Get Your Head in the Game at Memphis' Favorite Sports Bars

Photo courtesy of Sports Pub Memphis
Photo courtesy of Commercial Appeal
By Sally Walker Davies, Memphis Local Expert

Memphians love their sporting events, especially those revolving around SEC football, Hotty Toddy, Memphis Tigers basketball andnd the NBA's Grizzlies, who continue to tear it up on the court at FedEx Forum.

The best sports bars in Memphis offer plenty of friendly company on game day - and you might be surprised that English Premier League football, also known as soccer, gets a lot of love in the Bluff City. Celtic Crossing and Brass Door - both very authentic Irish pubs with all the traditional Irish fare that goes along with it - both offer EPL viewing in addition to broadcasts of their American counterparts.  TJ Mulligan's is a local chain where sports and live music manage to work together, and gives the feel of a really authentic neighborhood bar, especially in the Pinch - the downtown neighborhood location that we chose as our favorite of three options. Next Door is our favorite spot for a more laid-back game watching, plus serves up the best non-pub grub on the entire list. We love the vibe at Brookhaven - plus they indulge we Big 10 fans regularly - and even have big screens on the patio, which almost makes you feel like it's fall in East Lansing.

10. Hooters
Photo courtesy of Hooters Memphis - Facebook

There are three Memphis-area versions of this national chain restaurant, and while we aren't big fans of chains and especially this chain, there is no denying it is a sports fan's dream: Scantily clad waitresses serving up beer and all sorts of pub-y food – plus multiple televisions with multiple sporting events. The atmosphere is festive, to be sure, and the space resplendent with its bright orange décor. It's a good choice for a super-fast meal before a big event at FedEx Forum or Autozone Field. Their menu consists primarily of chicken wings in a variety of sauces, and burgers, and plenty of beer brands from which to choose.

9. Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
Photo courtesy of inkedmn

If it's beer and sporting events you seek, this popular bar just off Beale Street is a good choice. WHile primarily a beer bar, there is always a sporting event on the dock, especially in the hours before the Grizzlies take the court at nearby FedEx Forum. Inside, you'll find an atmosphere conducive to downing a few brews and having a good time: wooden furniture, pool tables, and plenty of Elvis memorabilia. During warmer months, the patio is one of the best places to hang out in Memphis. In case you need to put something substantial in your belly, Flying Saucer offers decent pub grub, and the aptly named Big Pretzel goes great with most beers.

8. Sports Pub
Photo courtesy of Sports Pub Memphis

This random spot in East Memphis isn't much to behold, but it does do justice to its name, with loads of TVs and a pub-y feel.The Sports Pub attracts a good mix of sports fans, but you likely won't find any EPL games on their monitos. The bar tends to be lively, especially if the Vols, Titans, Tigers, or Grizzlies are on the tube. Expect it to be crowded on weekends with everybody from professionals and college kids to tourists. The place is popular for its 20-plus TVs, a rather daunting beer selection, and an awesome happy hour, which lasts from 4pm until 7pm.

7. Next Door
Photo courtesy of Next Door

The next door and more casual neighbor of Chef Ryan Trimm's Sweetgrass is a bar/casual eatery that rocks during the NFL and NBA seasons - but we hesitate to call it a sports bar; let's just say this is a more upscale yet casual bar that just happens to host great sporting event parties. Next Door feels pub-y, with a long bar, almost the length of the entire space - and a mix of high top and conventional tables which can be thrown together to accommodate larger groups. The wine and beer offerings are fantastic (we love any bar that offers an Albarino as a matter of course), with a great selection of imported bottled beer and regional brews on tap.

6. TJ Mulligan's - Pinch District
Photo courtesy of Commercial Appeal

TJ Mulligan's is a local change with three locations, and our favorite is the on in the Pinch, an historic district in downtown Memphis that's near the pyramid-shaped (soon to be) Bass Pro Center. Mulligan;s offers a patio, a great inside space with plenty of TVs, and a focus on all things football, with MNF and TNF (plus specials and giveaways) and more pro football on Sundays, and college games run all day Saturday. The Grizz and basketball Tigers get their due as well. When Monday isn't a football night, it is a poker night, with friendly Texas Hold 'em competition.

5. The Brass Door
Photo courtesy of The Brass Door

A real Irishman is one of the partners of The Brass Door (he's even named Seamus - love it!) - and his love of soccer and home prompted him to open the doors of the downtown pub, housed in what was originally a bank. With the tellys dedicated to English league soccer and Grizzlies games, live music and a super-friendly staff, anyone who's been to a real 'local' will feel instantly transported - this is the real deal. The pub plays home pub to the Memphis Goners, Arsenal's Memphis Fan Club, which means every Arsenal match comes with a nice crowd of people who are very, very into their team. As far as the pub grub, the menu is decidedly authentic and the beer list is top-notch. ploughman-style lunches to Irish stew, lamb and shepherd's pies and traditional fish 'n' chips,

4. Max's Sports Bar
Photo courtesy of Max's Sports Bar Facebook

Max's is a rarity in Memphis - an actual neighborhood sports bar that's tucked into a spot in downtown Memphis. It's often ground zero for the random neighborhood Olympics, and even though it's tiny on the inside, offers a large yard - and maybe that's a generous word - where portable picnic tables are scattered for casual hanging out. The menu tends toward the typical pub grub with a nice exception - a huge selection of steamed sub sandwiches and a list of hot dog choices that rival anything you can get at the ballpark.

3. Celtic Crossing
Photo courtesy of Celtic Crossing

Everything about Celtic Crossing feels authentically Irish pub, and walking into the bar is like going through a wormhole into another dimension. Like any respectable pub, the decor offers a mix of tables and chairs, there's always a football match being beamed in from somewhere around the world (if you don't know what EPL stands for, this may not be your bar), and you can order just about any Irish whiskey every made. You can order corned beef, shepherd's pie bangers and mash and even Scotch eggs, or go for the more traditional American pub fare of a burger or salad.

2. Fox and Hound English Pub & Grille
Photo courtesy of Fox & Hound

The Fox & Hound is a chain, but gives off a local vibe thanks to its Memphis-centric decor. This is another spot that college alumni groups gather on football Saturdays for viewing parties and at any other time, every TV seems tuned to a different sports channel. When the sports world is quieter, the Fox & Hound offers paint nights to pull in the ladies.Food is typical pub grub and consistently good. We've brought the kids here before and it's not something we'd do again, however - while it appears family-friendly, younger kids tend to be annoying to the young singletons who heavily populate this space on college game days.

1. Brookhaven Pub & Grill
Photo courtesy of Brookhaven Pub

The neighborhood-ish Brookhaven Pub and Grill has all the sports bar cred – hi-def flat screens, a huge list of beers, pub games like darts, and a really good, freshly made pub grub menu. This is home turf to a number of Big 10 and SEC football viewing parties on any given weekend (Go, Spartans!) and the staff is very amenable to helping you find your favorite team if they can. The grub includes hand-breaded chicken tenders, a selection of gourmet burgers, and a really nice choice of salads. Brookhaven has live music every weekend on the porch – it's open year round, and one of our faves in Memphis.