Besides maybe cold pizza and freaking out 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. While we certainly don’t hate that setup, it does lend itself to a specific (and well-earned) reputation – sports bar food sucks. But not all of it. Make sure these 22 spots are part of your sports-watching plans and you’ll eat well even if your team is a complete disappointment.
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. Which is why The Morrison opens early every Sunday, with TVs, an excellent beer list, and $5 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.
The South Bay has no lack of places to catch a game, but few can compete with the quality of food that FishBar has coming out of the kitchen. While ordering seafood at a bar isn’t always the smartest strategy, you don’t have to worry about room temperature tilapia here. 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.
Barney’s Beanery has been a game day institution since the 1960’s and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. There are multiple locations around town these days, 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 that good.
Easily one of the best sports bars in all of LA, Tony’s Darts Away gained its rabid fan base with a fun atmosphere that never gets too rowdy and some truly excellent bar food. Located just west of downtown Burbank, its sausage-heavy menu and hefty stock of available board games make for a great environment even after your sorry team implodes in the 3rd quarter.
Firestone is easily one of the best newer places to watch a game on the Westside and has the crowds to prove it. The beer list is excellent, the bar food is insanely good, the space is massive, there are TVs everywhere you look, and those jerk chicken wings will personally speak to you. Getting a reservation for a big game wouldn’t be a terrible idea.
Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks is a place worth visiting for any sports fan, even if you’ve never tried (or heard of) Santa Maria-style BBQ. Because while they do have very good seasoned tri-tip and a 42-tap beer list, they also know that when you’re eating and drinking those things, you’re going to want to watch some football. After your fourth IPA you may even be able to convince yourself that this is the year the Rams finally break out.
Blue Palms is where you go if you want to watch the game, but secretly want to drink great beer and eat a good burger even more. There are a number of TVs here, but it should tell you something that the biggest one in the joint is the one displaying the rotating beer menu above the bar. Located right on Hollywood Blvd, Blue Palms doesn’t have any of the painful rowdiness you’re expecting either, just a fantastic truffle burger to go with the game.
Biergarten on the outside seems like just another one of those weird, bland sports bars all over Ktown. But on the inside, you’ll find a bar food menu different from anything else in the city. With both German and Korean influences, you can expect everything from kielbasa to kimchi pancakes and that’s exactly what you want while your team embarrasses themselves on national TV.
Located on Santa Monica Blvd. 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 former auto shop turned low-key craft beer bar in Culver City has quietly become one of the best places in the area to kick back and watch the game. The Garage has a great industrial space, an unpretentious (and local) crowd, plenty of TVs, and those coconut red curry pub wings we think about inappropriately late at night.
One thing you learn quickly about living in California is if you see more than one Raiders fan in a given location, turn and run. No questions asked. Except if it’s at Ye Rustic Inn. One of the better dive bars in the whole city does attract a certain amount of Raiders fans, but if you can get past that initial wave of anxiety, Rustic Inn is an essential Eastside game day experience. Order the wings.
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 bar food here is pretty great.
If you’re in Koreatown looking for a low-key place to catch the game, Beer Belly should be your first choice. Rather than being somewhere to fight loudly about who should be batting leadoff for the Dodgers, this is a quieter spot where you can watch the game, have an excellent local sour from their California-only beer list, and eat some creative bar food like bacon fat fries and pork belly chips.
1739 is a two-story bar on Vermont in Los Feliz that’s busy almost all the time, from early morning Tuesday soccer matches to late-night playoff baseball games. But Sunday mornings for football are the best time to be here - they have a solid brunch menu (go for the brunch burger), and you’ll be surrounded by East Coast transplants cheering on their far-away hometown teams (although this does mean you’ll have to deal with a few obnoxious Patriots fans).
Yes, this is a BBQ restaurant, not a sports bar. And yes, you want to be here on football Sundays. Why? Because with 10 TVs, multiple drink specials, jalapeño-infused bloody marys, and a chill crowd, it’s hard to find a better spot to watch your team win it all. Oh, and the BBQ? It’s excellent.
Football with a view. Brewco is in the heart of Manhattan Beach and has unobstructed ocean views to help dull the pain of watching your team choke away their playoff chances once again. But Brewco is also a beer drinkers paradise, with a rotating tap list of local California craft beer and plenty of other brews as well. We’re also big fans of the fish tacos.
Rocco’s is a Valley sports bar mainstay. The atmosphere inside is always relaxed, and there are TV’s in every direction. The menu leans towards the Italian side of things, and you’re definitely getting the pizza - everything from the buffalo mozzarella to the build-your-own is ideal for enduring your team’s impending November collapse. Important: they have Happy Hour every day from 3 to 7pm and drinks are two for one. Plan your Monday accordingly.
This divey Little Tokyo staple has been serving solid Asian fusion bar food for a while now, but only recently became known as a craft beer haven as well. Their miso mayo-topped Far Bar burger is what they’re best known for but the wasabi fries are needed in your life.
Yet another Culver spot that gets most things right, The Doughroom is a neighborhood pizzeria with good food, great beer, and a laid-back setting that’s just as appealing on a Tuesday night as it is Sunday morning. And Sunday morning gives you the brunch menu, a.k.a. breakfast pizza.
When Rock & Reilly’s opened up on The Strip it was a big deal, largely because it was a bar on Sunset that didn’t take knowing Patti Stanger to get in. And thankfully, Rock & Reilly’s remains a shockingly low-key Irish pub with new takes on traditional food (like corned beef sliders) and plenty of TVs to watch your team actually close out a game.
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 vs. Chelsea game and drink beer with a guy named Torrey from Leeds. And watch depressed Jets fans, which is always fun. Get those Irish nachos.
Blue Dog is the type of place you go to on a Sunday morning and see all of your neighbors and possibly your insurance guy too. A neighborhood drinking place through and through, Blue Dog has become a local favorite for their great patio, good food, and friendly service. The TVs are all in the main bar area for prime game-watching, but there’s plenty of outdoor space to scream openly with joy when your team makes the playoffs.