Get your game on at LA's best sports bars
Situated right next to the Pantages Theatre, you'll often find ticket holders hunkered down here for a beer and a bite to eat pre- and post-show. But it's not just a place for theater buffs. If you're a sports fan—so, you know, most of you—33 Taps is prime seating for watching your favorite match, game, fight, whatever you're rooting for. Plenty of flat screen TVs are available to stare intently at while you choose from one of 33 beers on tap. Sticking around for a while? Order one of the burgers with a side of their killer sweet potato fries.
The West Hollywood location is the original outpost of this mini-chain, but you can find one in neighborhoods across LA: Pasadena, Westwood, Burbank and Redondo Beach. You’ll find a crowd of sports bros and ladies all sidling up to the bar, enjoying one of 60 TVs (complete with sports packages galore), and imbibing in an array of beer choices. There’s plenty to look at off-screen, too: they’ve perfected the tacky-on-purpose look, with everything from license plates to sports memorabilia hanging from the walls.
LA-raised Neil Kwon took a cue from the biergartens of Berlin and Munich in bringing craft beer to Koreatown in 2010. His beer hall, Biergarten, views Germany through a Korean prism. Platters of brats are dished up alongside Korean fried chicken, kimchi short rib fried rice and burgers both American and international—try spicy Chosun One with red chili paste aioli and pickled daikon or a Southwest version with chipotle-infused black beans and fried green tomato. The beer list combines Old World ales, like malty Spaten Optimator, with West Coast IPAs, like Bear Republic Racer 5. The space also touts flat screens that draw UFC and sports fans.
Big Wangs (we'll wait while you recover from your giggle fit) is the type of bar that always has a security retinue hanging out by the front door—but, danger aside, they really do know their sports. The walls are lined with hi-def TVs, and for those who'd rather play than watch, beer pong tournaments are highly encouraged. Known for its killer happy hour that happens twice a day (a huge plate of nachos for $5? Yes, please!), bargoers can choose from plenty of dishes to nosh on and soak up the booze—we're partial to the Super Wang, 18 wings tossed in your choice of sauce, because, you know, you get to say "Super Wang."
You don't have to be enamoured with canines to appreciate the Blue Dog (although animal lovers may go gaga over the framed dog photos covering the wall). The Sherman Oaks sports bar is located in a 1940s-era bungalow that’s been stripped of the walls, leaving the framing exposed and allowing TVs to be visible from every seat. The beer list isn’t the largest in town, but it might be the best-edited, and the food menu offers vegan options. That all sounds a tad frou frou, but come 10am, fans are fully decked out in their favorite team's gear and all eyes are glued to the TVs.
Even if you’ve never been to Casey’s, you’re familiar with the sprawling, dark-wood-everything bar: It has served as the set for just about every pub-focused scene on television in the last 20 years. Given an Irish reboot from the brains behind Tam O’Shanter and Lawry’s, Casey’s is still imbued with that faded-elegance vibe. The many rooms here are dotted with TVs—you’ll find both North American and European sports on the screens—and plenty of fans, especially of the USC variety. In addition, there’s the occasional live band, darts, billiards, and some quality shepherd’s pie and fish and chips.
The name is misleading: Good Microbrew doesn't actually brew anything on-site. They did, however, recognize a growing interest in well-made beers, and now serve quality microbrews alongside healthy dishes like salmon Niçoise salad, and quinoa tossed with kale and couscous. Try one of the specialty beer flights while you're watching sports at this refreshing eastside staple, smack dab in the middle of Silver Lake's Sunset Junction.
This Pasadena establishment carries on the tradition of British pubs everywhere, including celebrating every drinking festival known to man (Belgian Beer Festival? Check. Oktoberfest? Check. IPA festivals? Yup, they've got those, too). You’ll be able to see any soccer (sorry, football) game you want here, all while indulging in the European-heavy list of 68 beers on tap. The food includes classic pub fare—mostly meat and potatoes—which you can enjoy on the outside patio (Don't panic! You can see a TV or two from there). Care to bring along a canine friend? Dogs are welcome, as long as you don't mind them being spoiled by the pub's friendly regulars.
Don't be fooled by its factory-esque exterior: T. Boyle's Tavern brings in a sizeable crowd that takes advantage of its live music and hi-def TVs (showing mostly football—yes, the United States version). Grab a pint of cider or a glass of merlot (only beer and wine are served here, none of the hard stuff) while you partake in a game of shuffleboard or darts. Just make sure to stick around when the game's over for the pub's epic trivia battles.
This bar is aggressively upbeat. When the game isn't on, line dancing, karaoke, Sons of Anarchy viewing parties, and costume contests may very well be on the schedule. It’s not an old bar, but when Happy Ending was created a few years ago, the owners set out to create a college-y dive. And they succeeded admirably. There’s an expansive menu of Costco-style treats, as well as a full bar where you won’t be judged for ordering something like an appletini. Sometimes, no shame is the perfect vibe for a sports bar.