College Football: The Top 50 Schools' Best College Bars for Game-Watching
If there is any experience that rivals viewing a college football game in the actual gridiron venue, it is watching "the game" or all the games in a bar or eatery in a college town.
Yes, thrown in with a throng of zealous enthusiasts, you spend a lazy Saturday afternoon and evening ordering appetizers, lagers and such all while you watch a full day of college football unfold before your very eyes.
Roaring cheers, audible gasps and shared passions are on the emotionally-charged menu as the home team plays and as the home team's arch-rivals play (and hopefully suffer desperate defeats).
The following slideshow pinpoints 50 fabulous bars in 50 of the top college towns throughout this great nation where the collegiate gridiron enthusiast can get a full throttle game day-viewing experience.
This landmark piece of literary work is unique, as the actual list of establishments was compiled with the help of college football fans all across the country; B/R colleagues, friends, family members and acquaintances combined their opinions to create what has to be considered one of the best listings of college bars ever presented in this provocative format.
The registry should be used as a guide, a travel companion, a font of information and a gentle escort as the out-of-town fan makes his or her way to visit an otherwise foreign collegiate locale.
So, friend, plug the listed coordinates into your GPS and come hither for the "next best thing" to the actual game experience.
Many thanks to all my esteemed collaborators who joined forces as a panel to produce this ground-breaking catalog of institutionally-linked saloons, inns, taverns and eateries.
Zeno's Pub: State College, Penn.
Zeno’s is a basement bar that features live music and perhaps one of the best beer menus in all of collegiate bar-dom.
As per its bold self-description, "Zeno's is about hangin' out and tearing it up…….since 1972," which really understates this marvelous institution’s contributions to the world of beer.
100 West College Avenue * State College, Pennsylvania 16801 * http://www.zenospub.com/
The Dixie Chicken: College Station, Texas
College Station is home to Texas A&M University, and regardless of the Aggies' future conference affiliation, it will remain home of the legendary Dixie Chicken.
The Chicken is an A&M institution, and the establishment claims to serve the "most beer per capita of any bar in the U.S."
Texas A&M students flock to the Dixie Chicken to dunk their Aggie ring in a pitcher of frothy beer, and the bar also serves an excellent array of food to collegiate celebrants from all over the South.
The Tap is also an excellent College Station destination, though not as celebrated as the Chicken—and if I had my druthers, I’d gladly visit the Wings and More Restaurant on University, where my own personal relationship with the chicken wing flowered into maturity.
307 University Avenue * College Station, Texas 77840 * http://dixiechicken.com/
The Houndstooth: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Offering views of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium, The Houndstooth Sports Bar opened in 1988 and offers the discriminating sports enthusiast more than 40 HD televisions that are also conveniently located in the restrooms.
Per the establishment’s own website, the Houndstooth has been named the No. 1 and No. 14 college sports bar by Sports Illustrated and SI on Campus, respectively.
Alternate Tuscaloosa venues include Harry’s and the Ivory Tusk.
1300 University Blvd * Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401 * http://www.houndstoothsportsbar.com/
The War Eagle Supper Club: Auburn, Ala.
A member of the Playboy Top 100 College Bars listing, the War Eagle Supper Club lives by the honorable, time-tested motto of, "Cold Beer, Hot Rock, No Mercy."
The Supper Club was originally established in 1937 (as an actual supper club) and offers four bars, a shot bus, a slush bus (for a safe, though difficult-to-recall passage home) and though the "supper" experience is superseded by that involving adult beverages, the War Eagle offers a lively music scene.
Despite the legendary status of the War Eagle Supper Club, our B/R connections at Auburn recommend the local Buffalo Wild Wings as the establishment that offers the best opportunity for game-viewing, and the truth is the local wing eatery is probably hard to beat in any college town.
2061 South College Street * Auburn, Alabama 36832 * http://www.wareaglesupperclub.com/
The ESSO Club: Clemson, SC
Sitting in the shadows of Death Valley, the ESSO Club began as a gas station that dates back to 1933 and after serving numerous purposes throughout the years, slowly emerged as what is now one of the most famous college bars in the nation.
The gas service wasn’t suspended until 1985, but Clemson athletics, beer (and the consumption thereof) and the gathering of friends have always been a part of the spirit of the ESSO.
One of the coolest aspects of the ESSO is that one of the bars is crafted from stadium seats discarded from Death Valley during a renovation that occurred in the 1970s.
The ESSO has to be one of the most history-rich destinations on this distinguished list.
An alternate destination in Clemson, and one touted by locals as an equal to the ESSO, is Tiger Town Tavern on College Avenue.
129 Old Greenville Highway * Clemson, South Carolina 29631 * http://theessoclub.com/Home.htm
The Sink: Boulder, Colo.
The Sink has provided a haven for University of Colorado students since 1923 when a restaurant called "The Sunken Gardens" first opened its doors for business.
The Sunken Gardens was home to a large fountain called "The Sink" and hence, the legend was born.
The Gardens officially succumbed to "The Sink" name in 1949, and the now-infamous "Sinkburger" was first served up in 1955.
Unique to The Sink (other than being the greenest establishment on our list) is a customer-created art gallery that originated in 1950 and has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
The Sink has a full bar, and if you are wondering how good the food is, well, it was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives—which is hard to beat among collegiate eateries.
1165 13th Street * Boulder, Colorado 80302 * http://www.thesink.com
The Union Bar: Iowa City, Iowa
The self-proclaimed "biggest bar in the Big Ten" was founded in 1993 and throws special events as varied as "80’s Night," "Trailer Trash Party" and "Studio 54."
Yes, Studio 54 in Iowa City is worth the price of admission all on its own.
The Union is massive and is definitely the party destination in Iowa City. It is also suitably amped up on Hawkeye game day.
An alternate destination in Iowa City is Brothers Bar on South Dubuque Street. Brothers is a chain, but has plenty of TVs and offers more of a sports bar atmosphere than does The Union.
Also, check out The Airliner and The Sports Column.
121 E. College Street * Iowa City, Iowa 52240 * http://www.theunionbar.com/
Fraser's Pub: Ann Arbor, Mich.
Ann Arbor is one of the best college towns in our great gridiron nation, so narrowing down one great place to watch a game near the Big House is an arduous task at best.
Fraser’s Pub won’t wow you with curbside appeal or bells and whistles, but it’s a great local hangout to watch college football with the Michigan faithful.
Other favorable destinations in Ann Arbor are Good Time Charlie's, Scorekeeper's, the Touchdown Café and the Arena.
2045 Packard Street * Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104 * http://fraserspubaa.com/
Sam Hughes Place Championship Dining: Tucson, Ariz.
One of the nicest sports bars on this list, Sam Hughes has 29 plasma screen TVs and high quality food.
(I have inside information from an esteemed Arizona colleague that the stuffed sandwiches, "are where it’s at.")
The bar at Hughes is 72 feet long and is constructed of Argentinean Honey Onyx that glows when under lit; yes, friend, this place is visually pleasing without losing that essential tangible "college" feel.
An alternative to Sam Hughes is Dirtbag’s, which is more of a traditional college establishment, meaning it’s smaller and louder, but is an Arizona institution nonetheless.
446 North Campbell Avenue #150 * Tucson, Arizona 85719 * http://www.championshipdining.com/
The Swamp Restaurant: Gainesville, Fla.
Recently named the No. 1 college sports bar by Playboy, The Swamp Restaurant is located just across from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.
The Swamp, whose tag line is, "Feeding a Nation since 1994," was indeed established in 1994 and features a front lawn, decks and both outdoor and indoor facilities; it is saturated with several thousand tailgaters on game day and is literally part of the Florida Gator experience.
Gainesville is another excellent college town, and other sporting destinations are the Purple Porpoise (located near the Swamp and perhaps sports the best name of any bar on this list), the Ale House, Thirsty Gators and CJ’s.
1642 West University Avenue * Gainesville, Florida * http://swamprestaurant.com/
Walk-Ons Bistreaux & Bar: Baton Rouge, La.
Walk-Ons draws both on the history of LSU football, when in 1893 walk-on Edwin Gayle starred in the Tigers' first-ever game against rival Tulane, and that of its founders and owners, Jack Warner and Brandon Landry both were walk-ons in LSU’s storied basketball program found a name for their string of three Baton Rouge area sports bars.
The Burbank location of Walk-Ons is within throwing distance of the LSU campus and is the perfect venue to watch a college ballgame with the well-served purple and gold tiger stripe-wearers.
3838 Burbank Drive * Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808 * http://walk-ons.com/
Harpo's: Columbia, Mo.
So, where would you go if you had just ripped the goal posts down at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo. and needed a place to take your prize and have a refreshing beverage?
Harpo’s is tagged as "The Missouri Bar" and has been serving it up in Columbia for almost 40 years. It features 13,000 square feet of Tiger fun that is anchored by an impressive bar area.
20 South 10th Street * Columbia, Missouri 65201 * http://www.harposcomo.com/
The Grille at Four Corners: Chapel Hill, NC
Named for UNC’s legendary basketball coach Dean Smith’s "Four Corners" offense (which he used to stall opponents at the end of games when the Tar Heels had the lead), The Grille at Four Corners is the second coming of a great sports bar in a tremendous college town.
Four Corners features 20 HD televisions, a southern menu and a whopping 12 beers are available on tap.
175 East Franklin Street * Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514 * http://fourcornersbar.com/
Varsity Club Restaurant & Bar: Columbus, Ohio
Located less than five football fields from the Horseshoe, the Varsity Club is on one hand restaurant and bar, and on the other is (i.e. on game day) one of the biggest tailgate parties in the Midwest.
The legendary Varsity opened in 1959 and serves simple fare in sight of the striped awnings that call Buckeyes home from all over the world.
It’s the Varsity where, "Saturday’s are Special."
Indeed, sir. Indeed.
An alternate (and new) location whilst in Columbus is the Tilted Kilt in the Polaris area.
278 W. Lane Avenue * Columbus, Ohio 43201 * http://www.myvarsityclub.com/index.html
George's Restaurant: Waco, Texas
You may be surprised to see Baylor’s hometown of Waco on this prestigious list, but George’s Restaurant is as good a destination of any of the fine establishments mentioned here.
George’s dates back to the 1930s and remains a friendly enterprise that features a mouth-watering chicken fried steak, which should be enjoyed with a monster beverage known as the "Big O."
It’s a frothy schooner and a down-home meal that’s not to be missed.
George’s is so legendary that singer/songwriter Pat Green even wrote a song about it…
1925 Speight Avenue * Waco, Texas 76706 * http://georgesrestaurant.com/
The Bear's Lair Pub: Berkeley, Calif.
Home of the "Big Bear Quarts," the Bear’s Lair Pub is located at Bancroft and Telegraph, and is a historic venue that has previously featured performers as storied as Robin Williams, the Talking Heads, Green Day and No Doubt.
If you want to experience this specific destination, you will need to book your travel plans hastily. as the Bear's Lair opened under new management in late August and is slated for a final one-year run before the area the pub is located in will be closed for renovations.
2475 Bancroft Way * Berkeley, California 94720 * http://bearslairpub.com/
A.J.'s Sports Bar: Tallahassee, Fla.
A.J.’s Sports Bar has been serving up Seminole sports, drinks and 15 different flavors of wings since it opened in 1993.
Consistently named the best sports bar in Tallahassee, A.J.’s features 50 HD televisions, two dance floors, Karaoke, live music and is home to the 32 oz. frothy Big Daddy beer.
If you need more convincing, A.J.’s self-proclaims to "hand patty" every burger; it’s all about the hand patty.
An alternate Tallahassee destination is Bull Winkle’s Saloon which is also on West Tennessee.
1800 West Tennessee Street * Tallahassee, Florida 32304 * http://www.ajsportsbar.net/
O'Connell's Irish Pub & Grille: Norman, Okla.
O'Connell's opened its doors back in 1968 and has served as a refuge to Sooners fans ever since.
Big-screen televisions, a well-appointed menu, a full bar and live music all a stone’s throw from the University of Oklahoma make O'Connell's a landmark in Norman.
120 East Lindsey Street * Norman, Oklahoma 73072 * http://oconnellsnorman.com/oindex.html
Nick's English Hut: Bloomington, Ind.
Nick’s is a frequent member of the top sports bar listings, and with good reason.
Founded in 1924 by Greek immigrant Nick Hrisomalos, what started as a small eatery located about a block and a half from campus has blossomed into a full tilt sports bar that offers as much flavor and color as any establishment in this registry.
The modern version of this Indiana legend features 40 flat screens and a menu that honors the original roots in its pizza and Stromboli offerings, but also tenders updated items involving fish and greenery.
One of the gems in the long history of Nick’s is the fact that the original owner (and namesake) passed away on the exact day that Indiana captured its second NCAA basketball title (March 17, 1953).
I think it’s safe to say that nobody can touch that.
Alternate selections for those traversing to Bloomington are Yogi’s Grill and Bar and Kilroy’s.
423 East Kirkwood Avenue * Bloomington, Indiana 47408 * http://www.nicksenglishhut.com/
O'Kelly's Sports Bar & Grill: Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Located just a stone’s throw from Central Michigan University, O’Kelly’s is consistently rated as one of the best sports bars in the nation—and this despite its location in a smaller college town.
O'Kelly's is decked out with a boatload of high quality televisions, quality food and the beer is cold—who could ask for anything more?
2000 South Mission Street * Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48858
Taylor's Bar and Grill: Eugene, Ore.
The quintessential college bar, Taylor’s has a mind-blowing list of drink specials, plenty of TVs for viewing and above-average food.
Its convenient campus flanking location means it will be packed with Ducks on game day, but it's well worth the visit if you are seeking an authentic college saloon in Eugene.
Alternate locations when visiting Oregon are The O Bar (which reportedly has less of a family vibe) and The Cooler, which is located tantalizingly near Autzen Stadium.
894 East 13th Avenue * Eugene, Oregon 97401
Jerome Bettis' Grille 36: Pittsburgh, Penn.
Located near Pitt’s gridiron home arena, Heinz Field, Jerome Bettis' Grille 36 is one classy joint.
With 36 beers on tap, a 36-ounce T-bone steak, 36 bottled beers, 36 fine wines and 36 different varieties of martinis, you would be hard-pressed not to find a selection that tickles your fancy at Jerome's.
Bettis' Grille offers stunning views of the city of Pittsburgh, and along with the dazzling atmosphere, it doesn’t forget the fan. It features 50 HD televisions and the mother load of autographed sports memorabilia.
It’s a must-see for every discerning sports enthusiast and has been voted the best sports restaurant in Pittsburgh every single year since it opened.
An alternate to Bettis' is the Clark Bar.
375 North Shore Drive * Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222 * http://www.jeromebettisgrille36.com/
Bash Riprock's: Lubbock, Texas
Located in the heart of Lubbock and near the stunning campus of Texas Tech University, the original Bash Riprock’s opened for business in 1986 and has been dishing up good times ever since.
Bash’s offers an extensive menu, 23 high-definition TVs, live music and, though Quad Night is now but a memory, the best bar in Lubbock that now offers $.02 pints on Monday nights.
Be sure to check out the old framed prints of the original Southwest Conference mascots on your way to the restrooms (a word I use loosely), which have hung there proudly since the joint first opened in the era of big hair, triangle earrings and leggings.
Ah yes, Bash’s—the venue I frequented when my Tech roommate dated one of the managers...
2419 Main Street * Lubbock, Texas 79401 * http://www.bashriprocks.com/
Big Al's Grille & Sports Bar: Blacksburg, Va.
Located among a strip of bars on Main Street in Blacksburg, Big Al’s is a full-service sports bar that offers an impressive food menu to complement a drink menu that is as extensive as any on this list.
From peel-and-eat shrimp to a prime rib dinner and teriyaki steak salad, Big Al can cook up some good stuff. Over at the bar, PBR is by the bottle, 18 beers are on tap and the "shooter" menu has more choices than does your local Baskin Robbins.
Also located on the strip is Sharkey’s, and a favorable destination further afield is The Bull and Bones.
201 Main Street * Blacksburg, Virginia 24060 * http://www.bigalssportsbar.com/
Eskimo Joe's: Stillwater, Okla.
Located just one block from the campus of Oklahoma State University and literally in the shadows of T. Boone Pickens Stadium, Eskimo Joe's is Stillwater's self-proclaimed "jumpin’ little juke joint."
Joe's has been dishing up cheese fries and selling its famous t-shirts since 1977, and its recent accolades include being named the Sporting News' "Best College Post-Game Hangout," Sports Illustrated's "Perfect 10 Sports Bar" and was named one of Playboy's "Top 10 College Sports Bars."
This one is a must-see among a list of truly amazing establishments and is more than likely the only place in the country with a retractable roof.
Seriously, that’s awesome!
501 West Elm * Stillwater, Oklahoma 74074 * http://www.eskimojoes.com/
Bent Willey's: Morgantown, W. Va.
Other than the Purple Porpoise in Gainesville, you have to believe that Bent Willey’s should win some sort of award for the best-named joint in our college football nation.
Featuring a main bar, 80's lounge, dance club, pizzeria, high energy bar, mini bar, patio bar and cool zone, Bent Willey’s might offer the most variety of any establishment listed here.
Bent Willey’s is massive, and though it certainly does not resemble a traditional sports bar in any way shape or form, it is probably the most popular destination in Morgantown. It is therefore a place to see Mountaineers fans gather in mass (and perhaps catch the game).
471 Chestnut Street * Morgantown, West Virginia 26505 * http://www.bentwilleys.com/
State Street Brats: Madison, Wisc.
State Street Brats is the "Home of the Red Brat."
If you find yourself wondering what the difference is between colors of brats the establishment’s website offers the following guidance:
"If you've ever had a delicious brat before, you've probably had a white brat. The WHITE BRAT is a traditional pork brat soaked in beer and onions before being grilled to perfection. The RED BRAT is our specialty that you can only get here. It is a mixture of pork and beef that is smoked and then butterfly cut. It is particularly tasty with cheddar cheese melted on top!"
Offering up 25 high quality TVs, State Street Brats is a legendary Madison sports destination located on legendary State Street. Don’t miss it!
603 State Street * Madison, Wisconsin 53703 * http://www.statestreetbrats.com/
The Four's Restaurant and Sports Bar: Boston, Mass.
Yet another frequent member of top bar lists in America, The Four's opened in 1976 and features the most attractive façade of any member of our esteemed list.
The Four's has several locations, and its Canal Street site has 42 TVs to keep up with all the action of the day.
And if it's all about the food, The Four’s fare rates way above your normal sports bar's offerings.
Boston is home to Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and MIT, and The Four's is THE Boston destination for the sports enthusiast.
166 Canal Street * Boston, Massachusetts 02114 * http://www.thefours.com/
Jack and Dan's: Spokane, Wash.
Located near Gonzaga University in Spokane, Jack and Dan’s has a colorful life story to go along with what Sports Illustrated rated as the No. 6 sports bar in America.
The saloon began as "Louie’s Snappy Service" during the Prohibition era and actually delivered buckets of beer to patrons within a two-mile radius, imagine that!
The original owner sold the establishment to a one-armed guy who claimed he was the only, "one-armed bartender west of Chicago," and it was this gentleman who sold the enterprise to Joey August who was the bar’s namesake from 1955-1975.
Jack Stockton (father of Gonzaga’s John Stockton of NBA fame) and friend Dan Crowley III bought the place in 1961, and eventually the name was changed to "Jack and Dan's" to honor its new owners.
Though ownership has changed hands once again, the name remains Jack and Dan's, and the atmosphere is way above the average sports bar that just so happens to flank a college campus.
Though basketball-rich Gonzaga is far from a football destination, don’t sell Jack and Dan's short as a suitably delicious venue for enjoying a long afternoon and evening of college gridiron action.
1226 North Hamilton Street * Spokane, Washington 99202 * http://www.jackanddans.com/index.htm
Hummers Sports Cafe: Amarillo, Texas
Located about 25 minutes from West Texas A&M University, the home of some offensively-explosive D-II football teams, Hummers Sports Café is your ultimate destination if you suddenly find yourself in the Panhandle of Texas.
Though WT may not be a top 50 school in terms of D-I, it is definitely a top D-II school, and Hummers is home of the fantabulous "Hummburger," which needs to be consumed to properly appreciate its not-so-subtle greatness.
2600 Paramount Blvd * Amarillo Texas 79109
Rusty's Last Chance Saloon: Manhattan, Kan.
Located in the "Aggieville" section (six square blocks of collegiate bars, eateries and retail shops) of Manhattan, Rusty’s Last Chance Saloon is legendary among Kansas State students.
Rusty’s has super patio facilities, and like Harpo’s in Columbia, Mo., it is THE destination for a celebratory goalpost yanking parade to end after a huge Wildcat win in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
I personally would go to a place that had goalposts on the actual menu (along with something suitable to wash the said yellow posts down with).
1213 Moro Street * Manhattan, Kansas 66502
Schloz Garten: Austin, Texas
Austin is another city where it is difficult to pick just one venue for sports viewing, but we will boldly do so for the better of this great sports nation.
Within walking distance of most Longhorn athletic events, Scholz Garten's history is unsurpassed in the great state of Texas and perhaps among the 49 other members of this inspired list.
August Schloz originally opened his "Hall" in 1866, and the establishment has been serving up beer since that early date, making it the oldest operating business in Austin.
Think of it, Schloz has been serving frothy goodness since just after the Civil War ended.
Schloz is on the National Register of Historic Places and has expanded gracefully over the years, but still retains the Biergarten and Hall.
This has to be considered a top 20 destination.
1607 San Jacinto Blvd * Austin, Texas 78701 * http://www.scholzgarten.net/
The Corner Club: Moscow, Idaho
The Corner Club in Moscow, Idaho once again proves the adage that real-life is better than fiction.
The Corner tavern was converted from what was actually a small chapel back in the 1940s, and the best tale from the Corner Club began in 1963 when Idaho Vandals basketball star Gus Johnson touched a nail.
Touched a nail?
Johnson, from a standing start—via the request of the Club’s owner—touched a spot on the original chapel beams that were measured 11'6" above the floor. The owner subsequently honored his feat by pounding a nail onto the spot he touched and proclaimed anyone who repeated the exploit would drink for free.
Well, it took 23 years before anyone drank without paying at the Corner Club, and it was Joey Johnson (brother of Dennis Johnson) of the College of Southern Idaho who finally equaled Gus' deed.
On his third attempt at the prize, Joey infamously grasped, then bent the nail after which the same owner reapplied the nail to the beam—this time a half an inch higher.
The Corner Club is a sports bar near the highly-unique Kibbie Dome. It features 32-oz. "tubs" of beer, has a historic high hanging nail and it serves biscuits and gravy to those on hand for the NFL’s kickoff at 10 a.m. PDT.
How could you possibly say no to that?
202 North Main Street * Moscow, Idaho 83840 * http://www.cornerclubmoscow.com/joomla/
Three Dollar Café: Atlanta, Ga.
Serving the Atlanta area since 1982, the Three Dollar Café is a full-service sports bar that has consistently been honored with having the city’s best chicken wings.
Offering two locations, the Three Dollar Café is teeming on Saturdays with Georgia Tech and Georgia fans, but is also called home by displaced college football fans from all over the country who transiently reside in Atlanta.
The patio is welcoming, the beer is cold and the wings are, "FRESH, NEVER FROZEN."
Yes, let us go, my friend...let us go!
4475 Roswell Road NE * Atlanta, Georgia 30342 * http://www.threedollarcafeatlanta.com/
ESPN Zone: Los Angeles, Calif.
Even if you welcome the idea of a "chain bar" on our distinguished list with a disgusted snort, you have to admit that ESPN’s chain of Sports Zone establishments are absolutely remarkable—well-appointed interiors, unique memorabilia, good food, TVs en masse, recliner service, controllable speakers in the booths, arcade games and a big delicious helping of everything ESPN.
Los Angeles, home to USC and UCLA , is so massive and ever-changing that ESPN Sports Zone is a safe bet for the travelling sports enthusiast who is need of a worthy watching venue.
ESPN Zone also has a location in Anaheim, Calif.
800 West Olympic Blvd, Suite B101 * Los Angeles, CA 90015 * http://lalive.com/eat/espn-zone
Ricky's Sports Theatre & Grill: San Leandro, Calif.
Not necessarily nestled in a college town, Ricky’s Sports Theatre & Grill is an exceptional sports bar that is located in San Leandro, which is pleasantly located between Stanford and Cal (well, sort of).
Ricky’s is ranked No. 2 in sports bars nationwide by Sports Illustrated and is yet another institution on our list that garners national recognition on a regular basis.
Ricky’s originated back in 1946, and if you are wondering if the "Sports Theatre" label is just for show, these guys put their money where their mouth is; Ricky’s tops the charts with more than 90 televisions.
The food is excellent, and of course there is a bar stocked with pretty bottles and magic levers that flow with cold, delicious and golden beer.
15028 Hesperian Blvd * San Leandro, California 94578 * http://lalive.com/eat/espn-zone
Devils' Advocate Bar & Grill: Tempe, Ariz.
Though most national listings of best sports bars in Tempe will point you to McGuffy's, we are going to go with an esteemed B/R colleague's recommendation of the Devils' Advocate.
Yes, this list is all about utilizing actual local preferences over prevailing media notions—and this is exactly why you should put the Devils' Advocate at the top of your to-do list in beautiful Tempe.
The Advocate features 39 HD TVs for viewing pleasure, as well as a full food and drink menu that is sure to please any palate.
Will you need silverware?
FEAR THE FORK friend, you are in Tempe—home of the No. 22 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils.
955 E. University Drive * Tempe, Arizona 85281 * http://www.devilstempe.com/index.php
Foghorn's: Fayetteville, Ark.
Self-proclaimed as, "Fayetteville’s Best Sports Bar," Foghorn's has, "the best TV set up in town," with TVs both inside and out.
Voted Fayetteville’s "hottest wings" for seven years straight, Forghorn's offers a full menu of 50 sauces that range from "Acid Rain" to "x1000 Beyond Insanity," which requires the signing of a waiver with each order.
Among the more unique selections in the flav-o-rama are "Death by Bacon," "Jalapeno Cheddar" and "Barbequed Blueberry," which personally seems a little questionable to me.
Foghorn's is chock-full of variety, Razorback spirit and everything you could possibly need for a first-rate game-viewing experience.
2175 North College * Fayetteville, Arkansas 72703 * http://www.foghornswings.com/
Game Day Pub: Athens, Ga.
In the illustrious words of my Athens connection, "Well, out of the 70 or so choices I would say..."
Georgia is probably the most difficult town on this list to select just one bar as a representative.
For the sake of pleasing more than just one group, we’re going with the Game Day Pub, which offers the necessary television count, a mind-boggling array of bottled beer (try 70), a respectable number of drafts (six or so) and it is visually pleasing to the traditionalist (think wood paneling), yet still affordable to the budget-minded student (think drink specials).
Other venues worth visiting in America’s best college town are The Nowhere Bar, Magnolia's, Allgood Lounge and General Beauregard's on East Clayton.
251 W. Clayton Street * Athens, Georgia 30601
Sandbar Sports Grill: Coconut Grove, Fla.
Perhaps the most tropically-pleasing destination on our illustrious list, the Sandbar is located in the heart of Coconut Grove, which is just southeast of Coral Gables.
Serving fans who loyally support the Dolphins, Marlins, Heat, Panthers AND Miami Hurricanes, the Sand Bar is the self-proclaimed "home of the fish taco" and touts a Baja Southern Cal-infused menu.
But fear not friend; it’s not all about the food, and this Sandbar has two "huge" screen televisions, 24 plasmas and a list of drink specials that causes the college student in all of us to stare in wonder (um, Penny Beer Night is Wednesday's).
3064 Grand Avenue * Coconut Grove, Florida 33133 * http://sandbargrove.com/
Trippers Sports Bar: Lansing, Mich.
Billed as mid-Michigan’s "biggest sports bar," Trippers has served Sparty and friends since 1989 (which makes the name kind of make sense—dude, you’re tripping out….).
More than 50 televisions grace the walls of Trippers (giving it one of the highest TV counts on our list), and in terms of game-day fare, the tavern offers an amazingly thorough food menu and the free-flowing lager fountains you would expect of such an establishment.
Trippers is, "where good sports meet since 1989," and other Spartan-approved venues include Lou and Harry's Sports Bar, Jimmy's Pub and the historic Harrison Roadhouse on Michigan Avenue.
Regardless, "it’s a beautiful day for football" in East Lansing—always.
350 Frandor Avenue * Lansing, Michigan 48912 * http://www.tripperslansing.com/index.php
Brewsky's Food & Spirits: Lincoln, Neb.
Though there is no doubt older, more steeped in history locales in Cornhusker country, it’s hard to beat the power punch of four well-stocked locations of Brewsky's.
The self-proclaimed, "next best thing to being at the game," (which is what this list is all about) Brewsky's has live music, a full bar, and a big menu—but really it all comes down to the stunning wall of HD TVs pumping out Nebraska Cornhusker highlights.
You have to love a bar with upcoming events listing who all Nebraska plays next…
Four Locations * Lincoln, Nebraska * http://www.brewskys.com/
Between the Buns: South Bend, Ind.
Recently awarded with a final eight finish in ESPN’s "Top Eight North American Sports Bars" contest (a place in Toronto took home the big prize), Between the Buns is a headliner in one of college football’s most coveted destinations—South Bend, Ind.
The South Bend location is one of four Between the Buns sites in the larger Mishawaka/Elkhart/Granger area, and it is flat-stacked with TVs, has great drink specials and good food.
What sets "Buns" apart (and why wouldn’t you love to say that) is its serious approach to the serious business of collegiate sports.
Many a college bar with TVs en masse will let you mosey in and stare wide-eyed at the TVs until you find a spot that at least partially shows your game, but at the Buns, they get you sorted out from the get-go and seat you according to your game preference.
It’s like having a college football concierge—nice.
Though there is no shortage of bars in South Bend, other places worth a visit are CJ’s, Corby’s, Coaches and the old Linebacker Inn.
1803 South Bend Avenue * South Bend, Indiana 46637 * http://www.betweenthebuns.com/
Caesars Palace Sports Book: Las Vegas, Nev.
Home of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and the gambling beacon of our great nation, the city of Las Vegas offers probably the best group of sports bars in the USA.
Though you could make similar recommendations for Bally's, the Bellagio, the Flamingo, the Mandalay Bay, the MGM, the Monte Carlo and the Rivera, we're going with Caesars because, well, we like it best.
Caesars Sports Book features six 12' x 15' televisions, a massive 20' x 50' LED board, 12" x 50" plasmas and a 12-inch flat screen at each of its lush tables and, again, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better viewing (and betting) experience in the nation.
3570 Las Vegas Blvd South * Las Vegas, Nevada 89109 * http://www.caesarspalace.com/casinos/caesars-palace/casino-gambling/race-and-sports-book-detail.html
Standings Bar: New York, NY
Even though it’s absolutely too big to be a college town, leaving the Big Apple out of the mix would be completely remiss, and after all New York City is in reality a slew of small towns combined to make one enormous city.
The Standings Bar is in the East Village, and though it is smallish by the size standards of this list, it's jam packed with quality beers, TVs and offers full menus from local restaurants that neighbor the bar, making its menu second to none.
Themed beer nights, free food offerings, sports viewing and an overall pleasing disposition make the Standings a gem in NYC.
43 East 7th Street (at Second Avenue) * New York, NY 10003 * http://www.standingsbar.com/
Buffalo Wild Wings: Anytown, USA
Though it’s definitely not your unique college town viewing spot, Buffalo Wild Wings' nationwide chain of eateries offers the college sports enthusiast a predictable, yet quality sports bar experience wherever he or she may roam.
Founded in 1981 in Kent, Ohio by two wing-lonely Buffalo NY transplants, Buffalo Wild Wings definitely has the heart and soul of a college sports bar, especially when you visit a location situated within the confines of a college town.
Located Virtually Everywhere People Love Saucy Goodness * http://www.buffalowildwings.com/
Murphy's Bar and Grill: Honolulu, Hawaii
Placing an Irish Pub located on an island this late in the list is not a sign of desperation, but instead it is a symbol of our dedication to you the reader, you the future traveler and yes, you the college football enthusiast.
Murphy's has had several names over its long life as a business enterprise, and it represents one of only two surviving recipients of the five original "retail Spirit" licenses issued on the Island of Oahu in the 1870s.
Originally called "The Royal Hotel," Murphy’s became Murphy’s in 1987 and is no doubt the only bar on this list that has survived being a part of a Monarchy, a Republic, then lasted through Hawaii’s annexation, territorial status and finally its adoption as the 50th United State in 1959.
Murphy's has a menu that is as varied as you might think, and its main athletic association is with the University of Hawaii.
And just in case you thought this was a watered-down version of an Irish Pub, Murphy's features 14 beers on tap, including a saucy little number called "Kona Longboard."
2 Merchant Street * Honolulu, Hawaii 96816 * http://murphyshawaii.com/
Kam's: Champaign, Ill.
Located just off the main quad of the University of Illinois, Kam's is an Illinois institution that proudly claims itself to be the "Home of the Drinking Illini."
Kam's is old-school, and while you shouldn’t expect to be wowed by the sights, sounds and smells of this gem, you should anticipate getting a bunch of bang for your buck and being afforded the opportunity to watch the Illini play in a historically stimulating, but not even close to pretentious atmosphere.
618 East Daniel Street * Champaign, Illinois 61820 * http://home.kamsillini.com/
The Gaslamp Tavern: San Diego, Calif.
Located in the historical Gaslamp district of downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp Tavern is a great place to catch the SDSU Aztecs game or perhaps spend an entire weekend watching every team in the nation.
The Gaslamp opened in 2005, offering 12 flat screen televisions, two patios, live music, a decidedly upscale menu and no less than 12 frothy beers on tap.
The Gaslamp is also a home-away-from-home for Nebraska fans who have found their way to the West Coast, which means game day will be well attended and lively.
868 5th Avenue * San Diego, California 92101 * http://www.gaslamptavern.com/
Schultzy’s Sausage: Seattle, Wash.
Well, let’s finish up with a hum-dinger...
Schultzy’s is a German-infused bar with eight flat screen TVs, brats, German beers, burgers and an excellent location near the University of Washington.
Its sausage, its heritage, its football and it's the self-proclaimed "Wurst Restaurant" in Seattle that’s been dishing up the good stuff since 1989.
4114 University Way NE * Seattle, Washington 98105 * http://www.shultzys.com/
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