There's nothing quite like the electricity and fever of watching a big game in the stadium, surrounded by thousands of rabid fans. But the sports bar comes mighty close, and some might say reaches its own level of bliss as a gathering place that offers a unique version of the live sporting experience. The sports bar has come to hold a special place in a spectator's heart - it's where you can collectively experience the triumphs, the heartaches, and the last-minute surprises of any game.
What's made the American sports bar what it is today goes far past the TV (though it certainly helps to be watching the game on a 10-foot projector screen). Today's best sports bars reimagine what the collective sports-watching experience can be. We went deep into the outfield to compile our list of the best sports bars in America: We reached out to our wide network of contributors and combed through scores of local "best-of lists" and fan reviews to find the country's favorites.
Those bars that made our list offer food, drinks, entertainment, and an atmosphere as electric as (or sometimes more electric than) the sporting events themselves. But no matter the amenities, what makes these 50 sports bars truly great comes down to the heart of the operation: the fans.
33 Taps (Los Angeles, California)
You guessed it: There are 33 rotating draft beers on tap at this LA sports bar, where fun food like breakfast burgers and bacon mac and cheese make chowing down while watching the game extra enjoyable. Stop by for Dodgers game day specials, which start with the first pitch.
33 Taps Hollywood/Yelp
Bar 508 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Bar 508 is serious about beer. They offer over 20 selections with a focus on craft brews. To go along with that, they've created a menu that bridges the gap between fan fare and food-lover faves: Think Buffalo chicken wontons and Summit Beer-battered chicken tenders. 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 flat-screen TVs tuned into sports all day long. Don't miss the $3 tallboys for all Twins' home games.
Between the Buns (Osceola, Indiana)
Be a part of the crowd or have your own party at Between the Buns, where a slew of screens ensure that everyone is watching what he or she wants. Drink specials like the $12 buckets of beer appeal to many customers, as does the fact that Between the Buns pays homage to area teams by displaying high school and college memorabilia alongside the pro stuff. The South Bend Tribune has named this the Best Sports Bar in Osceola, and it was selected as one of ESPN's Top 8 Sports Bars in North America. They'll even cater your tailgate party.
Between the Buns/Yelp
Big Wang's (Los Angeles, California)
The prerequisite sports bar food - wings - take center stage at Big Wang's, where they are regularly on special for a couple of coins each. There are 12 different sauces in which to toss those wings, including Cajun Buffalo, Ghost Pepper, and Hawaiian Habanero. The happy hour menu is available all day Wednesdays, and you can buy tacos for a buck on Tuesdays. They have "more HD TVs than anyone else in LA" and two locations across the Los Angeles area, so you're covered anytime a sports-and-wing craving hits.
Bobby V's Restaurant & Sports Bar (Windsor Locks, Connecticut)
Fans can catch every minute of the game at Bobby V's, which boasts over 80 HDTVs and a 17-foot-wide LED screen (which they claim is one of the largest in New England). The upscale bar menu includes portobello and goat cheese flatbread, asparagus fries, and Cajun pork loin. For really big parties, rent one of their private event or party rooms, and if you need to find your zen, visit the indoor golf simulator.
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, and there are TVs in every line of vision. You can stay active here, too, with shuffleboard and pool tables, Skee-Ball machines, foosball tables, and Hoop Fever Pop-a-Shots.
Cask 'N Flagon (Boston, Massachusetts)
Cask 'N Flagon is everyone's favorite Fenway bar. Established in 1969, this is the place to meet up to watch a baseball game (it was named the Top Baseball Bar in the Nation by ESPN). Check out the iconic black and white sports photographs which line the walls, taken by Boston Globe photographer Dennis Brearley. Before it was a bar, the building was a Ford dealership, and the dealership's original terrazzo flooring still exists in the nightclub area and event space.
Chappell's Restaurant & Sports Museum (Kansas City, Missouri)
Upon entering this Kansas City bar, you're immediately greeted with over 100 years of sports greatness: 1,000 football helmets, Super Bowl rings, autographed Hall of Fame baseballs, and more. As its name implies, this is not just a bar, it's a sports mecca. Chappell's owner has searched high and low for his collection of sports memorabilia, 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 house favorites like the Chappell Burger and Smokehouse Chicken Grill.
Chatham Tap (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Chatham Tap brings the vibe of a traditional English pub to Indianapolis. Catch all English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, World Cup, and European Championships games on Chatham's numerous HDTVs. Their extensive beer list includes local favorites, such as Sun King Osiris and Triton Fieldhouse Wheat.
Cheli's Chili Bar (Detroit, Michigan)
Named after owner and former Detroit Red Wings defenseman and NHL Hall of Fame inductee Chris Chelios, Cheli's is an indoor/outdoor sports bar with over 30 HDTVs. It's just a slap shot away from Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, 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 rooftop patio with bleacher seats (from which it's possible to watch ball games for free).
Chickie's and Pete's (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
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 French fry topped with a secret blend of crab seasoning, with cheesy sauce on the side - it doesn't get any better than that. Besides the seafood-heavy menu, the fans and constant games on TV that make every Chickie's and Pete's outpost 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.
Cooter Brown's Tavern & Oyster Bar (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Seafood-loving sports fans can have it all at Cooter Brown's. Picked as the best sports bar in NOLA year after year by locals, it's a fan favorite because of the deluxe oyster bar and hometown specialties like alligator sausage po'boys - not to mention the hundreds of beer offerings (84 on tap), tons of flat-screen TVs, plus a deluxe sports package that ensures every game being played will be showed.
Cover 3 (Austin, Texas)
Cover 3, which has multiple locations in the Austin area, is all about sports, providing access to all major networks; the bar even dedicates an extensive page on its website to upcoming game times. Texas Monthly ranked their burgers as No. 12 in the entire state of Texas, and Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard called them America's Best Sports Bar in the Central Region.
The Draft Sports Grill (Mesa, Arizona)
The Draft, as locals call it, gives the classic sports bar a modern twist, using fresh ingredients to prepare all menu items in-house, like the Arizona spring rolls and asada tacos. They even employ DigitalPour, a live beer list on a 10-foot digital menu screen, to allow patrons to keep track of how much is left of their favorite keg.
Eskimo Joe's (Stillwater, Oklahoma)
Eskimo Joe's has previously made our lists for Best College Bars and Best College Football Bars, but its dedication to all things Oklahoma State athletics makes this bar outrank its peers. Consider the Joe's Dome expansion, and the tailgating crowds for every Oklahoma State game. The legendary house specialty, cheese fries, were featured on Food Network's "Unwrapped." According to the Tulsa World, Eskimo Joe's T-shirts are one of the most-collectible shirts in the country.
Ferg's Sports Bar (St. Petersburg, Florida)
With more than 90 TVs, Ferg's is the game day headquarters for Tampa Bay Rays fans: They normally see over 17,000 patrons for MLB's opening day and over 30,000 for the World Series. Ferg's party bus is a fully-equipped RV for parties on the go, and the bar has 11 different areas to host events (their backyard has a capacity of up to 3,000!). Whether patrons are celebrating the Rays, the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, or a local softball team, Ferg's has a spot for everyone: The entire space encompasses almost two city blocks.
The Fours Restaurant & Sports Bar (Boston, Massachusetts)
Ah, Boston, home to the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Bruins, and The Fours, 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 Fours 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.
The Fours Restaurant & Sports Bar
Frankie's Downtown (Dallas, Texas)
Forty-four HDTVs, 20 Texas craft beers, all the major DirecTV sports packages and athlete-named dishes - yep, the checklist for best sports bar fits for Frankie's. The bar has consistently been named the best by both Dallas and national media outlets, and is hailed as a 'Best of Dallas Sports Bar' by the Dallas Observer.
The Garage Burgers and Beer (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
You won't go hungry for a killer burger while watching the game at The Garage: They offer everything from turkey, chicken, and Angus beef to bison burgers. Play arcade games during a commercial break from the big game, and enjoy the extensive craft beer list.
Yelp/The Garage Burgers and Beer
Heroes Sports Bar & Grille (Mobile, Alabama)
Countless TVs, 16-ounce specialty drinks, a hefty beer selection and self-proclaimed Big-Ass Burgers keep Heroes Sports Bar & Grille filled to the gills whenever a game is on.
Highland Tap and Burger (Denver, Colorado)
"The Tap" celebrates all things Colorado, incorporating locally sourced products into their menu and working with Colorado craft breweries to create their extensive beer list. They were voted one of the 7 Best Places to Eat and Watch Super Bowl 50 by Dining Out Denver & Boulder.
Jackson's Sports Bar (Denver, Colorado)
Jackson's 30,000-plus square feet of space is packed with 70 HD flat-screen TVs. The newly remodeled rooftop bar is one of Denver's largest and overlooks Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club. Sports fans nosh on 12 types of wings 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.
That's right - that Jerome Bettis. The legendary Steelers and Rams player owns Pittsburgh hot spot Jerome Bettis' Grille 36, which attracts a dedicated but high-end sports fan clientele. Try the Firecracker Shrimp or Steeler Sirloin, and wash it all down with a brew from the extensive draft beer list (including many Pennsylvania drafts like Iron City and Tröegs).
Jerome Bettis' Grille 36
Jillian's/Lucky Strike Social (Boston, Massachusetts)
This is the ultimate sports mecca, conveniently located right behind legendary Fenway Park. The three-story space houses a bowling alley, pool hall, and club, so you can come to watch and play. The second floor is rec-room heaven: 24 pool tables, dartboards, ping-pong, and more. Dozens of TVs are tuned in to whichever game spirited fans are most serious about watching.
Lagasse's Stadium (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Chef Emeril Lagasse has reimagined what a sports bar can be by turning 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. HDTVs 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 spice-rubbed baby back ribs - you won't want to watch a game anywhere else, not even in a real stadium.
Legends Sports Bar (Long Beach, California)
Opened in 1979 by LA Rams' Dennis Harrah and business partner John Morris and now boasting two locations, Legends claims to be the "first to use satellite technology to broadcast live sporting events from around the world." They have a massive collection of sports memorabilia, which includes Mohammed Ali's boxing gloves, over 100 baseballs signed by legends such as Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, and Bobby Rahal's 2001 Indy car (which happens to be hanging from the ceiling). Relax with an ice-cold draft beer while you check it all out.
Major Goolsby's (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Opened in the early 1970s and located less than a block from the Bradley Center (the home of Marquette basketball and the Milwaukee Bucks) and across from the UW Milwaukee Panther Arena and the Milwaukee Theatre and Wisconsin Center, Major Goolsby's is a city institution. With a "gazillion" large screen HDTVs, it is especially vibrant on NFL Sundays, but is a great place to catch your favorite team any night of the week. It's been named one of the best sports bars in the country by Sports Illustrated.
McGiviney's Sports Bar and Grill (Juneau, Alaska)
Their motto - "Every game, every day" - holds true at this Last Frontier sports mecca, and so does the Tailgater: a Bloody Mary garnished with jalapeño, celery, olives, pickle, cheese wedge, and a topped with a... cheeseburger.
McGreevey's (Boston, Massachusetts)
McGreevy's dates back to 1894, calls itself "America's First Sports Bar," and is considered the birthplace of "Red Sox Nation." Pro athletes and politicians have been known to stop by for a brew (or to serve one as a celeb bartender) if they are in town. The two levels can accommodate 300 guests, and the tons of HDTVs and projection screens are tuned in to the big game and all-day game celebrations. Even the lighting fixtures are made out of baseball bats.
Nemo's (Detroit, Michigan)
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. Nemo's offers shuttles to Detroit Red Wings and Tigers games as well as concerts, so it's a major meet-up spot for before-, during-, and post-game shenanigans.
Nick's English Hut (Bloomington, Indiana)
Nick's has been a staple in Bloomington since 1927, and became famous partly because of longtime waitress Ruthie Collier Stewart (1927-2011), who was legendary for her sass and wit. She received a proclamation from Mayor Frank McCloskey, and according to "The College of Beer: The Story of Nick's English Hut," written by Bill Weaver, waitresses "viewed Ruthie as an inspiration."
Pete's Tavern (San Francisco, California)
It's called the premier sports bar of San Francisco for a reason - it's located just across the street from the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park - but it's the cocktails and draft beer on offer that get us excited. Say hello to the Tavern Casket (made with Jameson Caskmates, Gosling's ginger beer, lemon, and crème de cassis), the Pete's Margarita, plus Firestone Double Barrel Ale and Golden Road Wolfpup Session IPA. It's spacious, it's rowdy, it's filled with TVs - what more could you ask for?
Phoenix Landing (Boston, Massachusetts)
We know soccer (aka football) 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. Liverpool Football Club is owned by John Henry (who also owns the Red Sox), so if you're a Sox fan, you just might catch a glimpse of team members around the bar. Non-soccer fans will appreciate the extensive bar-food menu and the "alternative Irish" vibe - Guinness is a mandatory drink order.
Pooley's Sports Bar and Event Center (Madison, Wisconsin)
It's all about football at Pooley's: They show every game, supplemented with a killer happy hour ($2 rail drinks and $2.50 Spotted Cow or Capital Seasonal pints and free popcorn and peanuts). You can even catch a ride on the Pooley Express to all University of Wisconsin-Madison Badger home football games.
Quality Athletics (Seattle, Washington)
Quality Athletics in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood boasts that it is "not your Daddy's sports bar," as it features a large grill, outdoor fire pits, and an Astroturf back bar. Seahawks fans pile in for the Seahawks brunch, served during home games. Tame all the beer you're certain to ingest with the Bowl of Shame, a delicious mess of country fried potatoes, carnitas, black beans, and avocado, all topped with a poached egg.
Ricky's Sports Theatre & Grill (San Leandro, California)
A large fleet of TVs - over 90, 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.
Sam's Sports Grill (Nashville, Tennessee)
Nashville Scene Magazine, Maxim, and MSNBC all agree: If you're going to watch sports in Nashville, this local chain is the place to be. Each Sam's outpost is complete with the full game experience: Waitstaff decked out in referee outfits and team jerseys, a long beer list, a full bar-food menu with acclaimed ribs, chicken fingers, and pizza, and plenty of HDTVs - not a bad seat in the house.
Sam' Sports Grill/Yelp
Side Street Inn on Da Strip (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Side Street Inn has two locations, which consistently win awards from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Honolulu Magazine, including Best Bar and Best Sports Bar. Rub shoulders with sports pros and local chefs while chowing down on unpretentious comfort food, and watch big-screen TVs with a pint (or six) of their signature Side Street Inn Rogue Ale.
Sluggers World Class Sports Bar & Grill (Chicago, Illinois)
Sluggers, which calls itself a "sports bar on steroids," is the spot to hit up if you're a sports fan in Chicago. The place, located in an area near Wrigley Field called Wrigleyville, has indoor batting cages, Pop-A-Shot basketball, Skee-Ball, air hockey, and more. It's an ESPN favorite and locals love that they can get a bucket of wings alongside 50-plus beer options, as well as the daily drink deals and the opportunity to stare at over 30 TVs (six of them 10-footers).
Society Sports and Spirits (Denver, Colorado)
Society is a true college and NFL football destination: They support teams all over the country, and are an official alumni bar of Ole Miss, West Virginia, the Arkansas Razorbacks, the University of Houston Cougars, and the University of Iowa Cyclones. They can play sound for as many as seven games at the same time, have multiple rooms as well as private booth seating, and after every touchdown, they play the school fight song.
Spirit of 77 (Portland, Oregon)
Esquire magazine called Spirit of 77 an "inspired re-imagining of the American sports bar," and they deem themselves a "Portland-centric bar for the sporting enthusiast." You won't be lacking in games to watch, as they've got the NFL Sunday Ticket, ESPN Gameplan, and the NBA League Pass. Throw your game day party in their upstairs event space, called the Lil' Spirit, which features flat-screen TVs and its own mini-bar.
Spirit of '77/Yelp
The Stadium View Bar & Grill (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
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 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.
Standings (New York, New York)
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, with 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 10-plus draft selections (many of them craft) are always just an arm's reach away.
State (Chicago, Illinois)
Even if you aren't a sports fanatic, it's worth heading to State if only for the food - a white truffle burger, pretzel fondue, and sweet kale 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 draft beer selection: 100 total. We'll take it.
Stats Brewpub (Atlanta, Georgia)
What makes Stats stand out from the others? Nearly 16,000 square feet 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 during a particularly intense inning - and that's on top of the five bars. This mecca of sports also serves classic American bar food, with a long list of draft beers.
Courtesy of STATS Food + Drink
The Tavern (Austin, Texas)
Forty-six 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 you're an Austin Gooner (a dedicated supporter of England's Arsenal Football Club), the place opens early on game days so that fans can get a head start on merrymaking.
Tony C's Sports Bar & Grill (Boston, Massachusetts)
Tony C's is a Boston chain named to honor Tony Conigliaro, the legendary Red Sox outfielder. They have over 40 draft beers and numerous specialty cocktails, such as the Im"pear"sible Dream, named for the Boston Red Sox's phenomenal 1967 season, when the Red Sox finished first in the American League and reached the World Series (though they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals). It was during this dream season that Tony C was hit in the face by a pitch, causing a serious eye injury. He made an incredible recovery, but the injury eventually derailed his career, though his bravery and struggle earned him the loyalty of fans everywhere.
Tony C's Sports Bar & Grill/Yelp
Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Walk-On's is the passion project of two Louisiana State University alumni, Jack Warner and Brandon Landry, which may explain why the Louisiana chain is such a favorite among locals. It was ranked the No. 1 Sports Bar in America by ESPN, and All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees joined as a partner in 2015. Walk-On's continues to draw in sports-hungry fans with traditional Southern bites like Louisiana catfish, crawfish, and jumbo Gulf shrimp. Try one of their signature drinks, the Bench Warmer, made from Jameson, Bacardi Gold, Chambord, and topped with Red Bull. You'll be so amped, you might not even notice your team is losing. Maybe.
Winking Lizard Tavern (Northern and Central Ohio)
Each of the 19 locations in northern and central Ohio has a curated draft beer list, including cult favorites like 3 Floyds Zombie Dust, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout. Watch OSU and the Browns while you chow down on BBQ Lizard Bones, a half slab of St. Louis-style ribs. Wash it down with one of their beer cocktails, such as the Crabby Balls, made from Fireball Whiskey and Crabbies ginger beer.
Courtesy of the Winking Lizard
Yard House (Austin, Texas)
Yard House claims to have the world's largest selection of draft beer, and we don't doubt them: They offer over 125 beers on tap at the bar. Even after the game has ended, stay for late-night happy hour, which includes half-off appetizers and pizza, and $4 off half-yards (literally, half a yard of beer). If that's got you thirsty, check out our ranking of the world's 50 best beers.
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