Most Underrated Sports Bars in the U.S.
Sports bars have become a big part of American sports culture and fandom. Watching a big game in public with friends or rivals (who become friends) can be as much fun as going to the games themselves.
And in this world, sports bars compete for the time and money of sports fans by creating experiences, like the stadiums where games are played. Sports fans want the best food, the best drinks, the best TVs (gimme that hi-def, 120-inch action) and the best atmosphere to watch their favorite teams play.
These are the most underrated sports bars in the United States, with only one bar per state eligible to make the list.
20. Sidewinders American Grill
Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Signature item: Feather Bow Tie cocktail (Jackson Hole Stillworks Great Grey Gin, fresh grapefruit, St. Germain & housemade rosemary simple syrup)
Bottom line: If you're running around Jackson Hole and looking for a place to take in a game, you could do a lot worse than landing at Sidewinders, which also has a location in Bozeman, Montana — another hip place to hang out.
At the OG Sidewinders in Jackson Hole, you'll need to make a point of getting any number of their different kinds of pretzels. They've got a pizza-stuffed pretzel and a s'mores pretzel to kick things off.
Pair that with a couple of their signature cocktails, and you're off to a great start.
19. Oak Tree Northwest Bar & Grill
Location: Ashland, Oregon
Signature item: Bloody Mary
Bottom line: The Oak Tree is an Ashland staple, where you'll find college kids from Southern Oregon University mixed with longtime locals any given night of the week.
There's not much we don't love about this place, where they make a point of having all of the sports from the Pacific Northwest teams on the TVs, including SOU's (usually) nationally ranked football team when they're on the road.
If we're putting together a perfect day in Ashland, it might have to start with a Bloody Mary and an omelet from the Oak Tree before heading to Omar's for a little pregame fun, then over to Raider Stadium to watch SOU play. Yeah, that's a perfect day.
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Signature item: Extra-strong margaritas (buckle up!) paired with a chorizo breakfast burrito
Bottom line: You're going to love being in Santa Fe — one of the more underrated vacation spots in the U.S. So while you're there, you might as well pop into sports bar Boxcar, which has become one of the go-to spots for games in the ultra-hip region over the last few years.
Seriously, Santa Fe is awesome.
17. Fred's in Tigerland
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Signature item: Crawfish boil (in-season only)
Bottom line: 2022 is the 40-year anniversary of Fred's in Tigerland — the most lit college/sports bar in Baton Rouge and the go-to spot for LSU students and fans.
The pull this place has can be seen in its 40th-anniversary celebrations — they landed Better Than Ezra as its musical act for the anniversary party. This doesn't rank as high on our list because it definitely toes the line between sports bar/college bar/nightclub.
But when you walk in, you will understand why it has to be here.
16. Mountain Mama's Sports Bar
Location: Morgantown, West Virginia
Signature item: Brawndo (home-brewed beer based on Gatorade flavors)
Bottom line: You already know the words to the song. Now get yourself to the sports bar with the lyrics in its name in one of the most off-the-hook college towns you've ever stepped foot in.
We can't be totally certain you won't find yourself levitating after you've knocked back a few Brawndos — that's their signature brewed beer — and cheer on the Mountaineers with some locals.
15. World Famous Dark Horse
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Signature item: Any burger on the menu
Bottom line: Few college towns can hold a candle to Boulder, Colorado, home to the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the World Famous Dark Horse. WFDH opened its doors in 1975 and has been a place that college kids have flocked to for generations.
Part of what keeps the people coming back is the hamburgers. We like the straight-up cheeseburger, but you can't really go wrong with any of the 11 different burgers currently offered on the menu.
For the fuddy-duddys (aka old people like us), you want to get there a little early, because past about 9 p.m. the college kids are taking over.
14. The 906 Sports Bar & Grill
Location: Marquette, Michigan
Signature item: The Wildcat Burger (2 patties topped with smoked gouda, bacon, onion straws and strawberry jalapeno BBQ sauce)
Bottom line: Few parts of America fascinate us like Michigan's Upper Peninsula — a remote piece of land that may or may not have actually been the location of the first contact between Europeans and North America.
What sets The 906 Sports Bar & Grill apart is its view. The expansive view of the famous ore docks in Marquette and on the shores of Lake Superior is truly a beautiful sight to see.
13. Born and Raised
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Signature item: Sriracha-glazed chicken wings
Bottom line: Sports bars in Las Vegas got a lot more fun (they were pretty awesome anyways) after the city began bringing in professional sports teams over the last few years. The Las Vegas Golden Knights joined the NHL in 2017, and the NFL's Oakland Raiders became the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.
Born and Raised is the place for true fans of the Vegas teams. Best of all, they've expanded to two locations in the area now. So you can go to either one to cheer on the UNVL Runnin' Rebels.
And did we mention they serve breakfast all day?
12. The Palms at Destin Bistro
Location: Destin, Florida
Signature item: Honey butter chicken biscuit (or beignets … we can't decide)
Bottom line: The beaches of Northwest Florida's Emerald Coast — about a 100-mile stretch from Pensacola Beach through Panama City Beach — are unlike any other in the United States, with sugar-sand beaches and their unique, glittering water.
Right in the middle is Destin, a haven for the nouveau riche of the South peppered with everything your vacationing heart could ever want. For a sports fan looking for a fix, that means a must-stop at The Palms of Destin Bistro, which actually markets itself as a "coffee house, sports lounge and good vibes bar."
It reminds us of the really G'd out sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
11. Shakespeare Pub & Grille
Location: San Diego, California
Signature item: Fish and chips
Bottom line: This U.K.-inspired Shakespeare Pub & Grille is one of many on our list that brings a European feel to our American shores, which makes it a perfect spot for watching soccer matches.
The interior of the bar is going to take you right back to the British Isles — Tudor-style decorations underline that point. Outside, there's a wraparound deck that can give you a little room to breathe in those perfect San Diego nights.
Seriously, though. If you're here, you're in San Diego. So that's a win for you.
10. Gentle Ben's
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Signature item: Beer sampler paired with appetizers
Bottom line: Gentle Ben's was named after the grizzly bear featured in the television show "Grizzly Adams," which was popular when the bar opened in the 1970s.
Gentle Ben's, located right in the shadow of the University of Arizona campus, leveled up in 1991 when it became the first bar in Tucson to brew its own beer and has evolved over the years into the ultra-cool, ultra-modern spot it is today.
Try hitting that rooftop bar during the spring, before the weather gets unbearable (see what we did there?), and you're in for one heck of a night.
9. The Peanut Farm
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Signature item: Famous Peanut Farm Wings (with spicy peanut sauce)
Bottom line: When it comes to the sports bar scene in Anchorage, one spot looms large over the rest. The iconic The Peanut Farm, with its signature bridge, has been the go-to spot to watch big games in Alaska's biggest city since 1958.
Originally a log cabin, The Peanut Farm's success came with a huge remodeling project in the 1980s that brought it into the modern era of sports bars, and it's been thriving since.
The legendary bridge over the Campbell River was remodeled in 2002, and another remodel in 2005 added another story, an 80-foot-long bar and its own pizza kitchen.
Location: Portland, Maine
Signature item: Anything with their famous sweet chili sauce
Bottom line: Rivalries describes itself as an "upscale sports bar and restaurant," which might seem a little pretentious, but it really is.
Rivalries is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022 and has built much of its reputation based on its famous sweet chili sauce. Here's our recommendation: Get the sweet chili sauce chicken wings, extra well done and bathe those bad boys in blue cheese and chase them with a couple of pints.
Congratulations, you've reached sports bar nirvana. Now kick back and enjoy whatever game you came to say on one of their 32 hi-def TVs.
7. Mac's Industrial Sports Bar
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Signature item: Reuben sandwich
Bottom line: Mac's Industrial Sports Bar is pushing up on 20 years in business in Minneapolis and has become ol' faithful for local sports fans. It's a place where you can see every NFL game on Sundays but is also home to rabid hockey and college basketball fans.
Just don't mention the Timberwolves.
6. The Well
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Signature item: Tequila-lime smoked chicken quesadillas
Bottom line: If you're in Kansas City, please know the cool people are hanging out in Waldo, a neighborhood in south Kansas City that used to be its own town before it was annexed by the city in 1909.
If you're a sports fan hanging out with the cool kids, make your way to The Well, where you can hang out on an outdoor upper deck if the weather's good and carve your way through a menu full of delicacies like the tequila-lime smoked chicken quesadillas and crispy fried chicken.
5. Corner Club
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Signature item: Rainier beer and peanuts
Bottom line: Started as a "neighborhood bar for guys to get away from their wives" in 1948, the Corner Club is as ingrained with Moscow, Idaho's sports and drinking and entertainment culture as any spot in town.
You cannot escape the simply amazing stories that have actually occurred here, including a man walking into the bar with his horse and ordering a beer for each of them, a beer-drinking contest between sheep and men in which sheep came out on top and a feat of athleticism that's rarely been matched.
It's at 202 Main Street. See ya there.
4. Laverne's Sports Bar
Location: Kailua-Kona Bay, Hawaii
Signature item: Smoked marlin dip with jalapeno relish
Bottom line: Few places on Earth have that feeling of being in paradise as absolutely nailed as Kailua-Kona Bay, where you'll walk down a main street in the Coconut Grove Marketplace with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and a stone's throw from an outdoor farmer's market selling avocados as big as your head.
For the sports fan who is lucky enough to make their way here, you have to stop at Laverne's Sports Bar — as close to heaven as maybe any sports bar has ever been. Chicago Cubs fans should take note that the last time we were strolling past Laverne's, you could spot it thanks to the gigantic "W" victory flag hanging out front.
Also good? They're open really early and really late. You can be there at 8 a.m. for breakfast and party here until 2 a.m. every night of the week.
3. Sea Strike & Pub
Location: Sea Island, Georgia
Signature item: Bavarian pretzel with beer cheese and pub mustard
Bottom line: This might be the most unique sports bar on this list when it comes to implementation and location. Sea Strike & Pub actually has a bowling alley inside of it and is located on picturesque Sea Island, Georgia. There's also shuffleboard, darts and a giant magnetic Scrabble board.
Set up in a Euro-gastropub style, Sea Strike & Pub has so many different options for an experience for a visitor. We'd recommend (per the website) a gigantic bavarian pretzel, beer cheese and a punch bowl cocktail.
2. Whiskey Dicks
Location: Wichita, Kansas
Signature item: Whiskey Wings in Bulleit BBQ or Bulleit Buffalo sauce
Bottom line: If you're ever lucky enough to find yourself in the hamlet of Wichita, Kansas (pop. circa 500,000), make your way to Whiskey Dicks, a pitch-perfect dive bar/sports bar located in the middle of a working-class neighborhood right in the shadow of downtown Wichita.
With a selection of over 400 whiskeys to pick from, you'll understand that Bulleit is the flavor of the day, every day. But more than anything, you're going to be sucked in by the local-yokel feel of the place.
Just a wonderful bar.
1. Thomas Meagher Bar
Location: Missoula, Montana
Signature item: Scotch Eggs topped with balsamic mayonnaise and served with a side of D.E.W. Irish Mustard
Bottom line: This little piece of Ireland in downtown Missoula is perfect for watching sports, but it truly reaches sports nirvana when that sport is soccer.
What separates a lot of these bars from others is not just the ambience. It's the food, and you will be hard-pressed to find a better selection of grub than we came upon at the Thomas Meagher Bar. Their brunch seems like it's been handed down from the heavens.
Scotch Eggs Benedict? Man!