Besides maybe cold pizza and freaking out about The Force Awakens to people who clearly don’t give a sh*t, few things unite the human race more than sports. It’s frankly a way life for most Americans, and the ultimate escape from whatever hell cycle their life is currently locked into. But it’s also fun and social and a great way to get really drunk, really fast. 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 scenario, it does lend itself to a specific (and well-earned) reputation – sports bar food fcking sucks. But not anymore. In the hyper-competitive LA drinking scene, bars are finally raising their game and giving diehard sports fans way more to cheer for than their shtty teams. So as you ready yourself for the NFL playoffs, college bowl season, and another 10-second boxing match, make sure these spots are part of the plan.
Easily one of the best sports bars in all of LA, Tony’s Darts Away gained its rabid fan base with a low-key but fun atmosphere and some truly excellent food. Located just west of downtown Burbank, it’s sausage-laden menu continues to be some of the best bar food around and it’s hefty stock of available board games make for a great environment even after your sorry ass team implodes in the 3rd quarter.
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.
Firestone is easily the best new place to watch a game on the Westside and has the crowds to prove it. The excellent beer list and shockingly good bar food probably plays a role as well. 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.
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 truffle burger worth a long-distance drive.
One of LA’s true gems, Biergarten on the outside seems like just another one of those weird, bland sports bars that dot the in Ktown landscape. But on the inside, they’re serving up some of the most unique bar food in the city. With both German and Korean influences, you can expect anything from kielbasa to kimchi pancakes and that’s exactly what you want while your team embarrasses themselves on national TV.
Probably most famous for being the place to spot Leonardo DiCaprio watching mens soccer, Goal resides on W. 3rd Street’s cupcake row and provides a much-needed neighborhood bar to simply drink some beer and watch sports. And the food is legitimately good. And that includes a build-your-own-burger situation and $2 tacos on Tuesday.
Sweeney’s is where you go if you want to watch the game but also drink a limited-edition IPA brewed from a timber lodge in Maine. And though this is a craft beer drinkers’ paradise, the food is nothing to scoff at either. Their short rib poutine could solve world peace if distributed to the right people and nobody’s ever complained about full-sized shuffle boards on the premise either.
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 the game. A true neighborhood drinking hole, 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.
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 quite partial to 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 definitely 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. Alert: They have Happy Hour every day from 3 to 7pm and drinks are two for one. Plan your Monday accordingly.
This Little Tokyo staple has been cranking out fantastic 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 those Wasabi fries are for real and definitely needed in your life.
If you’re looking to get rowdy and cry on the streets because your godforsaken team doesn’t suck for one second, Library Alehouse is not your spot. Library is yet another beer drinking utopia with a low-key vibe and a ridiculously spicy, ghost-peppered Hell burger that’s actually all Heaven.
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.
Yet another Culver spot that seems to have gotten it all right, The Doughroom is a neighborhood pizzeria with good food, great beer, and a laid-back vibe that’s just as appealing on a Tuesday night with a date as it is Sunday morning for the game. And Sunday morning gives you that brunch menu, aka, the breakfast pizza of your dreams.
Tom’s Urban might be the sports bar to end all sports bars - and the closest thing LA has to a Vegas Sportsbook. This place is massive and has a TV for every sport currently in existence. But it’s also fun and the food is actually good. The menu is LONG, so take a breath and focus your attention on the sticky belly tacos, queso fundido, and the lobster sliders. Located in the heart of LA Live, this is the perfect post-game viewing spot.
When Rock and 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 and Reilly’s remains a shockingly low-key, Irish pub with new takes on traditional food (hello, corned beef sliders) and plenty of TVs to watch your fantasy QB take a knee instead of going for the touchdown.
Yes, this is a BBQ restaurant. 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 in a contemporary space, it’s hard to find a better spot to watch your team break your heart. Oh, and did we mention the BBQ? It’s excellent.
The fact that one of the best game day bars in LA exists in Century City proves once and for all that anything is possible in this town. Located on the bottom floor of an office building that’s probably full of people doing data entry, SmithHouse’s interior is actually massive and far more appealing than its drab exterior. The mac and cheese is pretty special and we’re not pissed about that Beer Fondue either. Oh, and 200 beers on tap.
With massive, glowing steins of beer hovering over the main dining room, Zan Beer is about as weird and over-the-top as you’d expect from a sports bar in the heart of Ktown, and we love it. Their beer list is solid, but if you’ve never ripped shots of yogurt soju while watching your team blow a 4th quarter lead, this is where that chapter begins. As for their menu, it’s a mix of standard Korean bar food (say yes to crispy chicken wings) and the more untraditional (spicy baby octopus, anyone?). Either way, you’re (probably) going to walk out happy even if your team loses.
The Westside’s strange affinity towards 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 Redskins fans, which is always fun. Get those Irish nachos.
Blue Dog is the type of place you go to on a Sunday morning and all of your neighbors and possibly your insurance guy are there too. A neighborhood drinking hole through and through, Blue Dog has become a local favorite for their great patio, good food, and excellent service. The TVs are all in the main bar area for prime game watching but there’s plenty of outdoor space to clear your head when your WR1 tears his ACL in front of your eyes.