Food & Drink

The Best Sports Bar in Every NFL City

Published On 10/26/2015 Published On 10/26/2015
(716) Food and Sport
Courtesy of Harborcenter

Armadillo Grill

Forty-four TVs should be enough to watch the 10 or so NFL games that kickoff at the same time every "fall" and "winter" Sunday morning in Phoenix. That includes eight 60-plus-inch TVs around the center bar, which were newly installed last season. Cards and Packers fans show up in droves to enjoy the games and a Four Peaks beer made especially for the bar (aka the best brewery in the country, according to Thrillist readers). There's also free billiards during Monday Night Football, off-track betting for the gambling degenerates, and fried pickles and pan-fried chicken smothered in white mushroom sauce for the hungry.

Courtesy of Dantanna's

Dantanna's

It feels strange to call Dantanna's a sports bar, partially because of its steakhouse vibe. One of the owners says it's more like a “restaurant that happens to have TV screens,” but boy, does it have TVs! Twenty-one of them, to be exact, including nine on the outdoor patio, and one that's a massive 120x72 inches. The food -- Cajun chicken egg rolls, Asian steak skewers, and 8oz all-natural filets -- is bar food for people who aren't on a college student's budget. After the meal, grab a cigar in the humidor -- it fits 30 people, six TVs, and as many glasses of whiskey you can handle.

Max's Taphouse

The first thing any sane person does upon entering a sports bar is order a beer. At Max's, that means deciding between one of 102 on tap or 1,800 (1,800!) bottles (though, this being Baltimore, plenty of people are drinking Natty Boh). All of this helps explain why we named it one of the best beer bars in America, but it's also a legit sports bar in its own right. To wit: a tater (tot) bowl covered in pulled pork and nacho fixins, 21 TVs including a monstrous 100in flat-screen they bust out for big events, plus swarms of Saints fans joining even larger swarms of Ravens fans every Sunday. And on the odd years the Orioles decide to be good, their fans show up then too.

Courtesy of Bill Wippert/HarborCenter

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Though the 13,000sqft are owned by the guy who runs the town's football franchise (and the hockey one, too), that alone obviously doesn't make it a great sports bar. What makes it worthy of this list is that inside the enormous space in HarborCenter -- a hockey-themed play land connected to where the Sabres play -- hangs a 38x13-foot screen over the main bar, plus 70 TVs scattered elsewhere. Ask at any one of the three bars for the One Buffalo -- a specially made beer by Southern Tier. On the food side of things, the Queen City is represented with a take on the weck sammie (chicken on weck), Buffalo mac and cheese, and traditional Buffalo-style wings.

Steamer's Sports Pub

Steamer's is the NFL equivalent of a UN summit -- a sizable contingent of Panthers, Eagles, Browns, Steelers, and Dolphins fans come to watch games there every Sunday. And although Eagles fans alone take up 1,300sqft and have their own back room, there's plenty of space for everyone else, as 107 TVs guarantee everyone sees the game they want, no matter the sport.

It was super divey (manager-admitted) just two years ago, but nowadays, the 130+ bottles from all over the world make it a destination even for local beer nerds. If you visit on a slow sports-watching night, foosball, pool, darts, and karaoke four times a week will keep you occupied.

The Fifty/50

The Fifty/50

At The Fifty/50, you're greeted with a "Packers Suck" banner and a smile. In fact, they take the Green Bay/Chicago rivalry so seriously that no Wisconsin beers are sold on game days and a 20lb cheese block is lit on fire after every Bears TD. The tri-level bar also offers 20+ flat-screen TVs, an outdoor patio, and some of the tastiest/freakishly large chicken wings in the city. Prepare to eat no fewer than 20 giant poultry appendages and leave feeling like a very-full champion (even when the Bears are hot trash).

rhinehaus

Cincinnati has plenty of great sports bars (Holy Grail, Good Fellows), but rhinehaus sets itself apart from the pack by offering 16 (mostly craft) taps (plus $1 Miller High Lifes during football games), and a place to enjoy breakfast and Premiere League games at the ass crack of dawn on weekends. Amid all the bar's exposed brick are 13 TVs, including one where you need it most -- above the urinal. And while there's no food served, you're welcome to bring in Gomez Salsa and Goodfellas' pizza from the nearby shops.

Courtesy of City Tap

City Tap

While Middleburg Heights' Brew Garden is a solid sports bar and the producer of one of the greatest commercials ever with a pro athlete, it's tough to beat City Tap for beer (44 taps from breweries like Great Lakes and Fat Head's are in constant rotation), food (get the Barnyard Burger with bacon, egg, and cheese), and general merriment during Cavs games. Colorful tap handles are hung on the wall like trophies, if you even notice them among the 16 TVs. And because it's situated close to where the Indians, Cavs, and Browns play, expect plenty of pre- and post-game revelers.

Christie's Sports Bar

There is not an angle in Christie's without a sight line to a TV, which is especially critical when the bar is crowded. Which it inevitably is. Fifty TVs will make sure you never miss a snap, dribble, pitch, or whatever it is hockey players do with a puck. There are even five different “zones for sound,” so you can listen to the audio. Twenty taps (featuring Deep Ellum and Ziegenbock), homemade chicken tenders, and basically every flavored vodka on the market (seriously!) round out the food and drink offerings. 

Courtesy of Tavern Downtown

Tavern Downtown

Because it's an official sponsor of the Broncos, one of the perks is that it runs a season-long contest where two bar patrons are whisked off to the Broncos sideline to hang out before every home game. Most people won't get to watch Peyton warm up, though, so one major draw for everyone else is the massive 11,000sqft rooftop patio, which offers views of both Coors Field and beautiful people enjoying the Mile High sunshine. And since the Rockies and Nuggets disappoint fans six months out of the year, billiards, foosball, mini bowling, local beers, and chicken nachos can distract those poor Coloradans in their time of need.

Harry's Detroit Bar

Not only does Harry's host plenty of pregaming fans before they hop on a free shuttle to nearby Lions, Red Wings, or Tigers games, it's also the home bar for the Detroit City Football Club. Any bar that accommodates around 300-500 obsessed minor league soccer fans before games is a bar for hardcore sports fans. Most of America doesn't even know we have major league soccer! The food and drink also help keep people loyal: cocktails are made with fresh juice and herbs, the fried pickles are beloved, and the burger meat is ground in-house (get The Baconater with two Angus steak burgers). When it's nice out, the patio's the place to be.

Stadium View Fan Page

Stadium View Bar & Grill

Twenty-plus-year-old Stadium View -- which would be a great name for a Barbara Walters-hosted sports talk show -- is located so close to Lambeau that you can damn near see the game from the bar's parking lot. But you can't actually, so it helps that all 30 of the TVs there are tuned to the Green Bay game at kickoff. The owner once said if he tried to show any other, he'd be killed. We believe him.

There are 100K people living in Green Bay, and if they're not inside Lambeau during the game, they're probably here, drinking from the 25 taps (including selections from Wisconsin's beloved New Glarus) and eating breaded and deep-fried cheese curds.

Beer Market Co.

You can't talk about Beer Market -- one of the best beer bars in Houston -- without mentioning its 400ish taps. Which is why we just did that! Houston's own Buffalo Bayou is a local bestseller at the bar, and is likely imbibed faster whenever Brian Hoyer touches the ball. Thirty TVs blare the sound from Texans games, but since Beer Market not affiliated with any other fan base or alumni group, if you show up early enough, they'll make sure the game you want is on wherever you want it. And when you're eating its Mac 'n Cheese Burger with a half-pound of beef topped with mac and bacon, you can't lose no matter how your team does. Just don't fill up on the pretzels and cheese dip first. Or, you know, 400 beers. That would be dangerous.

Chatham Tap

Chatham Tap

In a state that's so basketball crazy it inspired the movie Hoosiers, its best bar is a soccer bar? Believe it. On the strength of its top-notch pub food (wings with house-made sauce, fish & chips) and its passionate support of the other kind of football, Chatham Tap is the best sports bar in Indianapolis (and it's a locals bar). The 23 taps, including local faves like Sun King and Daredevil Brewing, fuel the soccer fans who show up at 7:30am to watch Premiere League games, and often, by the time 10am rolls around, six different games are being shown at once and the bar is mobbed. Though the space is a little roomier when the Colts play.

Kickbacks Gastropub

The numbers here speak for themselves: 180 taps, 1,600+ bottles. If that's not enough to help Jacksonville residents through the chore known as watching 60 minutes of Jags football, nothing will be. There's a fantastic mix of domestic (including local faves like Bold City and Engine 15) and international brews, all of which go nicely with the garlic/lemon pepper Jill's Way wings and Harpoons skewers (mahi and jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon). Sixteen TVs can keep sports fans occupied in the event they're not in a complete food stupor by halftime.

Courtesy of The Blue Line

The Blue Line

Though Kansas City doesn't have a pro hockey team, its best sports bar is a hockey bar. People are still packed together in there like commuters on the NYC subway during rush hour for all Chiefs and Royals games, but its dedication to Canada's favorite pastime is evidenced by walls covered in autographed Gretzky and Orr jerseys. And there are celebratory $1 Blue Line shots whenever the Blues or Blackhawks score. Grab a Boulevard on tap, order up some burn-your-face-off wings (hockey joke!), and... is that a Canadian flag on the wall? Like we said, it's a hockey bar.

Duffy's Sports Grill

Since the departure of LeBron James and anything resembling "hope" for the Marlins, a sports bar in Miami is going to have to offer a lot more than big TVs to get anyone to go. Then again, Miami's always been more about the party than the game. This spot right on the Intracoastal Waterway has all day, every day two-for-one drinks, a giant swimming pool to enjoy them in, and, of course, the Miami-required live nightly DJ.

KEANE AMDAHL/Thrillist

Rail Station Bar & Grill

Any sports bar worth its salt has superb wings, and The Rail Station happens to be one of the eight best wing spots in all of Minneapolis. Start with the Korean BBQ style, then head into the main course with the blue cheese-stuffed Drunkin' Lucy. Pair it all with something from one of the 40 taps that feature the Twin Cities finest like Surly, Summit, and Indeed, and/or a free Jell-O shot every time the Vikings score. If the Vikes game is boring, there are 18 other TVs you're welcome to watch.

Cask 'n Flagon

Look, if this pick was based on number of TVs alone then it would go to the Sports Grille on Canal St. If we just chose the bar that served the best food and drink, you can’t top Inman Square’s Parlor Sports -- it’s connected to Trina’s, and that’s all you need to know. But for best overall, we'll take Cask's huge island bar with 39 beers and specialty ‘tails, 64 high-def screens, and a crap ton of standing room since the place holds 960 people (!!). Not only that, it's upped its food game and now serves a tasty lineup of steak tips, BBQ, and baby back ribs. Throw in its history and proximity to Fenway (it's right across the street), and we have to second ESPN’s nod to the Cask as one of America’s best sports bars.

Tracey's Original Irish Channel Bar

Tracey's Bar

It says something about New Orleans and its food obsession that the only two contenders for the spot were Cooter Brown’s and Tracey’s, two full-fledged, 20+ TV sports bars that also happen to have oyster bars. And although a dozen briny Gulf bivalves can take you a long way while watching the Saints, Tracey’s po-boys bring the Irish Channel spot out on top. You’ll want a roast beef -- it’s one of the best in the city -- and and at least 12 napkins, since you’re about to be covered in delicious debris, plus an order of gravy cheese fries for good measure. Also, go get some oysters shucked; you deserve ‘em after another Saints game.

Croxley Ales

The 20-cent wings are damn good, plus, this East Village hotspot's got a solid craft beer selection, a crowd not entirely comprised of Giants fans mad that ODB hasn't caught something one-handed yet, and a free Friday buffet from 5-7pm at the bar. If large amounts of free food isn't your thing, it should be.

Flickr/Jason Lam

Blondies

With 42 TVs (with sound!), excellent Buffalo wings, and a wide variety of cheap pitchers, Blondies is the essential New York sports bar. It gets crowded on game day, but that's the atmosphere you want when watching Ryan Fitzpatrick's immaculate beard complete a pass. That thing is powerful. Oh, and Monday night is all-you-can-eat wings.

The Grand Oaks Sports Bar

Though you may not run into Raiders owner Mark Davis (he is more of a Hooters guy), GO is one of those spots that just seems like your standard sports bar experience (flat-screens, brick, tables, beers, huzzah) until you get to the food and try the ridiculously addictive Thai chicken tacos. Or its fried avocado tacos with spicy slaw. Or the lemongrass beef sliders. All of which might make the Raiders likely heading for a 7-9 season all the more palatable.

Courtesy of Founding Fathers

Founding Fathers

Four scores and seven beers ago, Founding Fathers brought forth on this city a new bar, conceived on South Street, and dedicated to the proposition that no one should pay a cover for a sports bar. And like the owner says, once you're inside, “there's not a bad seat in the house” -- all 13 TVs are strategically placed. Once you're settled at the slick, modern bar, the chicken/bacon/ranch Athletic Club tacos and the brisket/short rib Cooperstown Burger with maple bourbon bacon jam should erase any hunger pangs. Or sadness from having to watch the Sixers suffer through another 60 loss season.

Blue Line Grille

Phil Bourque and Bill Guerin have both won Stanley Cups with the Penguins, but they also co-own the bar Blue Line Grill -- the best sports bar in Pittsburgh -- which is surely an honor way more meaningful to them. Penguins fans will like seeing the tons of Pens memorabilia around the bar, but with 27 TVs and a place to watch every NHL game (plus the usual Sunday Ticket and college football packages), the place is pretty inclusive to fans of all persuasions. Pair the hockey action with nachos that star housemade chips and queso, Bourque's burger the Ol' Two-Niner, and an exclusive Double IPA from North Country Brewing also, erm, called the Ol' Two-Niner.

The Post Sports Bar & Grill

The Post Sports Bar & Grill

Sure, The Post has great wings, cheesesteaks, and that tasty gyro you see in the photo. And yeah, it has 30+ TVs and 20 seasonal taps with local breweries like Schlafly. But getting to draft at The Post Bar is like no where else. You'll be set up with a war room outfit with a huge TV with draft software, and you'll feel like you're drafting real-life players for a real life team, and not your fantasy league with five guys you went to high school with. Even better? It has a Superdraft once a year in August -- it's 10ish hours and 66 rounds where you can draft players from all four sports. It costs $400 to enter, it will consume your life for an entire year, and is basically the best contest a bar has ever come up with.

Bub's at the Ballpark

Located in the shadow of Petco Park, Bub's patio illustrates why people live in San Diego: you can enjoy the beautiful California weather practically year-round in the shade of an umbrella, drink an Alesmith or Saint Archer, while watching the game on two mobile TVs they set up on the patio itself. And that's in the winter. During halftime, practice free throws on their indoor 12ft basketball hoop. And although a recent menu change kept the specialty tots it's known for (Buffalo wing tots!), they've also added dishes that take boring sports bar food to the next level, like the Jambalaya Skillet with chicken, shrimp, and sausage, and Louisiana skillet butter.

San Francisco Athletic Club

San Francisco Athletic Club

In SF, there are some legendary places to watch football (Kezar Pub, Greens, 3300 Club, etc.) and revel in the legend and nostalgia. Having opened in 2014, SFAC is not one of those places. But what it lacks in nostalgia, it makes up for in a crazy amount of televisions, reservable, comfortable booths, and some of the best sports bar food and drinks in the city (get the dry jerk and sriracha chili wings, plus the Slaw Dog Millionaire, plus a literal, actual bathtub of beers). And frankly, with Kaepernick suddenly looking like he has quarterback amnesia, and a head coach who seems like a very nice man who was picked out of a hat to run the squad, it might just be better to focus on what you’ll have for lunch. 

Quality Athletics

Opened last year -- by the crew behind some of Seattle's hottest restaurants -- in what used to be part of the Centurylink Field parking lot, this spot focuses more on straight-forward quality than the typical athletics-oriented hang (so much so that this very website put QA on its best new bars and best new burgers of the year lists). The result? An impressive space that, in addition to sweet eats like three different kinds of wings, slow-roasted duck, and andouille sausage, it has tons of flat-screens, a slushy machine, a rooftop garden, fire pits, plus a slew of sports-inspired design touches like AstroTurf, that's perfect to post up on anytime you just REALLY need a drink or the Mariners are playing.

Bilmar Station

Bilmar Station

Bilmar's only been open since 2001, but it feels like a serious throwback for the sole fact that you can smoke in there. Even writing this as a non-smoker, there's something about being in a smoke-filled dive watching football that makes me a bit misty for the good old days. Luckily, Bilmar's got way better food than most dives, including Guy-style wings (fried and dipped in hot sauce, and then re-fried and coated in garlic and Cajun seasoning). The ceiling is festooned with multiple flags from sports teams from all across the country -- if your team's not up there, the motto is “if you bring it, we'll hang it." Florida's own Big Storm is one brewery out of 20 on tap , and dartboards and a vintage Playboy pinball machine are there to keep you occupied when a game turns into a blowout.

Double Dogs

Having just opened in April, Double Dogs has technology some of the older sports bars can't touch: a “soundbox” delivered to your table so you can hear audio from any one of the games being shown. There's also 32 separate TVs to watch, including an enormous set of screens smushed side-by-side that can either combine to show one game or nine separate ones. For food, Bo's Dog Bowl Nachos are served in an, umm, dog bowl (guaranteed to never have been previously used by an actual dog!) with chili, sausage, and Jack cheese, plus 18 drafts that include local faves Yazoo and Blackstone.

Redline

Despite being steps from the Verizon Center where the Capitals play, this isn't a hockey bar. In fact, it resembles a Vegas sportsbook in one respect, something sure to warm your gambling degenerate friend's cold, long-dead heart. All the teams playing that day are displayed on a train station-like board (with the spreads!) around an enormous TV -- one of 40+ in the bar. And because there's nothing worse than waiting for a busy bartender to pour you a beer, bring a few friends and get a booth with a Table Tap in it, where you can easily pour your own beers all afternoon long. Like the bar itself, the food skews modern, with everything from basil-crusted salmon to lamb lollipops to a Kobe “haute” dog.