Get us in your inbox


The 5 best bars to watch the NHL playoffs

Written by
David Ehrlich

It may not be commonly accepted wisdom around these parts, but in our heart of hearts we all know that the NHL playoffs are the single greatest sporting event of the year. The hockey postseason boasts the longest tournament in North American sports, the most prestigious trophy in all of sports, and endless sudden death overtimes that are suspenseful enough to actually kill you. 

And if hockey isn’t the city’s most popular sport, you wouldn’t know it from the ticket prices—seats in the highest rafters of MSG are already going for $230 a pop, and that’s just for game one of the first round. With the Rangers and the Islanders both qualifying for the playoffs in the same year for only the second time since the 2006–2007 season, local excitement should boost those prices even higher before the puck drops. That leaves exactly two options for most of the diehard fans who want to watch the game with a good crowd: Be related (by blood) to one of the players, or find a good sports bar and make some new friends. For Henrik Lundqvist’s wife and John Tavares’s mom that’s pretty good news, for the rest of us, here are five of the best bars where you can catch the action.

And be sure to check out the complete first round schedule before you start cracking open those Molsons.

Roebling Sporting Club 

If you’re looking to watch a game somewhere that’s a little bit quieter than your typical sports bar, Roebling Sporting Club is the place for you. Located on a quiet corner a few blocks from the bustle of Bedford Avenue, Roebling is as quaint as its name suggests. The right game can make this one-room bar feel like you’re hanging it in your living room with a bunch of strangers and some seriously excellent pulled pork sliders (seriously, they’re excellent). The place is rigged with seven large HD screens, but the real prize is the huge projection screen in the back room—but make sure to show up early and request the game you want them to air on it, as the place doesn’t fill up with an imposing number of hockey fans until the later rounds. 225 N. 8th Street, Brooklyn (718-388-3088, 4pm–4am.

The Flying Puck

If the Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and were playing a game where they can clinch sports’ holy grail, this is where I would want to be watching it. The Mecca of Rangers bars, The Flying Puck is located right around the corner from Madison Square Garden, but if you close your eyes you’d swear you were standing at center ice. The menu is pretty much what you would expect from a place like this (not a bad thing if you’re in the spirit), but the diehard hockey theme spills right down through the drinks, the typical selection of beers complimented by an array of $4 shots with names like the Penalty and Hat Trick. Just be sure to show up early enough to grab a seat. Like, really early (ninety minutes or so should do the trick for the first round). 364 Seventh Avenue at W 30th Street (212–736–5353, Mon–Sat 10:30am–4am, Sun noon–4am.

Oh, and a quick note for Islanders fans: This is probably not a safe space for you.

Red Star

Because nothing says Greenpoint like a massive, glimmering sports bar complex. A short walk from the Greenpoint G that feels like it’s miles away from the station, Red Star is not your neighborhood hangout, even if you live right down the street. Still, you haven’t watched playoff hockey until you’ve watched it while drinking the Red Star Challenge, which is an 80 oz goldfish bowl, filled with light rum, dark rum, apricot brandy, cranberry, pineapple, orange juice and Bacardi 151. It’s fitting that the Rangers kick things off on Thursday night, because Red Star is the proud home of Thursday Hockey Night, where anyone who wears their favorite jersey (Islanders fans included) gets $4 Molson draft and $15 pitchers of any Bluepoint drafts. Customers also get $1 shots if they yell “Fight!” whenever a fight breaks out, but fans know not to expect so many of those in the playoffs. 37 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn (718-349-0162, 11:30am–4am.

Warren 77

Former hockey player and Vogue intern Sean Avery may no longer play for the Rangers (or anyone else), but the Tribeca bar he founded during his time on the team is still a perfectly legitimate spot to watch the Blueshirts in the playoffs. In keeping with the spirit of its former owner—Avery bailed on the business in 2013—the vibe is strikingly more upscale than the game it celebrates, and everything is priced accordingly. All the same, Warren 77 seems to be sustained by a greater love for hockey than Avery was ever able to evince himself, and it’s one of the few places in the city where you can dine on a $19 crispy skin brick chicken and still feel free to shout from the rafters when the Rangers score. 77 Warren Street between Greenwich and West Broadway (212-227-8994, Mon–Thu 11:30am–1am; Fri, Sat 11:30am–2am; Sun 11:30am–1am.

Yellow Hook Grille

A civilized joint where Rangers fans and Islanders fans can peacefully co-exist (in theory), Yellow Hook Grille caters to the rather huge population of hockey lovers in Bay Ridge. The food is a cut above pretty much any of the other places where you could reliably catch a game, and the menu is deep enough to take advantage of the fact that hockey has two separate intermissions. If you want to watch Rick Nash shake off his reputation as a playoff wallflower while eating two different forms of lobster, this is the place for you. Yellow Hook Grille has more of a restaurant vibe than anything else, but sample a few of the eleven draft beers they have on tap and you can bring your own rowdiness. 7003 3rd Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-238-1089,–2am.

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news


      The best things in life are free.

      Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

      Loading animation
      Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

      🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

      Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!