Game Time: The Best Sports Bars in Philly
Sure, it sucks that summer will soon be officially over, but look at it this way: it’s also the start of our second-favorite season (football), and the end of our least favorite (the Phillies), which means it’s time to start spending some serious time in one of Philly’s best sports bars...
Graduate Hospital newcomer Founding Fathers has only been open since December of last year, so the full football experience is still (technically) up in the air. But if March Madness is any indication, this boozer may be hard to top for sports watching, thanks to ample TVs, a great beer selection, and open layout. The menu also features some elevated takes on the standard bar fare, so you’ll be able to get something a lot better than soggy fries and mediocre wings.
Located smack-dab outside the stadiums, Xfinity Live! is a sports lover’s mecca, with five separate bars where you can catch the game. Of the options, the centerpiece NBC Sports Arena takes the top prize thanks to the 32ft LED screen, and live sports tickers. Be warned: it can be a cluster-F post-game, so your best bet is to head there when the Birds (or Phils) are out of town.
If you’ve lived in Philly longer than a few weeks, odds are you’ve been to one of the area’s Chickie’s & Petie’s (or at least have had its crab fries). Of the options, the South Philly location near the stadiums might be the best place to watch a game when the Phillies or Birds are playing -- it’s close enough that you can tailgate in the lots and head to C’s&P's for the game if you don’t have tickets.
While we might not recommend heading to there for the late-night scene, Field House is one the better places to go if you are looking for the multiple-game experience. The place is huge, has dozens of TVs, and is one of the few sports bars in the city where you might not get trampled if you can’t snag a seat. Field House usually has some good specials running during the games, and its wings are on point, so it checks off pretty much all the requirements of a good sports bar.
Queen Village/South Street
Located across from the Headhouse Shambles in Queen Village, Cavanaugh’s looks like any small Irish pub, that is until you head upstairs to discover the seemingly endless amount of space. Thanks to a creative layout, there are several smaller bar rooms upstairs, making it a great place if you want to limit the confusion that comes from trying to watch a dozen games simultaneously. Plus, Cavanaugh’s has some pretty decent natural light going on, which you can’t say about most other sports spots (cough, Tavern on Broad, cough).
Just because you are watching the game doesn’t mean the food has to suck, right? If you’re looking for some of the best bar food around -- it feels unfair to even call it “bar food” -- Misconduct is the place to go. It also has a great beer selection and enough room at the bar to grab a seat, as long as you come early. Your wallet will probably be a little bit lighter once you leave, but if you are looking to save a few bucks, there’s always the next one on our list.
Located a few blocks from Misconduct, the ‘Vous definately has a much more any-bar-USA vibe going on, making it the neighborhood's best dive bar. But what the ‘Vous lacks in flash, it makes up for in character. It has cheap drinks, bar food galore (including fries that will make you want to visit the cardiologist the next day), and TVs of varying levels of definition. The Locust Rendezvous is pretty symbolic of the Phillies this year -- it’s definitely seen better days but can be fun every once in a while. Oh, and it’s old as hell.
Of the City Tap Houses around the city, the Logan Square location is the one you’ll want to head to come game time. It’s technically not a “sports bar,” since you might be sharing the space with people brunching, but it’s got a giant TV, more than enough seats near the bar, and a seriously impressive craft beer list. If there’s beer and the game is on, you can call it whatever you want.
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Despite living in Philadelphia, Dan is an unrepentant Steelers fan -- he does, however, feel bad for what Eagles fans go through every year. You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram @dannypageviews.