It’s the early days of football season, and in all 32 pro football cities, as well as almost every college town in America, fans are filling stadiums or – in far greater numbers – sports bars and similar establishments. (These are the states with the most bars per person.)
Watching a game live is an unforgettable experience, but there’s also something special about kicking back with friends or friendly strangers, having a few beers, eating food that’s not on your usual diet (and maybe that you don’t need knives and forks for), and sinking into the action – usually, thanks to modern technology, with a much better view than you’d ever have in a stadium.
What makes a great sports bar? Lots of high-definition TVs to begin with, with good lines of sight from anywhere in the place and an excellent sound system. Oversized projection screens are a great addition, too, bringing you the players in larger-than-life reality. Subscriptions to the top sports channels – like NFL Sunday Ticket and the networks of regional college conferences – are a given. Comfortable seating is another important factor, since you’re going to be committing hours of your time to watching the game.
Then there’s food and drink. Sports bar food should be casual, indulgent, fun. Pizza, nachos, ribs, burgers – and of course chicken wings, which are practically a legal requirement for a sports bar. (It’s no accident that sports-themed chains sometimes put these avian appendages right in their names – Buffalo Wild Wings, Wing Stop, Wild Wing Café, etc. Check this list of the best chicken wings in America.)
And nothing goes better with wings, or with football, than beer. Any top sports bar will have a good selection of brews, on tap and in bottles and cans.
Football fans are particularly passionate about their teams, so one thing that’s important to consider when choosing a place to watch the game is what kind of fans you’re likely to find there. That’s not to say that an Aggie can’t enjoy a game at a Longhorn watering hole or that you shouldn’t wear a Packers jersey into just any old bar in Chicago, but the best bar for watching football is probably one where you can just gnaw those wings and quaff that brew and watch that game without getting into any trouble.
To determine the best bars for watching football in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted ratings and reviews of sports bars in general and football bars in particular around the country on Yelp, as well as roundups of such places, ranked and otherwise, on sites including Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Eater, Delish, The Daily Meal, and Thrillist, as well as numerous local and regional sites.
Alabama: The Houndstooth
> Located: Tuscaloosa
If you’re an Auburn or LSU fan, keep it to yourself here. The Houndstooth is Crimson Tide territory. Sports Illustrated ranked it among the top college sports bars in the country. Watch the action on more than 40 high-def flat-screen TVs, including five 65″ screens above the bar and a 150″ projection screen. There are even TVs in the bathrooms.
Alaska: McGivney’s Sports Bar and Grill
> Located: Juneau
McGivney’s promises “Every Game, Every Day,” shown on 16 TV screens at both its two Juneau locations. The menu offers wings, nachos, burgers, and other appropriate fare. The bar also hosts what it bills as the biggest Super Bowl party in town.
Arizona: K O’Donnell’s Sports Bar & Grill
> Located: Scottsdale
Founded by legendary poker player Kevin O’Donnell and now run by his daughter, this Scottsdale hotspot shows the game day action on more than 70 TV screens indoors and out. Post-game there’s a “reverse happy hour” running from 9 p.m. to closing every night. (If you’re a fan not just of football but of the sport of kings, O’Donnell’s also has facilities for off-track betting.)
Arkansas: Brewski’s Pub & Grub
> Located: Little Rock
With more than 30 TVs and two giant projector screens, Brewski’s shows all NFL Sunday Ticket and RedZone games, as well as college football and every other sport you can imagine. Burgers, nachos, beer, and such are served – and weekdays happy hour runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. And if watching football spurs your competitive instincts, you can play shuffleboard, pool, beer pong and other games here, too.
California: 33 Taps Silver Lake
> Located: Los Angeles
The Silver Lake reincarnation of the Hollywood original styles itself a new kind of sports bar. Here, the pub grub (wings, nachos, burgers, assorted fries, even some vegan offerings) is made from scratch on site, and the beer is served from, yes, 33 taps featuring craft brews from LA and beyond. Oh, and there are big-screen TVs on every bit of wall that’s not covered with sports memorabilia.
Colorado: Blake Street Tavern
> Located: Denver
Repeatedly named Denver’s best sports bar, Blake Street – which is a block from Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies – is divided into four separate areas with state-of-the-art sound environments, 65 4K Ultra-HD TVs, an oversized projection screen, three bars, and an outdoor patio with mountain views. If you want to get in on some of the gridiron action yourself, Blake Street also sponsors teams in the Denver Flag Football League.
Connecticut: The Blind Rhino
> Located: Norwalk and Black Rock (Bridgeport)
This is “a great place to watch football,” enthused one Yelp reviewer. “You can sit at the bar, booth, or tables and you’ll still have TVs everywhere to catch every play.” “So many TVs,” adds another. The 20 beers, ciders, and hard seltzers on tap and 28 in cans help set a festive mood, and wings are on the menu in about a dozen varieties.
Delaware: Rocco Italian Grill & Sports Bar
> Located: Wilmington
Yelp reviewers gave this family-owned, sports-oriented Italian restaurant (New York-style pizza and stromboli are among the featured dishes) the highest rating of any sports bar in the state. “Definitely a solid spot to watch Sunday night football,” wrote one. “They have plenty of TVs to cover any sports game,” noted another.
Florida: Black Market (Bayside)
> Located: Miami
Styling itself “a sports bar for Miamian, by Miamians,” though visitors are of course welcome. This Bayside offshoot of the downtown original is bigger – 8,000 square feet versus 5,500 – and it has more than 40 4K TV monitors (at least 10 more than the downtown location), some of them outdoors in the al fresco bar area. The full menu ranges from fish dip to baby back ribs to lava cake – and if you’re thirsty, the margarita variations may be ordered by the liter.
> Located: Atlanta
Murph’s proprietor Dale Murphy says that the place was “inspired by my love of baseball.” On weekends, though, it’s definitely a football bar, with Florida State games on the screens on Saturdays, and NFL action on Sundays. Displaced Rutgers and Notre Dame fans tend to gather here, too.
Hawaii: Murphy’s Bar & Grill
> Located: Honolulu
This popular Irish pub is party central for University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior fans. It also hosts a charity fundraiser, the Pigskin Pigout, to kick off football season each year. Given that there are more than 50,000 military personnel stationed in Hawaii, the annual Army-Navy game is also a festive occasion here. Fans praise the beer selection and the food, which was featured on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”
Idaho: Double Tap Pub
> Located: Boise
Ranked as the best sports bar in Idaho by Yelp reviewers, Double Tap describes itself as “downtown Boise’s only true sports pub” and offers “all sports-all channels.” Soccer is big here, but so is football American style – with Jell-o shots offered with every Boise State touchdown. “It’s good for a game and a beer and a bite to eat,” wrote one Yelper. “If that’s what you’re looking for, you found it!”
Illinois: Cleo’s Bar and Grill
> Located: Chicago
It might be known primarily as a bar for soccer fans (and bocce players), but the 16 HDTVs stream the NFL Network and NFL Sunday Ticket. The food (including pizzas and sandwiches) gets high marks, and the beer selection ranges from Coors Light to Chicago’s own Half Acre Daisy Cutter. “Great bar food with good bartenders” with “many TVs to watch football games over the weekends,” enthused one Yelp reviewer.
Indiana: Keystone Sports Review
> Located: Indianapolis
You don’t have to be a Notre Dame fan to enjoy Keystone, but it might help since this is a popular haunt for Fighting Irish aficionados. One Yelp reviewer calls this hole-in-the-wall spot “the absolute best sports bar in Indianapolis, hands-down,” and notes that the “non-extravagant televisions are angled so everyone in the bar can see at least one screen.” And everybody seems to love the wings.
Iowa: Francie’s Bar & Grill
> Located: Des Moines
The Des Moines Register calls this an “old-school hot spot” that has been “named one of the best sports bars in the country,” and Des Moines Cityview gave it its award last year for Best Local Bar Food. One Yelper recommends this as the best place to watch an Iowa State game, and another notes “not upscale, not divey … just perfect.”
Kansas: Johnny’s Tavern
> Located: Prairie Village
One of 11 Johnny’s locations in Kansas and Missouri, this is “an official watch party spot for the KU Alumni Association & fans alike!” It’s also a top spot for Chiefs fans, and on the weekends, the screens show NFL Sunday Ticket, Big 10 Network, ESPN+, the Longhorn Network, and more. “You can’t move your eyes without seeing a TV,” wrote one Yelp reviewer.
Kentucky: JerZee’s Pub & Patio
> Located: Newport
Newport is just across the river from Cincinnati, so it’s hardly surprising that the home team here is the Bengals. JerZee’s screens the games on “too many TVs to count,” and offers game day specials like Jägermeister-based Bengal Bombs for $4. JerZee’s also has “subscriptions to all the best sports networks!” – including NFL Sunday Ticket, the Big Ten Network, ESPN+, and the Southeastern Conference’s SEC Network.
Louisiana: Bullet’s Sports Bar
> Located: New Orleans
“It’s all about the Saints here and we’re always wishing and hoping for a good season,” bar owner Rollin Garcia told Biz New Orleans a few years back, and the Saints memorabilia all over the walls support his claim. This neighborhood dive bar, once featured on the HBO series “Treme,” offers live jazz and blues but is also “a place partial to sports,” as drinks website Punch described it. Punch added, “television sets tucked in the back of the bar screen a constant loop of the day’s athleticism du jour, from almighty football to a down-and-dirty boxing match.”
Maine: Mark’s Place
> Located: Portland
For Pats games and college football alike, Mark’s gets high marks indeed from Yelp reviewers. One was struck with the “awesome” wings and sandwiches, the “amazing” crowd and atmosphere, and the “great energy while cheering on the Pats to victory.” Yelp also dubbed it the best college football bar in Maine, and noted its “young crowd, loud music, and a slightly rowdier vibe.”
Maryland: RiverBay Roadhouse
> Located: Annapolis
A homey roadhouse atmosphere, highly praised food (oysters, smoked meats, “nice fat juicy burgers,” “spectacular” wings, “delicious” roasted salmon with lemon dill sauce), and 14 flat-screen TVs draw football lovers here – and there are game day specials.
Massachusetts: Parlor Sports
> Located: Somerville
According to one Yelper, “When it comes to staples of a good sports bar (TVs, beer, food) Parlor excels. There are plenty of TVs located around the bar and nary a bad seat in the house. A huge plus is that the bartenders actually appear to be sports fans and are incredibly responsive to requests for specific games.” Both NFL and college contests are shown, and the Iowa State Alumni of Boston usually gather here to watch Cyclones games.
Michigan: Nuthouse Sports Grill
> Located: Lansing
“The food is good and there are plenty of TVs for all your games” here, according to one Yelp reviewer. The Nuthouse website brags “We are the place for NFL and NCAA football!” and offers “NFL Sunday Ticket … WiFi for Fantasy Leagues, a butt-load of sweet TVs, great food and cheap beer specials for Saturday and Sunday.”
Minnesota: Mac’s Industrial Sports Bar
> Located: Minneapolis
Here’s a place that has “a really cool vibe with tons of TVs to watch the game,” according to one Yelper. Describing itself as “home for all your sports needs and more,” Mac’s fuels game-watchers with the likes of mini corn dogs, shrimp po’boys, a “four alarm” burger, and of course wings – as well as plenty of beer choices to accompany the food. Another reviewer adds that “the patrons seemed to be a nice mix of fans of various teams, which makes watching football a lot more of a fun time.”
Mississippi: The Camp
> Located: Natchez
The Camp is a serious restaurant with an ambitious craft beer program, but also a great place to watch sports on TV. It features a bar with “a relaxing, upbeat feel, perfect for a football Sunday hangout,” according to the Natchez blog City Chic Living. It also represented Mississippi in Delish’s listing of “The Sports Bar Everyone is Talking About in Your State.”
Missouri: Chappell’s Restaurant & Sports Museum
> Located: North Kansas City
Voted one of the top 10 sports bars in America by both USA Today and Sports Illustrated, Chappell’s is a treasure trove of sports memorabilia, including dozens of helmets hanging from the ceiling and a sweatshirt signed by Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson from his days with the Dallas Texans (which became the Kansas City Chiefs).
Montana: Red’s Bar
> Located: Missoula
“The only bar in Missoula that had all of the college football games on,” one Yelp reviewer reported approvingly. Another said that if you couldn’t go see a Grizzlies game live on a Saturday afternoon, “this is a great place to catch any game across the nation.” The bar subscribes to NFL Sunday Ticket and the Southeastern Conference’s SEC network, among other channels.
Nebraska: Oscar’s Pizza & Sports Grille
> Located: Omaha
Yelp reviewers liked this the best of any of the 75 Nebraska sports bars reviewed on the site. “This place was perfect,” wrote one, “a ton of TVs, great food, and cold beer.” Wings cooked three different ways with a choice of five sauces (or none at all) are a specialty – and of course, as the name of the place would suggest, there are pizza options galore.
Nevada: Stadium Swim
> Located:Stadium Swim Las Vegas
Now here’s an only-in-Vegas take on the sports bar experience: six big swimming pools on three levels with unobstructed views of a 40-foot-high high-def screen on which football (among other sports) comes alive on a grand scale. Other amenities at this massive complex at the Circa Resort & Casino include cabanas, chaise longues, day beds, and bottle service – plus a Champagne menu, signature cocktails by the pitcher, and a menu including sliders, tacos, and fish & chips.
New Hampshire: O’Brien’s Sports Bar
> Located: Nashua
A dozen HDTVs, 18 draft beers, and a full restaurant menu are among the reasons Pats fans and other football-lovers crowd this place. Yelpers named this their favorite sports bar in New Hampshire, and Best Things New Hampshire identified it as one of the 10 best sports bars in the state.
New Jersey: Victory Sports Bar & Club
> Located: East Rutherford
This Meadowlands restaurant, bar, and lounge boasts 11 12-by-20-feet flat screen HDTVs, as well as a series of oversized chandeliers each holding three 60″ flat-screens. There’s also a roof bar with views of New York City, a menu that changes seasonally, and a nightclub. Jets and Giants fans, not surprisingly, are present in considerable numbers here in football season, and there are FanDuel windows open to accept wagers on the games.
New Mexico: Boxcar Bar and Grill
> Located: Santa Fe
“Lots of TVs” fill this place, according to a Yelp reviewer, while another wrote, “What a great place to catch a Patriots game! Tons of snacks and good craft beer. Get the Frito pie!” Boxcar screens the full slate of NFL Sunday Ticket games, and if a group calls ahead and asks the place to open early for a college game, they’re happy to oblige.
New York: Blondies Sports
> Located: New York
College football fans from schools as diverse as Michigan State, Ohio State, Northwestern University, Penn State, and University of Oklahoma congregate here, as do Jets loyalists. According to one Yelper, this is a “Great place to watch a football game and by far the best place in the country for buffalo wings!!!”
North Carolina: Ugly Dog Pub
> Located: Highlands and Cashiers
These pubs in neighboring towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern North Carolina draw Tigers, Bulldogs, Bulls, and Gators fans for their pub food, draft beers, and half-dozen or so TV screens (plenty considering the size of the pubs). “Stop in during a Georgia football game,” advised the Huffington Post and enjoy “the modern maelstrom of college football.”
North Dakota: Pub West
> Located: West Fargo
This neighborhood pub offers football fans 16 draft beers and 32 HDTVs. There are also pool tables and dartboards, as well as a large patio for when the weather’s decent. North Dakota State’s Bisons are the home team here, and one Yelp reviewer noted that when the team won its fifth straight NCAA Division 1 Championship in 2015, “the bartenders pulled out about 20 bottles of champagne to toast the victory.”
Ohio: Varsity Club Restaurant and Bar
> Located: Columbus
Opened in 1959, this establishment, less than half a mile from Ohio Stadium (home of the Ohio State Buckeyes), shows the NFL Sunday Ticket schedule and other games on 15 TVs inside, five on the patio, and a jumbotron in the rear parking lot. It’s also home to one of the country’s largest tailgate parties during home games.
Oklahoma: O’Connell’s Irish Pub & Grille
> Located: Norman
“There are tons of TVs, so you can always catch your favorite team playing” at this sports-themed Irish pub, says one Yelp reviewer. Norman, of course, is Sooner territory, and O’Connell’s is virtually across the street from the team’s home stadium. Pro ball is honored here, too, with Monday night specials, and O’Connell’s claims to serve “the coldest beer in Norman.”
Oregon: Big Al’s
> Located: Beaverton
Al’s broadcasts NFL Sunday Ticket, Pac-12 Network, Big-10 Network, and SEC Network football on a 55-foot wide HD projection screen, surrounded by stadium seating. Margarita Mondays (not just in football season) offer $5 MVP Margaritas with free chips and salsa. For before or after (or instead of) the game, there’s also a video arcade and a bowling alley on the premises.
Pennsylvania: Chickie’s and Pete’s
> Located: Philadelphia
The original Robbins Avenue location of Chickie’s and Pete’s has spawned a 34-unit chain of sports bar and stadium stands in eight states. The chain partners with the Philadelphia Eagles and is the official caterer for the Touchdown Club at Lincoln Financial Field. Chickie’s and Pete’s is famous for its Crabfries – crinkle-cut french fries sprinkled with crab-boil spices and served with a white cheese dipping sauce.
Rhode Island: Caleb & Broad
> Located: Newport
A 120″ projection screen with surround sound and a snack menu featuring things like house made beef jerky and fried chicken skins with veggie gravy are among the game day attractions here. One Yelper called it “a great place to watch sports,” adding that “also when sports aren’t on, it is a great place for a romantic dinner.”
South Carolina: The Break
> Located: Charleston
“More TVs than I can count,” one Yelp review noted. The “bench seats/booths all have their own TVs,” said another, and yet another said, “great vibes all around.” All these things, as well as the cheap drinks, spacious bar, and good selection of spirits appeal to Yelpers. Eater likes the fried chicken sandwiches.
South Dakota: TC’s Referee Sports Bar & Grill
> Located: Sioux Falls
A menu with over a hundred items, 24 beers on tap, and more than 20 TVs throughout this “hidden gem” of a restaurant and bar, as a Yelp review called it, make this a favorite stop for football fans. TC boasts it has been “serving Great Food, with a side of sports, since 1991!” Another Yelper noted that “all you have to do is ask and the staff will switch the TV to whichever sporting event you want to see.”
Tennessee: Sam’s Sports Grill
> Located: Nashville
Noting that Nashville “has a great ability to blend food, football and booze,” Bleacher Report gave Sam’s the Nashville nod in its list of Best Local Bar for Every NFL City. Titans and Volunteers fans make up a large portion of the game day clientele at this location in Nashville’s Old Hickory neighborhood – one of four Sam’s in Tennessee and Alabama
Texas: Mr. Tramps Sports Pub
> Located: Austin
“TVs everywhere you look … perfect for multiple game watching,” writes one Yelp reviewer, while another says, “My only regret is not taking advantage of this bar earlier in the football season.” A group of hardcore Cowboys fans meets here regularly, and it goes without saying that the Longhorns are a house favorite.
Utah: The Huddle Sports Bar & Grill
> Located: Salt Lake City
With “dozens of HDTVs, all the sports packages, and every NFL and University of Utah football game,” according to its website, “no other bar, tavern or night club in Salt Lake can compete with the sports viewing experience found at the Huddle.” On Mug Mondays, 24-ounce flagons of domestic draft beer are $4 and craft beers and imports are $5. “Nothing goes better with watching sports than an ice cold mug of draft beer,” according to the bar’s website.
Vermont: The Lookout Tavern
> Located: Killington
“While we may not be a traditional ‘sports bar,'” the proprietors of this ski country spot notes, “sports and the BIG game are a huge part of our atmosphere.” Among the attractions are 11 big screen TVs, a good selection of craft beers, and “hot wings” with a choice of four sauces.
Virginia: First Down Sports Bar & Grill
> Located: Arlington
This friendly Ballston establishment boasts 30 TV screens and 40 variations on wings. Every NFL Sunday Ticket game is screened, and the place invites patrons to call them “if you are looking for a particular game.” That may not be necessary, however, as one Yelp reviewer notes that “It’s packed on Sundays to watch football and rightly so because each tv is broadcasting a different game.”
Washington: Buckley’s on Queen Anne
> Located: Seattle
The Seahawks are the big deal here, obviously, but Buckley’s on Queen Anne (there’s another one in Belltown) also draws Packers fans and other football fanatics. There are 15 plus TVs, in addition to a 10-foot wide projection screen, and all NFL and major college games are shown. Local brews are a specialty, and there are 14 taps. Thai sesame ribs are a favorite nosh.
West Virginia: Kegler’s Sports Bar & Lounge
> Located: Morgantown
“They have tons of TVs and will always be packed during a WVU game,” according to one Yelp reviewer. “It’s a sports fan’s fantasy.” “This is a great place to ‘tailgate’ with other Mountaineer fans,” suggests another. Yelp rates Kegler’s higher than any other sports bar it covers in West Virginia – and the place itself boasts “We’re most famous for our award winning wings, WVU gameday atmosphere and giant High Definition LED TVs.”
Wisconsin: The Stadium View Bar, Grill & Banquet Hall
> Located: Green Bay
This is the go-to bar in Green Bay on Packers game day (Lambeau Field is just up the street). “Great food & service,” according to one Yelp review. “Chicken wings are out of this world as well as everything on the menu,” the review notes. “When in Green Bay you have to check out the Stadium district and then fill up at the Stadium View.”
Wyoming: The Library Sports Grille & Brewery
> Located: Laramie
Visit Laramie website calls this brewpub and sports bar “iconic,” and notes that it’s one of the most popular places to watch University of Wyoming football as well as other events. “The Library boasts several big-screen TVs in both their bar and restaurant sections,” continues the site. There is plenty of room for a crowd and the atmosphere is always laid back and fun. The menu offers pizza, wings, sandwiches, and more.
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