Time was, finding a good sports bar in New York was about as easy as finding good drinking buddies in Salt Lake. But a recent wave of new sports-centric bars not only have ample flat-screens and good sight lines but fine cuisine (along with the requisite wings and nachos) and top mixologists pouring the drinks. These might not be your scene on a typical Friday night, but with the NBA finally starting and bowl-game season calling…
Bounce Sporting Club
This 4,000-square-foot lounge and restaurant could easily pass for a nightclub in South Beach. Like its UES sibling, Uptown Bounce, this Flatiron spot has all the modern conveniences you’re looking for on game day, including 30 flat-screen TVs. The menu includes duck leg confit sliders and truffled mac and cheese. Bounce is also one of the few “sports bars” in the world that has a $1,000 bottle of Gran Patron Burdeos tequila on the drink menu. That said, like any good sports bar, it has a pretty sweet happy hour, from 5 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, with $3 domestic beers.
Bounce Sporting Club: 55 West 21st Street, 212.675.8007
This new bar has an old-timey vibe, with retro wallpaper, antique trophies, and photos of amateur athletes on the walls. It also has a 20-foot-long LED ticker built directly into the bar, continuously scrolling a flow of stats and scores, plus 16 big-screen TVs. The menu is a modern take on classic American grill items (peanut curry hot wings, house-made pickles), and the taps include a few hard-to-find beer-snob pleasers like the Lake Placid Ubu Ale, and Innis and Gunn.
Snap: 248 West 14th Street, 646.350.0539
The Windsor opened last year to a lot of hype for being more like a gentleman’s club than a sports bar, with its red leather banquettes and vintage NYC photos on the walls. But guys are here to do one thing (well, maybe two): watch football on the individual flat-screens on the walls beside the tables, and watch the steady stream of dressed-to-kill ladies who hang out here. The food is as serious as a gastropub gets, with, yes, truffled mac and cheese, a tuna BLT, chicken potpie, and sides of cheesy polenta, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potato fries. There are only six beers on tap, but clever cocktails (a Porn Star Martini, anyone?) and an extensive wine list mean no one gets thirsty.
The Windsor: 189 West 10th Street, 212.206.1208
New York Rangers star Sean Avery, also known as that dude who once interned at Vogue and dates Elisha Cuthbert, co-owns this faux dive in Tribeca, where patrons sit on green leather couches and set their drinks on old-school table-top video games. There’s an ongoing hockey theme (naturally), but all sports get their requisite airtime; an online schedule lists what’ll be showing on any given day. The downside here is that the bar can get crowded with the after-work crowd, but the upside is the food: traditional bar snacks like sliders, wings, and nachos—but the wings are organic, and the nachos are some of the best in town. There are also more substantial options like fried chicken, steak, and moules frites. The old-school cocktail list is solid: Think Pimm’s Cups, Mojitos, and the good old Moscow Mule (vodka, lime, and ginger beer—just try it).
Warren 77: 77 Warren Street, 212.277.8994
The Ainsworth is basically the Hamptons of sports bars, with a crowd that’s equal parts interested in watching games and one another. With multiple hi-def TVs hanging from the ceiling, the bar shows all the major events, but the real draw here, besides the occasional celebrity sighting, is the food. Officially classified as American fusion, it’s a mix of the high and low, with regular burgers battling for attention with goat cheese–stuffed lamb burgers with mint ketchup, and pulled-pork sliders trying to hold their own against lobster roll sliders. Pitchers of beer for $17 and $4 cans of PBR hold down the low end securely.
Ainsworth: 122 W 26th Street, 212.741.0645