Best sports bars in NYC
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.
This three-level sports mecca rocks multiple projectors to add to its impressive international selection of bottled and draft beers (including 32 stouts!). And with a central midtown location, it's the perfect place to take an extended (say 90 minute?) lunch away from the office.
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.
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).
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 die-hards, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 212-420-0671, standingsbar.com
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.
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.
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.
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.