Of all the fantastic things to do in Boston, catching a game has got to be somewhere near the top of the list. And while Fenway is without a doubt one of the must-do Boston attractions for anyone visiting or living in the city—there is nothing like hearing that Red Sox roar right there, up close—a trip to one of the best bars in Boston to watch the game is its own special experience. If good beer, good (rowdy) company and more screens showing more action than you know what to do with sounds like a good time, then be sure to hit one of the best sports bars Boston has to offer.
RECOMMENDED: See the full list of the best bars in Boston
Best sports bars in Boston
The elusive hipster sports bar: Parlor has arrived to fill this vast void. The Lilliputian spot, from the folks behind the adjacent Trina’s Starlite Lounge, is a dream for those who appreciate a good whisky as much as a good pass rush. The bartenders make a point to learn your name and your standing drink order; if you dare to root for an opposing team, they’ll even make sure New England-loyal patrons don’t give you too much grief. The magnificent beer menu includes many a local craft brew; classic cocktails (Manhattan, Tom Collins) all ring in under ten bucks. As the bar shares a kitchen with Trina’s, expect the same exquisitely prepared guilty pleasures: griddled dogs, sweet and sour pork nachos and pickle-brined fried chicken strips. Another selling point: the on-point brunch menu (huevos rancheros, chicken on a biscuit), which demands you head to the bar at least an hour before kickoff.
If you’re heading out to watch the game, why not beeline it to ground zero? Located a slap shot’s distance from Boston Garden, The Fours is unabashed in its home team loyalty: framed Boston jerseys, signed balls and old photos of classic games that pretty much wallpaper the place. The food is exactly what you want from a diet-free game day: chili, nachos, half-pound burgers and steak tips served with rice pilaf or a baked potato. Wine and cocktails do exist, but should you really be drinking anything but Sam Adams on tap? If forced to drag along a reluctant newbie, remind him that Sports Illustrated once deemed The Fours the best sports bar in America.
The eponymous bar takes after its namesake: a little cheesy, but utterly enjoyable for exactly what it is. For starters, there’s an actual monster video wall—a total of 32 plasma TVs that together create one behemoth 32-foot-long, 8-foot-high screen showing the most important game of the day. Food includes crispy calamari, lobster rolls and the famous Rem Dawg hot dog, all the perfect complement to the 20 beers on draft (serviceable wine and cocktail lists placate the non-suds crowd). And you have to love a sports bar with a water view—contemplate the Pats secondary while taking in the late-afternoon light over Boston Harbor.
For an outlet mall in the middle of a forsaken part of Somerville, Assembly Square has proven a surprisingly alluring detour. Newest case in point: this spacious sports bar named after one of the city’s most beloved legends. Dozens of TVs dominate the space, matched by a state-of-the-art sound system that makes it impossible not to follow the game. (True agnostics can head outside to the spacious patio overlooking Mystic River.) Higher-end dinner options dot the menu, including the New York strip and the lobster roll, while the #25 burger is a study in excess: Vermont cheddar, crispy pork belly, fried egg and hoisin sauce atop a half-pounder. Among the near-40 beers on draft are many regional drafts, as well as more than a dozen bottled beers, but the cocktail list is worth a legit gander.
Rare is the hotel sports bar that proves a perennial winner, but 40 flat screens tend to push a space over the goal line. TVs adorn pretty much every available inch of wall at Champions—snag a bar seat for maximum plasma overload. The draft beer menu includes pours from local craft breweries (Slumbrew, Cisco) and offers both 16- and 23-ounce droughts. Nachos, sliders, burgers, wings—the greasy gang’s all here, with the highlight being the Champions Sampler Tower, a heart-stopping smorgasbord of wings, cheeseburger sliders, loaded cheese fries and a vertical stack of onion rings. There’s even a breakfast buffet for NFL fanatics looking to make a full day of it.
While there are plenty of Southie spots where you can catch the game, Stats is uniquely devoted to the art of gorging yourself on fried food and replays. The bi-level place comes from the team behind JA Stats, the late, lamented Financial District sports bar, so you know they mean business. Twenty-two flat screens dot the walls, most placed strategically around the space so that every vantage point has a solid view. Most of your brewski go-tos are on tap, and between the nachos and the buffalo everything (calamari, spring rolls, wings, pizza), you’ll find a few menu surprises, including shrimp tacos, edamame burgers and pistachio-crusted salmon.
When the legendary gay sports bar Fritz closed last year, there was brief panic among the flag football set. Thankfully, the nearby and more spacious Cathedral Station quickly took its place, absorbing a lot of the friendly Fritz staff in the process. The menu makeup is well-executed pub fare all the way, from the wings to the fish-and-chips; hearty brunch dishes are designed to absorb daytime beers. Cocktails are far more reasonably priced than at other places in the area (spring for the Irish coffee). When halftime comes, retreat to the enormous back patio for a hit of fresh air, or calm your nerves with a quick game of pool or darts.
It’s the Citgo sign of sports bars. An unassuming corner establishment a block away from Fenway, the Cask is a must for any self-respecting Sox fan—though of course, fair-weather college kids and tourists often clog its aisles. The arrival of Donley Liburd as executive chef has resulted in a serious dining upgrade: PEI mussels, tempura-fried cauliflower, jerk chicken and grilled swordfish are some of the unlikely—but quite tasty—new menu additions. (Don’t worry, wings crowd: finger foods are still well represented.) During the warmer-weather months, the patio is a must for people-watching before or after a game.
Sometimes you want a bit of cheese with your wine—or beer. Game On! is unabashedly unironic, an arcade of a sports bar that brings out the pre- and post-Fenway crowds. Pizzas, apps, beers and burgers are what’s for dinner, chased with more beers. If you tire of the always-rowdy scene upstairs, Blazing Paddles, a more sanguine Ping-Pong lounge with batting cages and more big screens, awaits you below.