TVs within your line of vision with every turn of your head. It’s been called the Best Place to Watch a Game, the #1 Sports Bar in America (by ESPN, so it’s serious), and one of Philly’s Top Spots and the best place to watch baseball in the area.