New Yorkers are about to seek hibernation indoors. And with football in the air and snow on the ground, it won’t be long before we flock to sports bars for their warmer, social weekend scene.
It’s a chance to drink beers, watch football, flirt with the opposite sex and hug strangers after a great play. You can’t do that at a nightclub.
But finding a good sports bar in NYC is like betting in Vegas. It’s a gamble, finding a seat at the bar, getting a good view of the tvs, ordering pitchers. That’s why 212Access put together the Top-10 Sports Bars in New York City. We even weighted the odds based on the number of flat screens and beer specials.
Blondies (212 W. 79th St): This Upper Westside hangout makes you feel like you are back in high school with all the jocks that invade this place. Blondies serves top-notch wings and has the home team games playing on several big screens. Monday nights are “all you can eat” wings and a wide variety of beers are served in pitchers to quench your thirst. This place is packed during the big games so you should make a reservation for a table, especially on college football Saturdays. Happy Hour has 2 for 1 drinks Monday to Friday 4pm-7pm.
SNAP (Sports Nightlife and Pastime) (248 West 14th Street): When you walk into this bar, you can hear guys yelling at the TV’s as if they were the coach of the sports team. This place has a 35 foot bar with 16 flat screen TV’s and 8 beers on tap. If you’re lucky, you can spot celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio watching big boxing matches. You won’t be disappointed.
Artica (384 Third Ave): I’ve been to this Murray Hill bar and can give you an honest and personal girly perspective that this sports bar perfect for watching games. With three levels, the bar perfectly balances sports with an upscale grill and private party space. In the upstairs bar, a post-grad crowd takes in open-mic nights, local D.J. sets, Guitar Hero fests, and food/drink deals based around big games, which flicker on flat-screens running the entire length of the wall. Happy hour includes: Mon-Wed, 4pm-10am; $4 draft and bottled beer, $6 cocktails, $6 wine Thu, 4pm-midnight; $4 draft and bottled beer, $6 cocktails, $6 wine Fri, 4pm-8pm; $4 draft and bottled beer, $6 cocktails, $6 wine.
The 40/40 Club (6 W. 25th St): This is not a typical sports bar. Owner Jay-Z turned this place into a lavish “lounge-y” sports bar with frequent celebrity sightings. Six cream-colored swing chairs hang from the ceiling that view 15 LCD flat-screen 60 inch plasma TV’s. This two-level club also has four private VIP rooms. The Remy Lounge and Jay-Z’s Private Room boast 72-inch plasma screens, pool tables, leather wraparound sofas, PlayStation 2 and Xbox systems and private wait service. When the game is over, the DJ plays some hip-hop and R&B transforming the bar into a dance club. This place can be on the expensive side, with martini’s and margaritas starting at $13.
Café 31 Sports Bar and Grill (220 W. 31st St): If this place weren’t across the street from MSG, it would just be another New York City Sports Bar. But when hockey and basketball season starts, this place comes alive. It’s a convenient post-game pit stop with parking garages next door and reported player sightings. They have 20 flat screen TV’s pointing in every angle of the restaurant that air every game. If you can’t get tickets to the game, this is the next best thing.
Warren 77 (77 Warren St): New York Rangers former left-winger Sean Avery recently opened this bar near City Hall. The front of the room contains sit-down video games and a few roomy U-shaped booths facing flat-screen televisions. Friends of mine have been here and have sat down with the players themselves and had a couple of beers. There’s a porcelain water fountain, a Gretsky print on loan from Avery’s apartment, a Diane Arbus photo donated by partner Chris Miller (a former art dealer), and vintage sports photos from a Madison Square Garden photographer. Beyond that, there’s a bar serving Guinness, Hoegaarden, Old Speckled Hen, and Molson (naturally), as well as mixed drinks — emphasis on the whiskey.
Mad Hatter Saloon (360 Third Ave): The Mad Hatter caters to the more clean-cut dressed-to-impress sports fans. Standard mirrors frosted with logos, framed jerseys, flat-screens, and other sporting paraphernalia dot the interior. A bar menu offers the standard wings and things and there’s a great selection of beers on tap; rotating specials and a happy hour highlight ‘tini’s and doctored cocktails. Check out their drink specials: Mon-Fri, 11am-8pm; $4 select drafts, $5 wells, $5 Cabernet or Pinot Grigio, $5 select cocktails.
Mickey Mantle’s (42 Central Park South): An ever-changing memorabilia collection hangs on the brightly lit walls in the hopes that an adoring collector will buy one of the pieces, which might be anything from Charles White’s Heisman Trophy to a 1999 Yankees World Series trophy. Mantle’s number 7 appears on the blonde wood barstools and chairs as well as on the T-shirts worn by the servers and bartenders. A mural depicting Yankee Stadium during Mantle’s 1950s heyday covers a large wall in the back dining room. Customers can purchase a beer in a Mickey Mantle’s souvenir beer mug while watching different sports games on numerous flat screens.
Riviera Café and Sports Bar (225 W. 4th St): The Riviera Café and Sports Bar or “The Riv” has 16 flat screens that have grid-iron and non stop hoop action. The bar subscribes to 10+ sports channels, which makes it easy to find any game to watch. If you’d like to watch the early football games on Saturday and Sunday you should call ahead to make reservations to guarantee you a table for the big game. Drink specials include: Mon-Fri, 4:30pm-6:30pm; $3 beers.
Third and Long (523 Third Ave): This sports bar is the perfect after-work gathering spot and a great place to cozy up with some friends and cheer your favorite sports teams to victory. With 16 beers on tap and nine HD TV’s, you feel like you are in the stadium watching the game. This place is crowded once football season starts with Giants and Jets fans. Check out their awesome happy hour: Mon-Tue, 11am-4am; $1 mugs of Bud and Bud Light Fri, 5pm-9pm; $4 drafts and well drinks Sat-Sun, noon-7pm; $2 mugs of most drafts.