America's Best Sports Bar Bites
These all-American sports bars are scoring touchdowns, home runs, full-court shots and winning goals with their incredible game-day eats.
Photo By: Reilly Drew
Photo By: Adam Flikkema
Photo By: Ann Schertz
Photo By: Craig Washburn
Bludso's Bar and Que, Los Angeles
Raised in Compton, but with with a family tree full of Texas-based pitmasters that stretches back generations, Kevin Bludso decided to bring the art of slow-smoked meat to LA. And thanks to 10 TVs streaming local heroes like the Lakers, Clippers and Bruins, his bar has become a legit haven for athletic obsessives, as well as for lovers of beef ribs, brisket, collard greens, cornbread and peach crisp a la mode.
Pub Royale, Chicago
This Indian-British pub from one of Chicago's top hospitality teams is a welcome departure from the otherwise paint-by-numbers sports bars that crowd Wicker Park. You'll still find plenty of action, thanks to a projection screen spanning the length of an entire wall. But this is hardly a "Coors Light and cracked leather stool" kind of place (not that there's anything wrong with that). An esoteric craft beer selection can be navigated through 4-ounce tastes and is supplemented by boozy mango lassis, rum-spiked chai and multiple takes on the Pimm's Cup. And while there are passing nods to burgers and wings, why not try lamb dumplings or salt cod samosas instead, along with coconut curry mussels, chicken tikka kati rolls and spiced carrot dal?
Peanut Farm, Anchorage, Alaska
This is the premier sports bar in Alaska, showing the largest selection of events anywhere in the state. Not only that, but the games can be viewed from an unprecedented 70 screens, including one at every booth and 10 jumbo HD TVs. Upward of 30 drafts complete the consummate game-day experience, along with great grub like honey butter-slicked corn fritters, halibut strips battered in local beer, and pork "wings" offered with five levels of heat.
The Athletic Club Oakland, California
Thirty-seven plasma screens, three projectors and a state-of-the-art sound system aren't the only ways Oakland AC demonstrates its obsession with sports. Walls are made from reclaimed bleacher wood, the bar top is old flooring from a Palo Alto school gym, and customers can buy baseballs for $10, with proceeds going to a local nonprofit. And then there are the food and drink options. Large groups can buy cases of beer at a discount and have them served in vintage coolers for an inside tailgate. As for edibles, you'll find classic ballpark pretzels and dogs (albeit made with Snake River 100 percent wagyu beef), along with Just Do It fries topped with three-bean chili and cheddar, "Reuben" Sierra sandwiches, and a Football Sundae made up of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, butterscotch and candied pecans, with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
Katy Trail Ice House, Dallas
If you're hitting Dallas' 3.5 mile Katy Trail, don't bother to pack snack mix. Instead, schedule a rest stop at this rollicking ice house that boasts a 50-foot bar with 50 beers on tap, including numerous Texas drafts. There are even dueling menus, one devoted to real-deal, 18-hour smoked barbecue, and the other sporting Lone Star State-appropriate options like venison chili, breakfast tacos and sides of charro beans. After all, it's important for a bar to go big in a city like Dallas, a renowned hotbed of professional and collegiate teams.
Old Town Pour House, Chicago
It's no small achievement to boast one of the largest beer lists in Chicago. Here, a whopping 90 options are on tap to hydrate Bears fans, ranging from indie lagers and ambers, to strong IPAs and pale ales, to ciders and sours. A menu of classic American fare with creative twists assures they'll be satiated (think filet mignon sliders, Buffalo shrimp and even Impossible Burgers for vegetarians), and 107-inch HDTVs keep the crowd entertained, with an assist from video DJs who maintain the game-day energy during commercials by playing music and comedic clips.
The Harp, Boston
Positioned just south of TD Garden, with a 650-person capacity, an NFL Sunday Ticket subscription and mammoth projection screens, The Harp tops Boston's hit list for pregame partying and postgame rallying. It's also ideal for game-time noshing, thanks to an expansive menu selection of Sriracha pork tacos, smoked bacon Hawaiian pizza, lobster rolls and the three-time winner of Boston Harborfest's Best Clam Chowder competition.
Side Street Inn, Honolulu
If you can tear yourself away from Hawaii's pristine beaches, stop in at Side Street, which the state's top media outlets largely agree is the best place to catch a game. And goodness knows, you won't find fare like this in most of America's better-known sports cities. Starters include poke, kalua pork sliders, and cold tofu with ginger and bonito flakes, while larger feeds run the gamut from oxtail soup poured over steamed rice, to yakisoba tossed with garden vegetables and sweet nuggets of char siu, to short ribs and teriyaki beef sizzled on the grill.
18 Degrees at Ice Den Scottsdale, Arizona
A new, 165-inch video wall is only one reason to visit 18 Degrees at Ice Den Scottsdale, a 150,000-square-foot ice skating and entertainment center, and home of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes hockey club. Instead of apres ski, it provides the ultimate apres-skate environment, boasting a 40-seat bar with 16 draft taps, happy hours featuring twice-baked nachos with Scottsdale Blonde cheese sauce, fine fare such as double-bone pork chops with green chile apple chutney and seared sea scallops with bacon jam, and a wood-fired pizza oven churning out pies with heirloom tomatoes and basil, crispy Brussels sprouts and artichoke hearts, or ricotta, arugula and figs.
Mike's at Venetia, Miami
Welcome to Miami's family-owned, long-running Irish pub, which regularly cracks lists like "The Best Sports Bars in America." Over 20 HD TVs keep it on top, as do unfailingly friendly service, a congenial crowd and awesome eats like mahi mahi fingers, coconut shrimp, Cajun gumbo, turkey Reuben sandwiches and cheesy Buffalo chicken dip.
Bleacher Bar, Boston
Why buy nosebleed seats when you can perch beneath the bleachers in Fenway Park's center field at this windowed stadium bar? In a space formerly used as the visiting team's batting cages, this brilliantly conceived watering hole puts you in the thick of the action. And you're guaranteed to find above-average concessions; think Boston clam chowder, bacon cheesy fries, club sandwiches and warm cookie plates, washed down with seasonal Sam Adams beer.
The Spirit of 77, Portland, Oregon
When in Portland, plan a private viewing party here (the "Lil' Spirit," an upstairs event space, has flat screens and its own bar), or join the crowds huddled around Ducks, Beavers and Blazers games, thanks to TVs powered by the NFL Sunday Ticket, ESPN Gameplan and the NBA League Pass. You can even flex your own athletic muscles, by trying your hand at foosball, Skee-Ball, pinball or a basketball arcade, as you graze on grub such as jalapeno jelly hushpuppies, fish sandwiches, charcuterie boards and a burger topped with crushed potato chips on a local Fressen bun.
Briggs doesn't discriminate when it comes to sports (the Lions, Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings share screen space with rugby, motocross, diving, curling and figure skating) or clientele, being actively LGBT-friendly. And it takes an all-in approach when it comes to the menu as well, offering game-themed fare like Shirts v Skins (stuffed potato skins), the Pitcher's Mound (loaded tots), the Pump Fake (a grilled chicken breast sandwich with pineapple cream cheese) and the Knorr Burger, a fresh half-pounder with corned beef, a fried egg and a double helping of Swiss.
Tivoli Brewing Company, Denver
Where better than the oldest brewery in Colorado to cheer on Denver's multiple pro and collegiate teams? Located in the same building since 1859, Tivoli is now in the heart of Auraria Campus, and partners with MSU's own brewing program to create suds that blend contemporary ideas with time-honored techniques. Not only that, but Brut-Iful IPA, She's My Cherry Pie Lager and Sigi's Wild Horse Bock can be paired with a lineup of "mobile munchies" inspired by Colorado's wealth of food trucks. Look for High Five Chicken Potstickers, chargrilled tailgate hamburgers, pit-smoked pulled pork sandwiches and "street sweets" such as pineapple upside-down cake drenched in Tivoli beer-infused caramel.
Nick's English Hut, Bloomington, Indiana
A Bloomington tradition since 1927, Nick's is the place to be during Indiana University games. And what better way to support the hometown Hoosiers than by fortifying oneself with "Kick-Offs and Sidelines" like battered mushrooms, nacho cheese-smothered breadsticks and garlic mayo-dunked fries, followed by pork tenderloin sandwiches, strombolis and subs, and burgers made from Black Angus premium beef sourced from a nearby, 100-year-old farm.
Winking Lizard Tavern, Ohio
No matter where you're located within northern or central Ohio, there's likely to be an outpost of Winking Lizard around, for cheering on OSU and the Browns. That doesn't mean it's some cookie-cutter chain, though. Each spot boasts a meticulously curated draft list of unique finds like Three Floyds Lazer Snake, Jackie O's Mystic Mama IPA and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. There are also menus padded with seasonal items and specials, such as French Dip Wednesdays, Chicken and Biscuit Week, and wings slathered in up to 22 different sauces.
Beer Market Co., Houston
This Houston brewhouse is definitely "the place to beer" during home games. In fact, with a mind-boggling 365 options, you'll never have to sip the same pint twice in a season. An excess of televisions, covered outdoor seating and the chance to join an NFL football pool further the bar's position as a true sports haven, as does a game-day-only menu of Texas ale chicken quesadillas, fried mac-and-cheese balls, breakfast tacos and burgers, and regular or boneless wings.
Founding Fathers Sports Bar & Grill, Philadelphia
Philly fanatics couldn't ask for a classier home base than Founding Fathers, whose marble tables, gleaming top-shelf liquor bottles and exposed-brick walls provide a refined backdrop for 13 sports-tuned TVs. Thanks to Chef Andrew Maloney, a two-decade veteran of Philadelphia's esteemed restaurant scene, you won't find your average pub grub here, either. "Concessions" run to mac-and-cheese doughnuts with maple bacon bourbon jam, while the menu's On the Green section showcases salads such as roasted candy-striped beets in a creamy vodka vinaigrette, and entrees include blackened ahi tuna tacos with lime crema, salsa roja and cheddar Jack.
O.H.S.O. Brewery and Distillery, Phoenix
Bring along your dog to woof, woof, woof for the home team (such as the Diamondbacks, the Cardinals, the Coyotes or the Phoenix Suns) at this pup-friendly nano-brewery and distillery. The water bowls are cold, and the house beer is even colder — try the fruity Popcycle Blond, the spicy Handlebar Hefe and the toasty, toffee-tasting 89Ale. And while there's no shortage of treats, your pup will want to partake in the Sunday backyard barbecues or sneak a bite of your steak-topped fries, salmon tacos or the Pilgrim Sandwich, pan-roasted shaved turkey, bacon, cranberry aioli and Gouda on a buttery croissant.
The Stadium View Bar & Grill, Green Bay, Wisconsin
It's not just a name — this Green Bay destination is situated steps away from Lambeau Field, and Packer pride is on full display. Twelve 10-foot televisions dominate the space, and you may just find Brett Favre or Terry Bradshaw bellying up next to you at the bar. Special food and drink offerings are rolled out on game day (gather your tailgate crew around a 92-ounce fishbowl of alcohol, mountains of fried cheese curds or a platter of broasted chicken), so no wonder the owners regularly have to set up a tent in their sprawling parking lot to accommodate the green-and-gold-adorned crowds.
The 508 Bar and Restaurant, Minneapolis
Being a mere half-block from both the Target Center and Target Field makes this Minneapolis watering hole the place to be on game day. Packs of Timberwolves fans take over both levels for access to multiple televisions, $3 tallboys during home games, taps flowing with local suds like Surly Brewing Company's Furious IPA, and exciting bites such as Buffalo chicken wontons, carnitas tacos, and "Juicy Louie" burgers stuffed with American and white cheddar cheeses.
Edwin's Sports Bar, Austin, Texas
"Plates, Pours and Scores" is the running theme at Edwin's, located in the heart of downtown Austin. The first mission is accomplished with Buffalo and blue cheese burgers, breakfast tacos, and Sriracha- and peanut-studded Asian tots. The second comes courtesy of creative cocktails, such as Edwin's Chilcano, with pisco, grapefruit bitters and ginger simple syrup, and the Jean-Claude, made with Blue Owl Van Dayum! Sour red ale and elderflower liqueur. And multiple TVs (including one on the patio, which frequently hosts a dog "yappy hour") take care of the third, broadcasting Georgia, Clemson and Patriots games.
The Blue Line, Kansas City
Frequently voted the best sports bar in Kansas City, this is also the only dedicated hockey bar in all of KC. And while walls lined with framed NHL jerseys and tons of tuned-in TVs have lots to do with the Blue Line love, we're pretty sure stellar food options also come into play. The themed menu includes Warm Ups like Chicken Goal Tenders, Locker Shrooms and spinach artichoke Spin Dip served with wedges of warm garlic naan bread. You'll also find Wrist Shot wraps and Oilers taco salad under First Period; Goalie Grilled Cheese and Sabres chicken sammies under Second; and Bruins burrito platters and customizable Hockey Pucks (house slang for sliders) listed under Third.
Blue Haven, New York City
Whether you're in the East or West Village, either outpost of Blue Haven provides the consummate upscale sports bar experience. Football, baseball and basketball fans can all find solace along the television-lined bar, yet it's an equally worthy destination if you're just in it for the grub — from Kobe beef sliders, rib-eye steak with demi-glace and tuna tartare towers, to fried Twinkies, chicken and biscuits, and a "triple-threat" grilled cheese.
The Angry Beaver, Seattle
Seattle's only hockey bar pledges allegiance to Canada, by celebrating that nation's most-popular sport (airing World Cup, World Jr. and Olympic games) as well as its signature eats. Think BLTs stacked with peameal bacon, Montreal smoked-meat sandwiches and, of course, indulgent poutine that's available in flights — $15 buys you three beaver dams' worth of hand-cut fries, Beecher's cheese curds and your choice of three gravies.