Every New Yorker knows that there are really only three ways to watch baseball: At Yankee Stadium, Citi Field or at one of the city's best sports bars. If you want to know what to expect from the stadiums, check out our baseball showdown. But to really relax and soak up the game while you soak up some suds, head to one of the excellent establishments on our list right here. We've selected the best team-specific spots, as well as the city's best all-rounders, so now all you have to do is enjoy the game.
The best baseball bars
Best for: old-school fansFarrell’s has been inviting baseball-loving Brooklynites inside its dusty blue-collar digs to drink whiskey and rant about the home team since the home team was “Dem Bums,” the Brooklyn Dodgers. Amazingly, not all that much has changed about the place since it opened in 1933. Sure, the Dodgers are in L.A. now, but walk in during any Yankees or Mets game and you’ll still find it full of old-school dudes sipping on Bud from 32-ounce Styrofoam cups—the bar's signature drink—who just want to watch the game in peace and have no need for the fancy craft beers and flashy decor of modern sports bars. 215 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn (718-788-8779)
Best for: baseball know-it-allsFoley’s houses the one-of-a-kind Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, which bar owner Shaun Clancy founded in 2008 to honor the game’s rich Irish heritage. It’s also home to one of the more extensive baseball and sports memorabilia collections in the city; curios range from the prestigious (an autographed game ball from Roy Halladay’s 2010 perfect game) to the bizarre (a diagram of A-Rod’s recent hip surgery drawn by his surgeon). This bar is for people who know that the number of available draft and bottled beers—115!—is the same as the number of home runs Shannon Stewart hit in his career. 18 W 33rd St (212-290-0080, foleysny.com)
Best for: Giants fansUntil 1958, when they moved to San Francisco, the Giants called the Polo Grounds in Coogan’s Bluff their home. But with the team having won three of the past five World Series titles, it’s never been a better time to call yourself a Giants fan. Luckily Finnerty’s, with its Golden Gate Bridge painted on the mirror behind the bar, offers a home for transplanted diehards and bandwagoners alike. When the Giants come to town (June 9–11) to play the Mets for a three-game series, the bar will charter buses to carry 200 fans to Citi Field to root, root, root against the home team. Tickets for the Gamebus experience (either single games or all three) come with free T-shirts and beers, so even Mets fanatics could be persuaded to play the turncoat and tag along. 221 Second Ave (212-677-2655, finnertysnyc.com). Gamebus single game $80, Triple Play Package $215.
McFadden’s Citi Field
Best for: Mets fansThis spacious Flushing outpost of one of midtown’s frattiest Irish pubs is technically inside Citi Field, but doesn’t require tickets for entry, so Amazins fans can experience it in all its rowdy, dance-on-the-bar glory and catch the games on the joint's 50-plus HD TVs without springing for pricey stadium seats. Like Stan’s, it’s only open on Mets home-game days, three hours before first pitch, so anyone planning to watch young studs Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom take the mound should show up early for the pregame open-bar special. 36-2 126th St, Queens (718-651-2220, mcfaddensballparkny.com). Pregame $50, advance $40.
Best for: BrooklynitesBrooklyn isn’t exactly known for its sports bars, but the dark-mahogany–laden Mulholland’s would stand out as a great place to grab a beer and watch the game even among much more crowded Manhattan competition: For one thing, it's committed to showing a bunch of different games—not just Yankees and Mets—across 12 plasma screens; for another, its rabidly popular wings come in variations for boozers (Bloody Mary) and tastebud-punishers (Scorching Death) alike. The biggest games are shown on a giant screen out in the backyard. 312 Grand St, Brooklyn (718-486-3473, mulhollandsbklyn.com)
Best for: Red Sox fansSox-ers trapped in the heart of enemy territory can find respite at Professor Thom’s, which offers the Lower East Side a taste of the boisterousness that drunk New Englanders are famous for. Patrons lucky enough to grab one of the several booths with individual TVs get a more intimate view of their beloved Sawx than they can at most sports bars, as they suck down Harpoons—no bar outside of Massachusetts sells more of the Boston-brewed suds. To the native New Yorkers who enter: Whatever you do, don’t bring up Aaron Boone. 219 Second Ave (212-260-9480, professorthoms.com)
Best for: Phillies fansA legitimate claim on NYC’s most authentic cheesesteak—not to mention other Philadelphia favorites like hoagies and pork-and-broccoli-rabe sandwiches—is why Shorty’s is the go-to spot for displaced Phillies fans during the major league season. When the Phils faced off against the Yankees in the 2009 World Series, this Flatiron District location hosted jam-packed viewing parties at which owner Evan Stein gave away 700 free cheesesteaks. Don’t expect history to repeat itself this year—the Phillies finished in last place in the NL East in 2014—but Shorty’s still has 20 beers on tap to make coping with basement dwelling more palatable. 576 Ninth Ave (212-967-3055, shortysnyc.com)
Best all-rounderStandings is the antithesis of the typical noisy, macrobrew-dispensing sports bar—it’s a smaller space that proudly slings a solid selection of craft beers rather than the usual watery yellow stuff. But that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best places to watch baseball in the city. For one thing, they don’t play music and always keep the TV sound on, making it one of the few places where you can watch a game without the color commentator getting drowned out by Taylor Swift. A chalkboard featuring division standings, updated daily during the season by bar owner Gary Gillis, hangs on the wall alongside what seems to be a museum’s worth of pennants, photos and jerseys. 43 E 7th St (212-420-0671, standingsbar.com)
Stan’s Sports Bar
Best for: Yankees fans
The original Yankee Stadium may be gone, but this unpretentious dive, situated just across River Avenue from the original site of the stadium, remains the undisputed favorite game-day watering hole for Yankee faithfuls—just as it has been since Reggie Jackson was still patrolling right field for the Bombers in the late ’70s. Stan’s only opens its doors on days when the Yankees are playing at home, and when it does, it’s always packed wall to memorabilia-adorned wall. Nonetheless, having a couple of postgame beers here is an essential part of the true Yankee Stadium experience—just like Monument Park, the Bleacher Creatures’ roll call, and A-Rod whiffing with the bases loaded. 836 River Ave, Bronx (718-993-5548, stanssportsbar.com)
Best for: beer connoisseursBoth of the Manhattan locations have private party rooms known as “The Dugout"; fortunately, spending an evening there doesn’t mean you have to make calls to the bullpen, spit sunflower seeds everywhere and pat all your buddies on the backside. Instead, you can check out your game of choice while sampling the bar’s exotic beer list, with offerings brewed from Hawaii to Maine and countries as far afield as Sweden and France—plus there’s tasty pub grub like pretzel-crusted chicken tenders. You can enjoy the same pleasures without booking a private party—just check out the game action in the main bar on one of 21 TVs. 64 Third Ave (212-979-2337, villagepourhouse.com)
Come for the beer (they’ve got a 99-label strong collection that includes brews like Chimay and Duvel) and stay for the chicken? The “Wing Ding” special promises two hours of unlimited, wings, fries and booze for just $22. It’s a fine distraction…assuming the 15 flat-screens don’t do the trick.