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The 15 best sports bars in NYC

Avoid the rambunctious crowds at typical sports bars and head to these lower-key spots to watch football, basketball and more

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Banter

With a long winter ahead and sports seasons just heating up, it’s important to find a good spot for settling in and watching the game. Here are five New York bars where you can root for your team without having to get too rowdy. Want to keep riding the vibe? Check out our pick of bro-free places for dudes to hang (ladies also welcome). And if you're feeling physically inspired by our selection of sports bars, then make your way to one of NYC's 20 best gyms. Let's get to it!

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The 15 best sports bars in NYC

Banter

Friendly groups of expats and soccer fans head to this spacious, European-style public house to cheer on their footy teams: In season, Premier League, La Liga, Champions League and MLS matches dominate the bar’s flat- and projector screens. The rotating selection of 24 taps includes American brews such as Yuengling (until 8pm $3, after $4), as well as Euro drafts like German black lager Köstritzer ($6). Stave off a midday hangover—a hazard of early-morning games—by filling your belly with one of the panini ($8), sausages ($6) and savory pies ($8) on offer.

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Williamsburg

The Black Horse Pub

Soccer fans show up early on weekends for European matches at this low-key British pub; it serves a $12 full English breakfast, which acts as a perfect stomach-liner for the 16 international beers on tap (rotating English specials include Boddingtons). When footy's not on, the eight TVs play whatever games the neighborhood crowd wants to watch.

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Midtown West

Boxers HK

In addition to showing football (both pro and college), basketball and other sports on its 21 flatscreens every night, this three-level Hell’s Kitchen spot is a meeting place for many of NYC’s LGBT sports leagues, including Out Cycling and Pink Pong Foundation. The vibe is more clubby than fratty: DJs spin regularly, shirtless bartenders pour drinks, and crowds of amiable young guys pile in on weekends. During the week, there’s plenty of space to settle in with a beer and watch a game—and if it goes deep into overtime, take advantage of the late-night two-for-one happy hour (Mon–Wed 11pm–close).

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Hell's Kitchen

Break Bar and Billiards

If you're the type to get fidgety well before the seventh-inning stretch, this Astoria games emporium will keep you entertained no matter how boring the contest is. In addition to nine 50-inch flatscreens, the sprawling lounge houses 16 pool tables, arcade games (Big Buck Hunter), two Ping-Pong tables and air hockey, as well as some diversions, like a Pop-a-Shot basketball machine, that actually approximate the experience of playing a real sport (while drunk, of course). 718-777-5400, break-ny.com. $5 for average drink.

Bronx Alehouse

Giants fans and beer geeks alike will find plenty to love at this inviting Boogie Down pub. About a dozen flatscreens and one projector screen show NFL, NBA and soccer events, and the patrons are less interested in screaming matches than low-key ribbing. The brew selection, meanwhile, is massive; 16 taps change often (on a recent visit, we sampled Greenport Harbor’s smoky Black Duck Porter; $6), and more than 30 bottles and cans are available, plus one cask.

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The Bronx

The Irish Rover

Be prepared to engage in a bit of competitive shit-talking with rival fans at this watering hole. It’s all in good fun, of course, and thanks to the barwide policy of buybacks on each patron’s third round, you’ll feel like a regular in no time. Settle in with a pint of Guinness ($6.50) and watch your game, whether it’s Sunday afternoon football, an NHL game or a soccer match, on one of the several flatscreens or one central projector screen.

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Astoria

Jack Demsey’s

Let's not beat around the bush: Irish pubs have played an integral role in giving sports bars a bad name. But Jack Demsey's bucks the odds and offers a welcome respite from midtown behemoths like ESPN Zone and Stout NYC. Yes, it draws plenty of tourists (get over it), but there are also local crowds loyal to teams like University of Kentucky basketball and, above all else, Celtic Football Club. A 96-inch screen and a dozen other TVs cover almost anything you'd want to watch, including oft-ignored broadcasts like Irish rugby matches and UFC fights.

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Midtown West

Pacific Standard

Critics' pick

West Coast transplants and craft-beer lovers flock to Fourth Avenue to watch sports without subjecting themselves to watery, mass-market swill. Fans lounge on comfy couches and quaff 17 Cali-centric drafts, like the hops-forward Green Flash IPA ($6), while catching the action on two projection TVs. Oakland A's zealots, take note: Wear A's apparel during A games, and get $1 off pints of Sierra Nevada.

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Boerum Hill

Pine Tree Lodge

Bro-fest sports bars are a dime a dozen in Murray Hill, which is what makes this wacky, outdoors-themed drinkery feel like even more of a find. There are cheap drinks and TVs perpetually tuned to sports, but what we like most is the outdated TV set stuffed sideways into an old barrel.

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Murray Hill

Professor Thom’s

Critics' pick

This sprawling bilevel watering hole is big, loud and a bit fratty, yet something about it keeps us coming back for more. Maybe it's the six spacious booths with individual TVs that friendly staff will happily tune to whatever channel you want to watch. It could be the New England–loving legions who help make the bar the largest seller of Harpoon outside of Massachusetts (that is, when they're not swilling the house ale, which goes for $4 during all Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics games). But most of all, we think it's the nachos: a gargantuan, crowd-pleasing mountain served piping hot on a pizza tray.

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East Village

Comments

5 comments
Jackson W
Jackson W

When I was in college my friends and I didn't get cable for our place. We didn't see the need because none of us were big TV watchers. When we realized that we didn't have access to sports though, we quickly had to find ways to change that. Whenever we couldn't find a friend or family member to let us watch a big game at their house, we would go to a sports bar. This was a great way for us to be able to keep track of our teams without paying for an otherwise unnecessary cable service.

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Tamara
Tamara

This article is really great. I invite also people to check out www.sportchaser.com that helps sports fans to know where to watch their favorite team play in New York sports bars!

Don Henderson
Don Henderson

I'm flying into New York from Edinburgh on Thursday and there's a couple of us looking for a good sports bar to watch the Ryder Cup in. We're renting an apartment round about Madison Avenue and 34th Street, so somewhere in that area would be good. Our wives are joining us later on, so even better would be a good sports bar that serves good food. All suggestions welcome.