Best Super Bowl Sports Bars
It’s not a decision to take lightly. This is, after all, TV’s biggest night of the year. The 2011 Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers was the most-watched TV event in U.S. history, with 163 million viewers. And every year, the pressure is on to find the best place to enjoy the action.
First things first: there’s no need to settle for your own couch—or the obligatory grocery store runs. The sports bar is a credit to the American way of life, and there is no better time to patronize one than during this most vaunted of all sports celebrations. Cheap drinks, simple food, and strangers to cheer with and root against—it’s a simple formula that, when done right, makes you feel like you are at home, with no cleanup required.
Finding the right sports bar for the Super Bowl, however, means more than just wandering into the nearest joint with a TV behind the taps. There is a delicate balance to master: more upbeat than uptown; down home, not down at heel.
Of course, you’re going to need a good view of a high-definition screen—the more the merrier and the bigger the better—a reliable source of beer and bar food, and the company of like-minded sports fans, the kind you can have an intelligent conversation about two-point conversions with. (Or, at the very least, someone who can help you critically deconstruct the halftime performance.)
You want a place that befits excessive celebration or can provide you with all the comforts a devastating loss demands. In a city like Miami, this might mean plenty of outdoor seating (and screens) so you can soak up the sunshine during the game. In Baltimore, you probably want to hang out with the most loyal Ravens fans on the planet, and if you’re in Vegas, you’ll want to be close to a betting window.
Tried-and-true or new with a twist, each spot on our list of the Best Bars for Watching the Super Bowl offers a casual, affordable atmosphere, solid beer choices, good grub, and a crowd that lives and breathes football.
Duffy’s Sports Grill, North Miami Beach
The latest outpost of this south Florida chain blitzed its way into Miami in 2011 with a game plan that guaranteed victory: 700 seats, 200 flat screens, a poolside bar, covered patio (with yet more flat screens), and dockside service if you decide to sail your boat in for the big game. Wings, burgers, and Bud Lights stream from the kitchen all day long, but there are also gluten-free items and a small wine list available.
3969 NE 163rd St.; (305) 760-2124; duffysmvp.com
Auto Battery Bar, Seattle
This former auto shop in the Capitol Hill area is part sports bar, part regular neighborhood drinking hole. There’s pool, Skee-Ball, and shuffleboard, but of course on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s all about what’s on Auto Battery’s 10 HD TVs. The bar also offers free Wi-Fi in case you’re compelled to live-tweet that big play, and a menu of fast food gone gourmet in the best possible way. Case in point: the Hot Deep Fried Danger Dog, a Po Dog hot dog wrapped in pepper bacon and served with deep-fried sautéed onions and hot chili sauce.
1009 East Union St.; (206) 322-2886; autobatterybar.com
The Fours, Boston
A favorite in a fiercely proud sports city, The Fours is filled with memorabilia and is the place to go for spirited conversations with Boston sports fans. Even when ferrying bowls of homemade clam chowder or plates of towering sandwiches, the staff here know how to navigate the large and lively crowds with Patriots-like precision.
166 Canal St.; (617) 720-4455; thefours.com
Lagasse’s Stadium, Las Vegas
You can’t beat a sports book for sheer high-stakes atmosphere and an edge-of-your-seat game-watching experience. At celeb chef Emeril Lagasse’s version inside the Palazzo, those stadium seats are wide and comfortable and the flat screens abundant (how does more than 100 TVs sound?). Here, you get all the thrill of the game—plus Steak BAM’wiches or perhaps a filet—without the overwhelming stats tickers or seedy vibe of other sports books on the Strip.
The Palazzo: 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South; (702) 607-2665; palazzo.com
High Velocity Sports Bar, Indianapolis
Grab a banquette with private HD TV at this sparkling sports emporium. Its location inside the JW Marriott Hotel means the bar will offer TV action amid the luxurious environment this high-end brand is known for. Just take care when getting into discussions about Peyton Manning—he’s a beloved figure in town.
10 South West St.; (317) 860-6500; highvelocityindy.com
Mother’s Federal Hill Grille, Baltimore
On Ravens’ home game days, Mother’s parking lot transforms into the Purple Patio, a tailgating haven that opens at 8 a.m. for a grilled breakfast and Bloody Marys. Bring your appetite: Mother’s is known for its burgers, especially the Heart Attack on a Plate—eight ounces of beer-battered Angus beef stuffed with cheddar cheese and deep fried.
1113 South Charles St.; (410) 244-8686; mothersgrille.com
This modern take on the sports bar serves a big-on-barbecue menu and brews you can pour yourself, thanks to the beer-tap system installed at the communal tables and in the private dining rooms. There’s no cover to watch the Super Bowl, and tables are open on a first-come, first-served basis. Seventy HD TVs throughout 16,000 feet of bar and restaurant space will ensure you don’t miss a minute of the action.
300 Marietta St. NW; (404) 885-1472; statsatl.com
Stadium View Bar & Grill, Green Bay, WI
This is a legendary Packer-fan clubhouse, just one block from Lambeau Field. The family-run business caters to Cheeseheads with pizza, wings, burgers, and Jerry’s Famous BBQ Ribs.
1963 Holmgren Way; (920) 498-1989; thestadiumview.com
Cooter Brown’s Tavern & Oyster Bar, New Orleans
The identity of the original Cooter Brown is a mystery, but here—and all over the South—the name and phrase go hand in hand with booze. It’s fitting, then, that this NOLA pub serves more than 400 types of beer in bottles and 40 more on tap. Oysters, crawfish, and po’boys make nice accompaniments to your brews, and to the game playing on the bar’s 17 TVs and two eight-foot drop-down screens.
509 South Carrollton Ave.; (504) 866-9104; cooterbrowns.com
Santisi Brothers Pizzeria, Phoenix
The “wide wall of sports” surrounding the bar makes Santisi Brothers look like a war room. That’s a good thing. Wherever you’re sitting—or standing—at this sports pizzeria, you’ll have a clear view of one of the 100 screens tuned to the Super Bowl. Subs, sandwiches, sliders, wings—Santisi does it all, but it takes extra pride in its New York–style pizza.
2710 West Bell Rd.; (602) 789-7979; santisibrothers.com
The Republic, San Francisco
Catch the pregame hype with a Super Bowl Sunday brunch and $14 endless Mimosas at this all-American bar and restaurant in San Fran’s Marina District. The Republic serves all the traditional sports dishes—chicken wings, chili, sliders—but with a quintessentially Bay Area artisanal twist. For the best seat in the house, grab a spot in front of the projector screen and order up beer-bucket specials for kickoff.
3213 Scott St.; (415) 817-1337; republicsf.com
Ainsworth, New York City
With 40 flatscreens adorning its treated pine walls and enough seating for 375 hungry fans, The Ainsworth is a little bit Vegas, a little bit Manhattan lounge and a whole lot of fun on game days. The leather banquettes lure an attractive crowd, whether they're into Pabst Blue Ribbon, Pinot Noir or a pear-infused cocktail. The menu covers bar favorites with a twist—try the truffle mushroom burger or the crab cake sliders.
122 West 26th St.; (212) 741-0645; ainsworthnyc.com
Chopper’s Sports Grill, Denver
This Cherry Creek favorite is home to 19 beers on draft, 40 more in bottles, and 50 HD TV screens. (There’s even one in the restroom so you never miss a play of the big game.) Menu-wise, Chopper’s goes with local versions of traditional nachos and chili cheese fries (here, they’re smothered with a Colorado pork green chili), and the burger is a blend of Angus chuck, short rib, and brisket.
80 South Madison St.; (303) 399-4448; chopperssportsgrill.com
Christian’s Tailgate Bar & Grill, Houston
This is the third outpost of Christian’s and cements the chain’s reputation for having the best burgers in town. You’ll need to reserve a table or booth inside for the big game, but the large patio will have open seating, and dogs are welcome.
2820 White Oak; (713) 863-1207; christianstailgate.com