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

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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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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    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. (132 Havemeyer St at South 1st St, 11211, 718-599-5200, banterbrooklyn.com)

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    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. 568 Fifth Ave at 16th St (718-788-1975, blackhorsebrooklyn.com)

  • Photograph: Davidson Adames

    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). 742 Ninth Ave at 50th St (212-951-1518, boxersnyc.com)

  • 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 flat-screens, 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). 32-04 Broadway at 32nd St (718-777-5400, break-ny.com)

  • 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. 216 W 238th St (718-601-0204 bronxalehouse.com)

  • Croxley's Abbey

    Adhering to signs broadcasting "We do not carry Bud, Coors or Miller," the 48-beer lineup at this upscale sports bar features craft brews like Bear Republic Red Rocket, Founders Centennial IPA and Victory Golden Monkey. Peckish? In the 234-seat space—fitted with mahogany floors, a Carrara-marble bar and 38 flatscreens—you'll find Belgian-inflected plates galore. 63 Grand St (718-387-4290 croxley.com)

  • Photograph: Ryan Mckinley

    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. 37-18 28th Ave (718-278-9372)

  • Photograph: Mike Skigen

    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. 36 W 33rd St, between Fifth Ave and Broadway (212-629-9899)

  • Photograph: Dominic Perri

    Pacific Standard

    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. 82 Fourth Ave, between Bergen St and St. Marks Pl (718-858-1951)

  • Photograph: Mike Skigen

    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. 326 E 35th St, between First and Second Aves (212-481-5490)

  • Photograph: Jay Muhlin

    Professor Thom's

    This sprawling bi-level 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. 219 Second Ave, between 13th and 14th Sts (212-260-9480 professorthoms.com)

  • Photograph: Gary GIllis

    Standings Bar

    If you think cozy sports bar is an oxymoron, this single-room East Village go-to will change your perspective. Not only is the crowd an anomaly—more affable regulars, less rowdy superfans—but the TVs are all kept at a low volume, letting you mingle with other fans in relative quiet (unless, of course, someone’s team is doing well). The draft list offers a frequently changing selection of microbrews alongside standard fare like Bud Light ($5). Regalia from various teams covers the walls, making it a blessedly neutral home for fans of all persuasions. 43 E 7th St between Second and Third Aves (212-420-0671, standingsbar.com)

  • Warren 77

    Jay-Z's 40/40 Club may be the top dog in the arena of personality-driven sports lounges, but New York Rangers star Sean Avery puts a more hipster-friendly spin on the genre at his faux dive in Tribeca. Hockey fans will appreciate the venue's commitment to the puck, as well as an original Warhol portrait of Wayne Gretzky. It's not for diehards, but if you're more interested in socializing than catching every play, the vibe is right: Groups gather around retro tabletop video games (Pac-Man), and green leather booths have individual TVs that can be tucked away in cabinets if the conversation becomes more interesting than the game. 77 Warren St, between West Broadway and Greenwich St (212-227-8994, warren77nyc.com)

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Woodwork

    This thoughtful, wood-heavy soccer saloon feels like an honest response to an underserved community of fans: The well-priced beers come from craft labels (though you can get a $3 Red Stripe if you don't want to overthink it), wines represent the world's top footballing nations (Spain, Argentina), and organically driven small plates replace the usual greasy fare. But don't worry—there's not a hint of pretension in the place, and no one will look at you askew for taking a prenoon pickleback shot while catching morning matches from distant shores. 583 Vanderbilt Ave, at Dean St (718-857-5777 woodworkbk.com)

  • Twist & Smash'd

    Boasting 55 TVs and almost as many beers, this newcomer to the LIC scene is an ideal place to get your sports fix east of the river. And if the game brings out a competitive streak in you, you can satiate your bloodthirst with “spirited” games of bocce on the brand new indoor courts. 34-02 Steinway St, between 34th and 35th Aves (718-806-1542, twistandsmashdsports.com)

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

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. (132 Havemeyer St at South 1st St, 11211, 718-599-5200, banterbrooklyn.com)

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Users say

4 comments
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.

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