Besides maybe cold pizza and talking endlessly about Star Wars to people who clearly don’t give a sh*t, few things unite the human race more than sports. It’s a way of life, and the ultimate escape from whatever hell cycle your life is currently locked into. But it’s also fun and social and a great way to make new friends thanks to beer and team spirit. Welcome to the sports bar.
Throw a TV on the wall and roll in a few kegs, and you’ve got yourself a good one. But a great sports bar? That involves multiple TVs, food you actually want to eat, and a relatively supportive environment for when your team inevitably goes off the rails. These spots across LA check all the boxes.
This classic sports bar has been around since the 1970s, and though the design has changed throughout the years, the fantastic front and back patios are better than ever. Big Dean’s is where you go on a lazy Saturday to watch some sports and end up staying all afternoon, drinking beer and eating one of our favorite burgers in the city.
On most nights, Electric Owl is a good spot for a low-key drink on the border of West Hollywood and Hollywood. But when big games are happening, Electric Owl’s patio completely fills up. This train station-themed bar has excellent (and very affordable) cocktails and a decent beer list, but what you’re really here for is the burger: it’s one of the best in the city. Order it along with a martini - both will help ease the stress of another Dodgers playoff run.
Blue Dog is a block from the 405 in Sherman Oaks, but it feels more like a hometown bar somewhere in Maine. There’s a serious tap list that features several high ABV triple ales, so get whatever looks good to go with one of the burgers. Our favorite of the bunch is the “Blue Dog” with bacon with mushrooms and onions - but really, anything with their homemade root beer BBQ sauce deserves your attention. Plus, there’s a big front patio with even more TVs and exciting dog watching.
Melrose’s local sports bar is an excellent place to watch any game, but it’s particularly great for soccer matches. During big tournaments, they keep track of the standings in chalk on the wall, and show every game regardless of timezone - which sometimes means they open at 6am. They serve food throughout the day - our favorites are the house-made bratwurst and the fish and chips.
Most sports bars get pretty wild on Sundays, but few are as fun as Sonny McLean’s, the Boston bar in Santa Monica. It’s especially fun during games, when you can join people named Sully and Fitzy in screaming at the TV and calling anyone that turns the ball over “a bum.” When the game’s not on, they’ve still got one of the most competitive dart boards around - since Boston fans can’t be chill about anything.
Living on the West Coast means that the swearing during live awards shows is always bleeped out, emails from the NYC office come in at 6am, and sports games start earlier than you’d like. That’s why The Morrison opens early every Sunday, with TVs, an excellent beer list, and $8 Bloody Marys. At brunch, order the “Morning Delight” (waffles, eggs, and bacon), and if you’re here for dinner, get the ribs if they have them.
After a long day of frolicking at the beach, you might want some cold beer and a burger. Go to Ercoles for both. The classic Manhattan Beach bar is just a few blocks from the beach and is the kind of place where sandy boardshorts are the unofficial dress code. Everybody inside is drinking cheap beer, watching football, and eating good greasy burgers - a coping mechanism for watching their quarterback break the franchise’s turnover record.
A big, partly-outdoor German biergarten in West Hollywood would probably do just fine if they had average food and a few beers on tap. But Wirsthaus is a lot more than that. The menu has some pretty great stuff to choose from - we like the wienerschnitzel with homemade spaetzle, and you can’t go wrong with any of the sausages. There are plenty of TVs and 35 German beers on tap, so even if your friend has very specific tastes in schwarzbiers, they’ll be happy. World Cup matches get wild here.
Barney’s Beanery has been a game-day institution since the 1960s and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. There are multiple locations around town, but the OG Weho location will always win out. There are enough TVs to keep an eye on every meaningful game for your fantasy team and the newspaper-sized menu is filled with everything from their famous turkey chili to pizza that has no business being so good.
Tony's Darts Away
Easily one of the best sports bars in all of LA, Tony’s Darts Away gained its massive fan base with a fun atmosphere that never gets too rowdy and some truly delicious bar food. Located just west of downtown Burbank, its sausage-heavy menu and hefty stock of board games make for a great environment even after your sorry team tanks in the 3rd quarter.
Firestone opened their sprawling Propagator campus in Marina Del Rey in 2016 and instantly became one of the most popular places to watch sports on the Westside. The beer list is massive and includes several options that have been brewed on-site, the bar food is solid (concentrate on the pizzas), and there are TVs in every direction you crane your neck. Plus, they take reservations which comes in handy for any big game showing.
Boneyard Bistro is the only bar in LA serving Santa Maria-style BBQ, meaning their meat is dry-rubbed and grilled over red oak wood. You can’t really go wrong with any cut, but we usually order the baby back ribs plus some fried mac and cheese and pimento hush puppies on the side. There are also 42 beer taps and over 100 craft bottles.
As the name suggests, Biergarten is a German-style pub on Western in Koreatown. And their menu is a fantastic mishmash of German and Korean food, like military stew with kielbasa, or pork schnitzel with katsu sauce. But the best thing here is a different kind of mash-up: “The Chosun Burger,” topped with American cheese, grilled Spam, kimchi, and pickled daikon. It’s as good as it sounds - just be prepared to have some leftovers. They’ve also got parking lot seating set up, and show soccer matches most nights.
Located in West LA, The Nickel Mine became the go-to sports bar in the neighborhood the minute it opened. Yes, it provided a place to watch sports in an area that has very little of them, but the space is also nice and big, the food is solid, and there are plenty of drink specials and even a private event area if you’re rolling deep for the game. Stick to any of their pizzas.
This massive Marina Del Rey sports bar received a big facelift a few years back, but despite a sleek new bar with an upgraded craft beer list, its most famous activity remains intact - turtle racing. On the first and third Thursday of every month, their sprawling side patio hosts turtle racing, which involves placing bets on which turtle is going to get to the outside of a circle fastest. It’s strange, loud, and very fun - especially when you’ve put down on a side-bet about which turtle’s going to finish last. Next time you’ve had a terrible week and need to see some reptiles meander across a racetrack, this is exactly where you need to be.
While ordering seafood at a sports bar isn’t always the best strategy, you don’t have to worry about room temperature tilapia at FishBar in Manhattan Beach. From the mussels to the shrimp salad to some of the best fish tacos west of the 405, this is solid seafood across the board in a laid-back environment that’s filled with locals.
Downtown Culver City is filled to the brim with sports bar, but our favorite one is actually a few blocks over in Palms. The Garage is a former auto shop turned neighborhood craft beer bar on Motor Ave. with a big industrial space, a casual crowd, and plenty of TVs. When it comes to food, we usually stick to their wings or the Boston-style bar pizza.
Ye Rustic Inn
Ye Rustic Inn is a legendary sports bar in Los Feliz known for its surly waitstaff, loud music, and chicken wings - easily some of the best in town. They aren’t flashy or served with a bunch of bespoke dipping sauces, but you don’t want flair when you’re drinking beer and yelling at your team on the TV. You get to choose your desired spice level and crispiness, and while ordering them extra crispy is non-negotiable, we’ll let you pick your heat.
Playa del Rey is still a tiny beach neighborhood that feels perpetually trapped in the year 1967. Prince O’Whales (or pee-oh-dubs) is doing their very best to keep it that way. The bar in the heart of PDR is actually a lot bigger than it looks from the outside, with a stage for karaoke, ping-pong tables (that are only used for beer pong), and a big back patio for people who want to scream at football.
This neighborhood spot on Pico is generally crowded on weekends, when it’s full of people playing board games, darts, and arcade games upstairs. On game nights, it gets a little louder. They’ll have the big-deal game projected on the big screen, and more on the TVs along the walls. The beer list here has enough variety to get you through the game, and the vegan-friendly bar menu - particularly the corndogs - is pretty great.
Originating in Compton, Bludso’s BBQ now resides in a large, shiny space on La Brea in Hollywood that’s become one of the most dependable big group spots in the area. Their party tray feeds up to 12 people and comes with brisket, pulled pork, ribs, half chicken, hot links, and a heap of sides for only $230 (or about $19 per person). Now that we’ve done the math for you, all you have to do is sit back, grab a beer from their excellent tap list, and watch with your 11 other friends as your team finally starts playing football correctly.
33 Taps Silver Lake
With a prime location in Sunset Junction, 33 Taps has quickly become one of the Eastside’s most reliable sports bars. There’s ample indoor and outdoor seating, a solid food menu with everything from hot chicken sandwiches to chimichurri bowls, and nightly events that range from trivia on Wednesdays to weekend DJs to Drag Race viewing parties hosted by a rotating list of the biggest queens in the business. There’s rarely a dull moment at 33 Taps and that certainly includes NFL Sundays.
Football with a view. Brewco is in the heart of Manhattan Beach and has unobstructed ocean views from the patio to help dull the pain of watching your team choke away their playoff chances once again. It’s also a beer drinkers paradise, with a rotating tap list of local California craft beer and plenty of other brews as well. We’re big fans of the fish tacos, which come perfectly beer-battered and served with a creamy Baja white sauce.
The Westside’s strange affinity for British/Irish pubs is something that’s not talked about enough, and Joxer Daly’s might be the granddaddy of them all. This is where you go if you want to catch the Manchester United vs. Chelsea game and drink beer with a guy named Torrey from Leeds. And watch depressed Jets fans, which is always fun. Get the Irish nachos, which means instead of tortilla chips, everything’s piled high on thick steak fries.
The best thing about The Parlor on Melrose is simply how many TVs there are inside. Turn your head in any direction and you’re bound to catch whatever game is most interesting at the moment. Saturdays get pretty rowdy here during college football season, but there’s a big courtyard separating the two bar areas in case you need some fresh air. When it comes time to soak up all those early morning beers, there’s a brunch menu filled with solid dishes like chilaquiles, breakfast tacos, and biscuits and gravy.