Drink Medieval Beer at the Jopenkerk Brewery in Haarlem
What better place to watch a Sox game, without a ticket, than in the actual stadium? Though the one-of-a-kind view and behind-the-scenes experience is best enjoyed on game day, Bleacher Bar is open 363 days a year. Formerly the visiting team’s batting cage, the space now offers fans framed Sox memorabilia and reasonably priced food and drink in a dingy, cavernous room that beats the heat of the bleacher seats directly above. Enter the bar next to the ticket window of Gate C and you’ll find yourself looking onto the centerfield lawn with only a gate (and other customers) obstructing the view. The three rows of seats closest to the window go quick, usually filling up hours before game time, but if you can make it inside you can still watch the game on the TVs behind the bar -- and the early bird fans are usually friendly enough to let you catch a brief glimpse from their well-earned vantage point. When it comes to stadium-side snacks, Bleacher Bar boasts “award-winning” food like brisket, pork belly, corned beef, and cuban and club sandwiches -- not to mention a variety of soups and salads.
One of Boston’s two go-to baseball bar destinations on the 1200 block of Boylston, The Baseball Tavern is by far the oldest. Serving it up since 1963, this four-floor baseball mecca has long been the place for fans without a ticket. Their semi-secret basement offers classic video games, bubble hockey, and an occasional rock show, while the two floors above are lined with TVs and non-stop game day excitement. The Tavern’s main attraction, however, is their open-air rooftop bar. While you can’t see into Fenway Park, you can see the right-field wall and you’re sure to hear every cheer, jeer, and gasp emanating from the stadium.
Named to honor Revere native and Red Sox legend, Tony Conigliaro, Tony C’s is a spacious restaurant and sports bar that almost feels like the size of a small stadium itself. The youngest person to lead the league in home runs, Conigliaro played an integral role in the Sox’s famous “Impossible Dream” season of 1967 before being plagued with unfortunate injuries. Over time his legacy became a career of perseverance and bravery. Now his name shines in neon at four different locations, but the one next to Fenway is surely the best. With more than 30 comfy leather seats running along one of the longest bars in Boston, Tony C’s offers up 20 drafts and coolers filled with sought after bottles. The bottom floor has floor-to-ceiling windows and 20 gigantic TVs -- not counting the three in the bathroom to make sure you don’t miss a moment. Go up to the top floor and the view only gets better. Their rooftop bar has a retractable roof and is painted in Green Monster green, which makes it feel like an extension of the stadium just across the street.
The closest you can get to Fenway without being in it, Cask 'n Flagon is a Boston sports institution. The roar of the crowd is ever-present and the hustle and bustle of fans shuffling down Lansdowne Street can sometimes be just as interesting as the game. You can feel the pulse of the stadium from your barstool. Watch the game from one of their 60 TVs while noshing on comfort pub grub featuring everything from pasta and pizzas to downhome BBQ. And keep your eyes out -- if someone blasts one over the Green Monster, it may just land outside.
Introducing Boston’s first out-and-proud gay sports bar. Located in the South End, Cathedral Station is decked out with dartboards, a pool table, and an exquisite patio perfect for al fresco sport viewing. Besides non-stop televised sports, the bar also hosts theme nights for karaoke, free pool, trivia, and discount wing specials. The vibe is casual and everyone is welcome. Oh, CS has one other notable amenity to help it stand out from practically every other sports bar in town: free parking!
Tucked away in Boston’s Back Bay on the second floor of the Copley Marriott, Champions bar wraps around in a semi-circle, and their 36 strategically placed 46-inch TVs give sports fans a perfect panoramic view of every game being televised. Their ceilings reach toward the sky providing a roomy atmosphere and a friendly mix of hotel guests and locals converge for their 36 drafts (including some local microbrews), a wall of liquor, and spirited conversation between fans of all kinds. Soup, sliders, nachos, burgers, and six different flavors of wings round out a menu that will satisfy anyone’s game day diet.
There are plenty of bars to pick from on the streets surrounding the home of the Celtics and Bruins, but The Fours is our favorite. With two floors decked out in brick, wood, and leather, the walls are heavily adorned with sports memorabilia. From framed jerseys and famous photos to autographed baseballs, The Fours celebrates Boston sports’ past and present like no place in town. Their lengthy food menu offers just about everything you can imagine and their burgers and sandwiches are named after famous area athletes. This place fills up quick and early if there’s a home game, so plan ahead. Come see why Sports Illustrated once called this place “America’s #1 Sports Bar.” That may be a stretch, but it’s still pretty great.
Built into the centerfield wall, Game On is located on-premises, but without that view inside that the neighboring Bleacher Bar boasts. While their street-level dining room and bar offers 16 coal-fired artisanal pizza options and an arsenal of TVs to take care of every part of your peripheral vision, their basement is outfitted with six spacious pingpong “suites,” a cornhole court, and access to the official batting cage of the Boston Red Sox.
For the more discerning sports appreciator, there is nowhere more gracious than Parlor Sports. Located at the Cambridge and Somerville town line, you won’t be close to any of the local stadiums, but that's all the better when it comes to parking and post-game traffic. Parlor is smaller than your typical Boston sports bar, but if there’s a game on, it’s on here. And if it’s not, you can request it and they’ll try to put it on the TV closest to you. Parlor opens early on weekends and otherwise at 6pm -- but if there’s a big morning match brewing, you can be assured they’ll open up even earlier. Serving upscale comfort food, craft beers, and even classic cocktails, the staff is sports-smart and friendly. A drop-down boxing mic falls from the ceiling if a bartender wants to make an announcement, and an antique boxing bell often gets rung if something epic goes down.
Just south of Southie, in neighboring Dorchester, you’ll find the Banshee… that is, if you’re looking for it. An Irish sports bar in a primarily residential neighborhood, the Banshee is known as the prime destination for all European sporting events. They focus on the Barclays Premier League, international rugby, and Gaelic football, and they are also the official pub of RISSC Boston, Celtic FC, and several other supporters' groups. Because of their focus on European sports, the Banshee opens up early and offers up an extensive breakfast menu to soak up the sights and the suds.