Get Thee to a Sports Bar in New York City
By Courtney Sunday
New York and Toronto Local Expert
Cheers, groans, beer, and plenty of big-screen TVs. Depending on your hobbies and personality type, that either sounds like torture or heaven. If you are in the latter category, this is the article for you. The major components of any popular sports bar are ideal for shaking off the stress of a day (unless your team is losing).
While New York may have already been crowned the city that never sleeps, these contenders are the bars that never stop playing sports. Meet your buddies for wings, nachos, and a full slate of football, basketball, boxing, baseball, hockey, and NASCAR. Even if you happen to come alone, you can count on finding a crowd to hang with...as long as you're wearing the right colors and logos. You know how these things go.
Some bars get specific with the team that they are rooting for. Watch a Green Bay Packers game at Kettle of Fish where during Packers games you won't have a choice to watch anything else. Three words: pack your cheesehead. Or if your sports passions extend beyond the Packers, go to Studio Square NYC for 30,000 square feet, with over 40 flat screens and a massive 160 square foot garden screen. Those are some stats to get behind.
Game on. Literally.
The Village Pourhouse
Watch the game. Drink some beers. Rinse. Repeat. The Village Pourhouse gets what it is all about (and it's not the hokey pokey). Whether you are participating in their famous Wednesday night trivia nights or watching a sports game with the ample seating and large screen TVs is your choice. It can get pretty busy during games, but that is to be expected with a decent happy hour, prime location and the fried and cheesy foods of your dreams. Wings are 25 cents on Monday nights and they don't even judge you if you ask for more than 50. They are all about the fantasy leagues. You can set up your fantasy draft party directly on their website.
Standings is likely referring to the fact that there are league standings inscribed on chalkboards, but it may also be tongue in cheek with the fact that you will likely be on your feet at this bar. In fact, there are only 10 barstools. This is a sports bar in its truest sense, so expect kitschy sports memorabilia, but also expect better than average beers. Craft beer is the name of the game here, which you can enjoy as a pint or a pitcher. 8 high definition screens play major sports packages as well as college sports. Weekly features provide everything from free bagels to free pizza. Oh yes. We wrote that.
A true, fun-loving Irish sports pub, Kinsale takes very little about itself seriously. Just look for the giant Guinness mascot ready to welcome you inside. Folks from all walks of life are welcome to stop by here, grab a stool, order a pint and watch whatever closed circuit action's on the tube: Premiership matches, hurling, Gaelic football, rugby, and even college or NFL football. They complement the sports with great selections of whiskey and beer culled from all corners of the British Isles. For an especially fulfilling day, stop by on Sunday for their Irish breakfast, which many regard as one of the best in town. (212-348-4370)
Legends New York City
You don't always see white linen tablecloths and classic wood interiors at a sports bar, but at Legends, this is the case. Of course, it is still a casual dining experience with the usual pub favorites. It gets quite rowdy and filled with tourists and New Yorkers alike looking for an excellent cold beer and a good time when a game is on. Watch a boxing match or MMA fight for a low coverage charge. The specialty at the attached Football Factory is - guess what? - top international soccer. They aim to grow the fan base of football throughout America and seem to be doing an excellent job of it, if the live tweets tagging them is any indication. (2129677792)
Kettle of Fish
One of the favorite NYC bars of the four AFC/NFC Championship teams. Not every bar has that title, but Kettle of Fish does. This cozy underground bar in the West village gives Packers fans something more to look forward to than the game alone. There is a deep sense of camaraderie in the Packers fans who have this New York home away from Wisconsin. It is run by a Wisconsinite and has a friendly vibe that welcomes all -- especially if they happen to be wearing a cheese hat. Two dartboards, bratwurst and copious amounts of beer round out the experience. (212-414-2278)
A word that certainly seems ironic when the game is on is "banter." Nonetheless, Banter is a great bar to marry beer and soccer. May they live happily ever after. You can even start your day here. It opens up at 7:30 in the morning on the Saturdays that the English Premier League is on. Get a panini and one of their 24 perfectly chilled craft beers for a breakfast that is more complete for your soul than cereal. Or you can always wait until a more reasonable hour, whatever that means for you. This bar is open as late (or as early) as 4am from Wednesday to Saturday. (718-599-5200)
They say you can't judge a bar based on the size of its nachos, but Professor Thom's does have a big -- er -- plate. There are also other things we are impressed by, with 17 high definition televisions and a 41 foot bar ready to quench your every thirsty desire. During World Series games, you might become more aware that their allegiance of this "Boston in New York" bar has been pledged to the Red Sox. However, if the Sox aren't playing, they are equally happy to cheer on other teams (especially the Patriots and Bruins). How is that for sportsmanship? (212-260-9480)
The Brewery NYC Bar & Kitchen
If you want to go to a sports bar where the food is more than an afterthought, The Brewery is your place. Their burger is 8 ounces of Angus sirloin served on a house brioche roll. There is also a divine brunch menu which includes everything from said burger to a full Irish breakfast. Of course, with a name like The Brewery, the beer isn't too shabby either with almost 14 beers on tap. Lots of high definition TVs mean that sports isn't far from many people's minds, but there is just enough class to reel in non-sports lovers as well. (718-777-8007)
Studio Square NYC
"Beer beer beer...I'm goin' for a beer. Beer beer beer...I'm goin' to drink some beer. I like drinking beer. Lovely, lovely beer." It's not our fault that we started out the blurb with these words. The catchy song on Studio Square NYC's website, by deadstille, is just impossible to get out of your head. It definitely does fit the tone of this Bavarian beer garden with over 19,000 square feet of communal space, picnic tables and craft and major market beers. There is also an indoor pub of 1,800 square feet for those days when inside trumps outside. If you can't afford to officially make it to the big game, this is the next best thing, with an 160 foot garden screen and avid sports fans joining you with rapt attention. (718-383-1001)
The 40/40 Club
For all intents and purposes, this Flatiron spot is far too sexy to be thrown into the sports bar mix. This looks like a place where people with expensive taste in clothes and cognac (Read: A-listers) gather and indulge. Not surprisingly, 40/40 attracts plenty of big names -- after all, Jay-Z is a co-owner -- with its sophisticated environs. But make no mistake: thanks to 15 LCD and 8 plasma-screen TVs, it's also one of the best places in town to catch the game. The place's name pays homage to baseball's Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano and Barry Bonds (the only Big Leaguers to tally 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in one season). (212-832-4040)
About Courtney Sunday
Courtney Sunday lived in Canterbury, England and Luzern, Switzerland before returning to Toronto in 2010. Yoga teaching and freelance writing became her full-time professions, as she learned the true meaning of the statement: "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life." Courtney now divides her time between Philadelphia and Toronto. She loves the cafe culture of both cities and the ever-expanding group of foodies. When not leading small yoga teacher trainings around the globe she explores her cities by foot: www.courtneysunday.com, @Omathomeyoga.
Read more about Courtney Sunday here.