The Best Sports Bars in NYC

Spots to cheer on your favorite team and watch the upcoming Olympics.

New York City is as much a sports town as it is anything else. We have more baseball, football, basketball, soccer, and hockey teams to cheer on than anywhere else in the country. And we’re also a city of transplants, meaning fandom is fractured beyond even our city’s disparate Yankees and Mets, so arguments with fellow New Yorkers over whose favorite team reigns supreme is nothing new.

With the controversial 2020 Tokyo Olympics starting this week, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite sports bars to watch the games at. From new outdoor spots to NYC stalwarts that have witnessed more emotions than a junior high school cafeteria, these are the NYC sports bars to try when you really want your team to win.

Tailgate
Photo courtesy of Tailgate Outdoor Sports Bar

Now that outdoor dining is here to stay, it was only a matter of time before NYC had its very own outdoor sports bar. Opened during the pandemic and located on Wythe Avenue, each table at Tailgate is spaced out eight feet apart, can accommodate up to ten guests, and has its own 65” TV. The food menu includes sandwiches, burgers, and sides like Texas toast. For drinks, order specialty beer buckets, wine, and cocktails, or go big with bottle service on top shelf alcohol. Reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance.

Blondies

Upper West Side

Blondies is a popular sports bar and solid dive with lots of TVs, bar menu standards, and reasonably priced drinks (2 for 1 happy hour, anyone?). The spot is especially known for their wings and personable staff who’ll make even UWS interlopers feel welcome, while making regulars feel like they’re cheering on the game from a crowded stadium.

Bounce Sporting Club

Flatiron District

This sports lounge in Flatiron has over 20 TVs on premises and takes the work out of ordering your favorite game day treats with their special BSC All-Star Combo Platter served with mozzarella sticks, grilled jumbo shrimp, mac n’ cheese bars, fried chicken striped, wings, and Korean-inspired wings. In the evenings, the venue also hosts special events and parties that could have you dancing until 2 in the morning.

Boxers

Chelsea

The original Chelsea location of this gay sports bar opened in 2010, and while their Washington Heights and Hell’s Kitchen spots have now closed, a new Hell’s Kitchen Boxers is set to open in the fall. Here, all of the bartenders are shirtless and wear a uniform of, you guessed it, boxers. Come for the sports, and stay for the weeknight 2-for-1 happy hour specials from 4 pm-7 pm, Tuesday night karaoke, RuPaul’s Drag Race screenings, and more as #AmericasGaySportsBar.

If you’re tired of hearing about how the Bronx Alehouse is the borough’s best sports bar, maybe it’s time for you to open your own place. Or, you can save yourself the trouble and embarrassment, and slide on over for craft beer, a large menu of pub food, and games like darts, Skeeball, and Jenga to play in between the sports games you’re cheering on. Happy hour runs until 7 pm.

Croxley Ale House

Williamsburg

When Croxley moved from its Avenue B home of nearly 15 years in summer of 2017, it was a blow for the East Village, but their loss is Williamsburg’s gain. This large, TV-lined venue has over 100 varieties of beer between its bottles, taps, and cans, near-nightly food specials, and ample space to accommodate groups.

DaddyO’s is on the South Shore of Staten Island and offers southern barbecue and an abundant amount of TVs. The expansive food menu includes steaks, Mexican dishes, burgers, three foot heroes, and plenty of barbecue offerings like St. Louis ribs, pulled pork, hickory smoked brisket, and pastrami along with all of your favorite sides.

Between The Salty Dog, The Windy City Ale House, and The Kettle Black, Bay Ridge has carved out quite a niche as a sports bar destination. Along with a sister location in Staten Island, The Kettle Black’s Brooklyn spot offers specials throughout the week, like buy-one-get-one-half-off burger specials on Tuesdays and $.69 deals on their signature wings for the boneless variety on Mondays and the regular kind on Wild Wing Wednesdays. Nab a spot near the big windows up front to feel a little less guilty about spending a beautiful day watching TV inside.

Standings

East Village

Open since 2005, Standings remains the gold standard of NYC sports bars. As a celebration of all things sports, the soundtrack here doesn’t include music, but instead, is composed of athletes and their cheering fans only. All manner of memorabilia is welcome here, and expect Minnesota wrestling pennants hanging next to Jets jerseys. Rotating beers on tap, eight TVs, and a bring-your-own-food policy combine to reward fans who are able to fit into its cramped quarters.

Josie Woods Pub

Greenwich Village

Josie Woods is a true college bar located right by NYU. The bar’s walls are lined with TVs, the beers are reasonably priced, and the kitchen turns out more fried foods than you can shake a mozzarella stick at. Dart boards and pool tables keep the competitive momentum going during time-outs.

Lion's Head Tavern

Upper West Side

Touting itself as “Manhattan’s Mets Bar since 2002,” Lion’s Head offers big enough screens throughout the bar along with cocktails, beer, and food that includes eight varieties of wings ranging from barbecue and cajun to mild and “ass burner.” If you’re looking to catch a game during the day, take advantage of their happy hour from Mondays to Wednesdays at 11 am-7 pm for $10 specialty cocktails, $6 well drinks, and $2 off all draft beers.

Opened by a father-and-daughter team, Twist and Smash’d Sports has over 50 screens to watch the game and is known for their signature Twisted Nachos, an item inspired by a dish the duo tried on a trip to Ecuador, made with twisted potatoes. There are two full-size indoor bocce courts onsite for anyone looking to play, and in addition menu offerings like burgers, lobster mac n’ cheese, and frozen cocktails, a happy hour from Wednesdays to Fridays at 4 pm-7 pm includes $5 draft beer, $7 well cocktails, $6 wings, and $8 empanadas.

Tae Yoon was born and raised in Queens, and is the Editor of Thrillist New York.
Erik Helin is a contributor for Thrillist.