Most sports bars in New York City suck at being sports bars. They’re either frat houses filled with people who wish they were still in frats, normal bars with a couple of TVs and an ESPN subscription, or lounges where MBA alumni groups use games as an excuse to “grow their networks.” But there are some exceptions that take their sports seriously. These spots have lots of TVs, play volume for key games, can show the World Cup or college water polo, and offer enough seating to ensure that you won’t be standing in place for four straight hours. Here are the 24 best sports bars in NYC.
Buffalo wings are like different kinds of teleconferencing software - for something so common and seemingly straightforward, it’s amazing how often they just kind of suck. We don’t have the answer for how to fix that echo or mute the marketing team, but we can help with wings: go to Mudville 9 in Tribeca. The meaty, not-too-crispy wings go well with towers of any of the 30 draft beers, and if you tell them what game you’re most interested in when you make a reservation, they’ll make sure it’s playing on the big screen nearest to your table.
Finnerty’s is a sports bar in the East Village that caters mostly to Bay Area teams, so if you’re from San Francisco or you bought a Steph Curry jersey after they beat the Cavs in 2015, you’ll like it here. They also offer the option to reserve a keg, and they have a BYO food policy, so you can bring in Han Dynasty or Joe’s Pizza whenever you get hungry - both are a block away.
Even though the only weather you’re concerned with is in the stadium, your friends keep saying how it’s beautiful outside, and they don’t want to spend all afternoon in a dark bar. Brooklyn Tap House is an ideal compromise. This Bed-Stuy sports bar has a big backyard with a bunch of outdoor big screens, so order any of the more than 40 beers on tap, and complain about the rain 1,000 miles away while your friends work on their tans.
Harlem Tavern isn’t explicitly a sports bar, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great spot to watch your team. You should come here to watch games and drink pitchers of any of the 25 beers on tap, but just know that when you’re cursing at James Dolan for trading Porzingis, there will probably be a family eating brunch at the table behind you. Mumble an apology, take a quick look at their burgers with smoked bacon and fried eggs, and then order one yourself.
Don’t go to Hair Of The Dog and complain to us when an NYU undergrad chugs your mom’s pinot grigio thinking it’s lemon water. There’s nothing refined about this dark, crowded bar on the LES, but if you’re fine with that, then the abundance of big screens and projectors makes it a good place to watch sports. They also have drink specials every day and half-off beer on weekends, so you can play some cheap games of beer pong against a couple guys in Bengals jerseys taking it way too seriously.
The Stumble Inn is from the same people as Hair Of The Dog and six other bars that all feel like they’re here to help undergrads transition into the real world without too much of a shock. Like the others, this location on the Upper East Side has great drink specials, including half-off beer on weekends, and plenty of TVs. Just know that about half the people here will be more interested in the music videos than the games.
Wogie’s a Philly-themed sports bar, which means that during Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers games, you’re probably either going to really like or dislike it here. But even if you don’t dream about the Foles TD catch or Ryan Howard’s cameo on It’s Always Sunny, you should come here to watch non-Philly teams play. The corner space in the West Village has some very good bar food, like six kinds of cheesesteaks, buttery buffalo wings, and garbage bread - which is like a stromboli stuffed with Italian meats.
If you’re walking on 2nd Avenue in the East Village and see a line stretching around the corner to get into Professor Thom’s, you don’t need to check ESPN to see what’s going on. If it’s Saturday, there’s a Michigan football game, and if it’s Sunday, Tom Brady is playing against people 20 years younger wearing six fewer Super Bowl rings. This dark, slightly underground bar gets extremely crowded, so if you plan on eating giant plates of nachos covered in pulled pork and roasted corn, or you don’t want to shoulder past Michigan Greek life alums to get to the bar, you should make a reservation way ahead of time.
Smithfield Hall is the best soccer bar in New York City. You can happily come to this big bar in Chelsea wearing the Liverpool or Barcelona scarf you got during your semester abroad, but it’s also where you should go to watch a Dutch league match at 8:30am with crowds of people talking about the most promising prospects in the Ajax youth academy. There are a ton of TVs, and if you contact them ahead of time, they’ll almost always put whatever match you want to watch on at least one of them.
Warren 77 has buffalo wings, walls covered in classic sports memorabilia, and lots of TVs, which play volume for Giants and Rangers games even when the only thing they’re still playing for is pride (and millions of dollars). But it’s also in Tribeca, most of the seating consists of big leather booths, and it’s from some of the people behind trendy restaurants like Tiny’s and Holy Ground. That means that you’re probably going to see more freshly pressed button-downs than stain-covered jerseys here, and the bar food is more upscale than at typical sports bars. We always go for a sandwich filled with smoked meats from Holy Ground.
When a friend describes the way you choose to spend your Sundays as “black hole time,” you usually just tell them there’s nothing wrong with having a hobby. But after a day watching sports at The Grayson, you’ll understand where they’re coming from. This narrow East Village bar doesn’t get much natural light, and it has so many TVs playing so many games that time begins to feel like it stops with each challenge flag and TV timeout. It doesn’t, though, and you’ll leave with very little sense for where the last eight hours went, besides a vague memory of commiserating with someone who might’ve been wearing a hat, and two or three half-price burgers.
Break Bar is like an amusement park for adults. So instead of face painting and teacups that spin you around until you’re nauseous, this huge, industrial space in Astoria has pool and ping pong tables, mini bocce courts, and giant Connect 4. All the activities make it a great spot to day drink with a group, but it also happens to be one of the best sports bars in the city. There are pitchers of beer, great buffalo wings, and TVs and projectors everywhere - including around the pool tables in case you feel like multitasking.
Blue Haven is a big space right on Houston Street, so it’s a useful option when you’re looking for a convenient meeting place to watch ACC football, or something actually worth your time, like ACC basketball. But it’d be a good place to watch games no matter where it was located. It always tends to be the right amount of crowded, it has lots of TVs including one that’s seven feet across, and the floor-to-ceiling windows provide healthy reminders that Duke winning again isn’t, in fact, the end of the world.
For sporting events that are very important to us, we don’t like to be in particularly social situations. It’s awkward to scream profanity into our sweatshirts while someone’s friend of a friend talks about their kids, and all we really want is to focus on the game. One of the best bars to do that without distraction is Standings in the East Village. It’s like a studio apartment in terms of its size and BYO food policy, but with a few key differences. The whole space is covered in TVs, volume is always up, and high-quality beers are on tap.
There are lots of places to watch sports on the Upper West Side, but most of them are either random pubs that show replays of Yankees games with subtitles, or they’re bright college bars that smell like spilled light beer. Blondies is an exception. There are a bunch of tables you can reserve ahead of time, TVs playing the biggest games with volume, and some of the best buffalo wings in the city.
There are five Clinton Hall locations around the city, and while they tend to feel more like Dave & Busters than local sports bars, they’re good places to watch games. They all have about 20 beers on tap, 15 different types of burgers, and enough TVs to keep track of your whole fantasy team without adjusting your chair.
Whether you can’t find anyone else interested in watching preseason Padres games, or you don’t feel like listening to a friend talk about deleting dating apps again while the game’s on, keep Bodega 88 in mind. This Upper West Side spot is about the size of a studio apartment, but it has big screens behind the bar and individual screens at every booth, so it’s perfect for flying solo. Order a strong caipirinha and some of the Latin-influenced bar food, like fried calamari with a Dominican honey glaze, and temporarily convince yourself that this might finally be the Pads’ year.
Walk into a crowded sports bar with a group, find out that you’re not going to be able to sit until this batch of games is over, and then spend 45 minutes arguing about where to go instead. Or you could plan to go to Croxley’s in Williamsburg. Not only does the huge space have enough bar seating and tables to accommodate all the people playing unnecessarily competitive softball in McCarren Park, but their website also allows you to check wait times and put your name in for a table before you leave your apartment. Once you do get there, order something from their huge draft beer list, and some very good buffalo wings. Before you decide to be a hero and order the “cry like a baby” variety, know that they’re some of the spiciest we’ve ever had.
Reservoir is in the middle of NYU, it stays open until 4am everyday, and it attracts plenty of students. But it feels like less of an undergrad bar than other places showing sports in Greenwich Village. That’s partly because there are no beer pong tables where SAE kids illustrate the downside to “winner stays on” drinking games, but it’s also because the focus here is on sports. That’s especially true during Steelers games, but even when the only mention of a “terrible towel” refers to the effectiveness of a wet nap on sauce-covered hands, most people use the long, dark space as a spot to get wings and discounted beers while watching games rather than a place to go out.
The Big Whiskey is part of the same group as Whiskey Town,The Whiskey Annex, and a bunch of other bars around the city with whiskey in their names. As you might imagine, they offer a bunch of whiskeys here, which can come in handy if your starting QB seems to forget which color jerseys to throw to, or you’re a fan of the Jets. There’s a long bar as well as a bunch of booths for big groups, and no matter where you’re sitting or standing, you’ll have a good view of the raised TVs behind the bar. The big space, which feels like a converted warehouse, also has a couple beer pong tables in the basement in case some people in your group don’t feel like sitting in the same spot for seven hours straight.
Keg & Lantern is where you should watch sports in Greenpoint, and if you also happen to be the kind of person who knows more about hops than Blake Griffin, then you should make a trip to this microbrewery from anywhere in the city. That’s because not only does it have lots of TVs around the bar and on its back patio, and some very good buffalo wings (which are half-priced on Sundays and Mondays) but it also serves around 15 beers they brew on site.
The Gramercy location of Triona’s is near Stuy-Town and Kips Bay - two places where you’ll find as many Michigan grads as Morgan Stanley’s training program - which helps explain why this Irish pub identifies itself as a Michigan bar (as well as a place for Chicago sports fans). But whether you want to drink $14 pitchers of light beer surrounded by people wearing “Buck The F*ckeyes” shirts, or you’re just looking for a spot with lots of TVs and bar seating, Triona’s is one of the best sports bars in the neighborhood.
When there are no games to watch, most sports bars feel like Santa’s workshop in July - but with less eggnog and more Fireball. Even though Bronx Ale House is a good spot to watch games - it has lots of TVs and plenty of seating - but it’s just as pleasant when the TVs are off. That’s because this big bar in Kingsbridge has a very good beer selection and bar food - like a burger topped with smoked bacon and IPA onion jam - that make it worth seeking out for lunch or dinner anytime.