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11 Of The Best Sports Bars In (North) America

by: Esteban On  Friday, January 20, 2012

best sports bars

The other day I was thinking about where I’d like to watch the Super Bowl this year (since, you know, it’s right around the corner). And since a trip to Indianapolis is not in the budget, my thoughts turned to sports bars. But then I started to wonder—if I could watch the game at any sports bar anywhere, which would it be?

So I put together this list. And I’ve got to be honest: I can’t really say that these are without a doubt the best sports bars in (North) America. After all, isn’t the “best” bar always just the one at which you feel most at home?

That being said, all of these places look totally awesome for one reason or another, and I will definitely keep them in mind when I go to these cities.

11. Barney’s Beanery (Westwood, CA)

best sports bars barneys beanery westwood

There are several Barney’s Beaneries in the Los Angeles area, but this one is supposed to be the “best” thanks to it’s proximity to the UCLA campus.

I’ve decided it belongs on the list simply because it has the most awesome (i.e. comfortable) looking bar seats I’ve ever seen. There’s also outdoor seating (required in Southern California), air hockey, and video games. And their futuristic wall of giant screens is pretty awesome, too.

10. Cheli’s Chili Bar (Detroit)

best sports bars cheli's chili bar

Cheli’s has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s named after owner Chris Chelios, one of the greatest and most bad-ass hockey players of all time (the dude played in the NHL from 1983 to 2010, when he was 47 years old). Also, it’s called a chili bar, which is amazing. Then, of course, there are the 36 HDTVs, the huge outdoor patio, and the proximity to Detroit’s biggest sports venues.

The only reason Cheli’s isn’t higher on the list is the fact that, yes, it is in downtown Detroit. So if it’s not gameday, you probably don’t want to be there.

(I don’t mean to be a Detroit-hater. I feel bad for Detroit. But you can’t ignore reality, you know?)

9. Major Goolsby’s (Milwaukee)

best sports bars major goolsby's

On this list, there are basically two types of sports bars: old-school and new-school. So how do you tell which is which?

If there is memorabilia covering every inch of the walls and the menu has “cheeseburgers,” you’re in an old-school sports bar.

If there are concrete ceilings with exposed ducts and plumping and the menu has “kobe beef sliders,” you’re in a new-school sports bar.

Major Goolsby’s in Milwaukee is an old-school sports bar. Still, it’s not like you’re in your grandpa’s basement or anything. They do have 45 HDTVs so you won’t miss a second of the action.

8. Jillian’s (Boston)

best sports bars jillian's boston

This place isn’t a sports bar. It’s an entertainment complex that also has a sports bar. Which is kind of awesome.

Composed of 70,000 square feet and 3 floors, Jillian’s has 50 pool tables, a 16-lane and a 6-lane bowling alley, more than 50 TVs, and an 800 square foot video wall.

If you just want to sit and watch sports instead of playing them, then head to the lounge.

Oh, and did I mention this place is across the street from Fenway Park?

7. Chickie’s and Pete’s (Philadelphia)

best sports bars chickies & petes

This place says they’re famous for they’re “Crab Fries,” which are basically just regular french fries with “Old Bay Seasoning” on them—a special super-salty crab seasoning developed by bars to make patrons more thirsty and, thus, inclined to purchase more beverages.

From everything I’ve read, “Crab Fries” are kind of overrated. Nevertheless, Chickie’s & Pete’s is supposed to be a pretty great place to watch a game. The South Philadelphia location boasts 18 private suites, one 12-foot HD projector, and two 10-foot HD projectors. Plus, attached to the regular sports bar is a new “interactive sports bar” called Play2, which features 18 “amusement pod entertainment centers” (where you basically play video games, watch the game, or do whatever you want).

6. Standings Bar (New York)

best sports bar standings bar

If you’re looking for an old-school sports bar to watch the big game, they don’t get any better than Standings. The walls have as much memorabilia per square inch as any sports bar you’ve ever seen, and there are only 8 TVs. Cute, right?

But don’t worry. Though there are only 8 TVs, the game takes center stage here. According to the owner, “Standings hates music.” So they blare the game audio instead of Nickelback.

On top of all that, this place is a haven for real beer drinkers. They have 10 taps dedicated to a rotation of fine microbrews. (It’s my kind of place.)

5. Stats (Atlanta)

stats sports bar

Unlike our previous entry, Stats is one of those new-school sports bars. And that’s okay.

Actually, Stats isn’t really one bar. It’s a complex with five bars. And within those five bars (some inside, some outside) are 70 HDTVs.

But the coolest thing about this place aren’t the plethora of bars and TVs. It’s the fact that they have “tap tables,” which are exactly what they sound like: tables that have beer taps in the middle of them so you can just pour your own beer. (Be careful, though, cause that sounds like an easy way to run up a huge bill.)

4. Stadium View Bar and Grille (Green Bay)

best sports bars stadium view bar and grille

Before I get started, let me say that I am not from Wisconsin and I am not a Packers fan. However, I do try to be objective about sports (occasionally), so I recognize awesome sports traditions and fans when I see them. And man, it would be a hell of a lot of fun to be a Packers fan in Green Bay on Sundays from September to January.

If I were such a person, the Stadium View Bar and Frille (right across the street from Lambeau Field) would be the place to be.

It’s not about the number of TVs or the square footage or the leather sofa’s and chanderliers (see #2). It’s about the atmosphere on Sundays during football season, when an estimated 6,000-8,000 patrons pass through their doors.

Of course, after saying all this, I wouldn’t want to watch the Super Bowl at Stadium View this year. Yikes.

3. Lagasse’s Stadium (Las Vegas)

best sports bars lagasses stadium

Pretty much any sportsbook at any of Las Vegas’s major casinos would be a great place to watch (and wager on) a game. But right now, the king of Vegas sportsbooks is Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo.

This space was originally the site of the 40/40 Club Las Vegas, an attempt by Jay-Z to expand his famous Manhattan sports bar (see #2) out west. For whatever reason, 40/40 Las Vegas shut down after only 8 months, and not long after the space was bought by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.

Now, the joint not only has over 100 HD TVs (including a 16×9 foot monster), luxury boxes, plush stadium-style seating, billiard tables, and an outdoor patio; but you can also get game-day food created by one of the world’s most famous chefs.

So if I were in Vegas on Super Bowl Sunday, this is where you would find me.

2. 40/40 Club (New York)

best sports bars 40-40-Club

Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club just reopened this week in Manhattan after a lengthy $10 million renovation. The private event was supposed to be the first public appearance by Mr. Z’s wife, Beyonce, after the birth of their daughter. But she was a no-show.

Anyway, the already swanky lounge-like sports bar got even swankier. Now it’s got four 165-inch Samsung flat screens, leather sofas, chandeliers, and gold-plated bats and other things mounted on the walls.

Jay-Z says he “wanted to retain the feel of a club house” after the redesign. Of course, I’m not sure what teams have a bunch of golden bats mounted on the wall, but whatever. I bet this is a kick-ass place to watch the game.

1. Real Sports Bar and Grill (Toronto)

real sports bar toronto

There are a lot of factors that make up a great sports bar—ambiance, decor, technological sophistication, location.

But if all you really want at the end of the day is to find a place that simply immerses you in the game, then you need to catch a flight to Toronto and head to the Real Sports Bar and Grill.

Why? Because this two-story 25,000 square foot sports palace has 199 HDTVs, one of which is 39 feet wide.

There’s also a huge menu of fancified pub food, at least 20 beers on tap, some cool deocrations, yada yada yada. But the real draw here is the viewing experience, which is unmatched.

Super Bowl on a 39-foot screen? Yes please.