The Best Sports Bars in San Francisco
12 spots to root root root for the home team.
San Francisco is a weird town when it comes to sports. We have two professional teams that claim SF as home (Giants and 49ers), one that we’ve decided to claim for our home (Golden State Warriors), as well as a bunch of others scattered around the Bay. And yet—there’s a large number of people here who just don’t care about any of it. But you’re here and reading this article which means you are decidedly not one of those people (yay!) and have also probably noticed that SF is oddly lacking in really great places to watch sports. We’ve noticed that too, which is why we’ve visited all of them over the course of many years and have decided that the 13 on this list have all of the qualifications that make a sports bar a really good sports bar: walls of TVs, game sound, a full bar, plenty of beer on tap, good service, and lots of like-minded fans to high five when one of our local teams score.
Lower Nob Hill
Dive bar-meets-sports bar at this friendly watering hole where more Fernet shots are poured than anywhere else in the city. (We made up that statistic, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it were actually true). Watch your game on one of nine flatscreens, especially if you’re an Oregon Ducks or Cleveland Browns fan. And especially especially if you root for our home teams. No food, but like all sports bars in SF with no food, you can always bring it in.
Head to the Wreck Room to watch a game or play a game. (There’s shuffleboard, darts, Pop-A-Shot, pool, and skeeball). If watching the game is your priority, you’ll be happy to learn there are 13 TVs throughout the space, a full bar, and lots of beers on tap. The home teams are the favorite, but it’s also a Ducks bar on Saturday and a Jets bar on Sundays.
The thing that makes Blackthorn so great is that it’s just a typical sports bar (in the best way possible), something that’s oddly hard to find in San Francisco. It’s got a chill vibe, tons of seating (including a few comfy booths), 20 HDTVs with two sound zones that show all of the NFL, MLB, MLS, and NBA games, as well as UFC and boxing pay-per-view events, an outside patio with a TV, 14 beers on draft, a full bar, pool tables (free during happy hour), and WiFi. They also open early on weekends for college and NFL football, so you won’t ever miss an early kickoff (10 am on Saturdays and 9:15 am on Sundays). There isn’t food, but Blackthorn has a book of menus if you want to order something to be delivered (or just pop across the street and get the famous wings from San Tung).
The Bus Stop has been an SF institution since 1919, and it’s still jam-packed whenever there’s a big game (and all weekend long during football season). There are 26 flat-screen TVs across two rooms, and the back room is also where you’ll find two pool tables, Big Buck Hunter, and Ms. Pac-Man. There’s a full bar (and good prices) but no kitchen; however, you can bring in food—or just fill up on buckets of beer.
Do you like hot dogs, sports, and beer? If you’re nodding vigorously, keep reading. Final Final (named for the round you swear is the last round, but never is) is a family-owned-and-run neighborhood sports bar that people from outside of the neighborhood frequent thanks to its 12 flat screens, full bar, 24 beers on tap, pool tables, dart boards, photo booth, jukebox with 250,000 songs that you can play from an app (not during an important game, obviously), U-shaped bar, free popcorn, and totally mediocre food (seriously, they have the Papa Murphy’s “Take N’ Bake” pizzas on the menu) that tastes delicious after a couple of strong drinks (and they’re almost always strong drinks). Final Final has all of the sports packages, and while they play all of the games, they attract fans of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Iowa Hawkeyes, as well as the Vikings, Broncos, and Niners.
This enormous space in the heart of Union Square lacks any of SF’s notorious dive bar “charm,” but what it lacks in gritty allure, it makes up for with 100 beers (on tap and in bottles), a full bar, pub fare, 20+ screens, two shuffleboard tables, three Skee-Ball games, two foosball tables, air hockey, Big Buck Hunter, Golden Tee, old school arcade games, pool tables, and every sports package provided by DIRECTV®. It’s like our very own version of Dave & Buster’s. But better ‘cause it’s not Dave & Buster’s.
This classic sports bar has been catering to the Marina/Russian Hill bro crowd since 1988. Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with catering to Marina bros as long as your expectations are set and you’re okay with a loud, possibly rowdy crowd. If so, then Greens is a fantastic place to watch the game. There are 25 TVs, a full bar, 18 beers on tap, walls covered with sports memorabilia, and the service is fast (especially considering the crowds). Though there isn’t food, you can bring it in from anywhere (you can’t go wrong with Nick’s Crispy Tacos, which is a block away).
Hi Tops’ slogan is “Cold pitchers; Hot catchers,” which tells you a lot about the bar, but not everything. Here’s the rest of it: there are 26 flat-screen TVs, attentive bartenders, shuffleboard, and good food (especially for a sports bar). The fried chicken sandwich or house-made corn dog are the way to go, and, best of all: they have IT’S-IT ice cream for dessert. The bar gets crowded during games, but also for people who hit it up on Tuesday for trivia and Thursdays for whiskey shots and go-go boys. Worth pointing out: Hi Tops is SF’s only gay sports bar, which c’mon SF, get it together.
This pub across from Kezar Stadium (it was actually there before the Niners played there, which means it’s pretty old for an SF sports bar) caters to fans of both kinds of football and has the space to handle the masses. There are 20 TVs in two different rooms (plus a parklet), 20 beers on tap (which you can get by the pitcher), a full bar, “world-famous” wings that are certainly not world-famous but are definitely tasty (as are the Irish nachos if you’re into pub fries with nacho toppings), a full breakfast menu on the weekends, AND it’s open for every single soccer game (it’s the official home of the Liverpool FC supporters club of SF), no matter the hour. In fact, the only thing that makes Kezar Pub not our favorite place on earth is the Eagles fans who sing “Fly, Eagles, Fly” after every touchdown. It’s enough to drive a person to drink. Luckily, you’re in the right spot for that.
Lower Pacific Heights
Saying a sports bar is the city’s best sports bar is certain to piss some people off who swear by wherever they love to watch the game, and while we get why certain watering holes are near and dear to people’s hearts, there’s just no argument that a place with six TVs is better than a bar with 28 HD screens (including two 80-inch screens), nine sound zones, and bathtubs of beer (yes, you read that last part right). SFAC also has booths with personal sound systems that seat 8-14 people (and can be reserved), a full bar, and an extensive menu with all of your favorite bar food dishes (including six kinds of hot dogs), and a pool table and shuffleboard for when the game is too painful to keep watching. Lastly, it’s one of the only sports bars in the city where you can watch the game while sitting outside. In this case, six TVs across the back patio and the front parklet. (In Oakland? Check out the Athletic Club Oakland, which has all of this great stuff, including outdoor seating with TVs.)
This Noe Valley sports bar has everything you need for a top-notch sports viewing experience: 17 HDTVs inside, 40 beers on top, a three-level outdoor beer garden with heaters, six outdoor TVs, one pool table, and lots of friendly bartenders. The only bummer is they don’t serve food, but you’re allowed to bring it in—and Paxti’s Pizza (Chicago-style) is right next door, so maybe that’s not really a bummer at all.
Yancy’s feels like a basement rec room from another era where everyone went to hang out after school. There’s tons of kitschy décor/clutter, the upholstery on the couches and booths has likely never been cleaned (same goes for the carpet), and you get the sense that you should probably take a shower before you go to bed. But there are also 14 TVs, five of which are over 40 inches, three dartboards, lots of seating, cheap drinks, and surprisingly pretty glass light fixtures over the bar (that last part is us trying to make up for the carpet comment). No food, but you can bring in takeout (of which there is no shortage).
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