I honestly hate sports bars. Doesn’t everyone? Seems like sports bars are a thing you acquiesce to because communal sports watching is so damn fun. You know the beers suck, you know the food sucks, you for damn sure know the clientele sucks, but when your team is playing a big game you gotta be around others to watch it, so down the street to the local Bud Lite dispensary you go.
But what if there was another way?
All of the bars on this list are fine to good in their own right, but you can also bank on them airing multiple games each Sunday. And above all, I can personally guarantee your trip to these bars will be a Douchebag Free Experience™.
Easily the most conventional sports bar on this list, Red Star’s saving grace is its size: its two floors and about a billion TVs big. In Manhattan, a bar’s size and TV count are both good criteria for permanent avoidance, but at Red Star’s location a block from the East River in Greenpoint, you’re more likely to find the bike messenger set crowding a table than a gaggle of fratty post-grads. Add to this the actually solid food menu and and a beer list to goes beyond Stella, and Red Star is a perfectly suitable place to spend a Sunday
Recommend if you say: “It’s not that I don’t like beer towers, it’s that I don’t like beer tower drinkers.”
Mulholland’s adjacency to Lodge and Full Circle Bar tell you all you need to know: this is a laid back spot. It also happens to have some of the best wings in Brooklyn and a respectable tap list. It can get crowded during big games, but it’s never overwhelming. True story: I watched the Bruins clobber the Canucks in game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, and I accidentally bumped into a Canucks fan while carrying beers back to my table in my Boston hat. Homeboy said sorry and asked if anything spilled. Nice people there.
Recommend if you say: “I sure love to yell about stuff, but let’s please be respectful.”
You of course already know that this Midwest-style dive has the Pudding Seal Of Approval, but good news friends: if you check Lake Street off your Pudding to do list on a Sunday, you can catch your prefered team on one of the 5 large TVs or featured on the wall projector. Grab a Bloody Mary with a beer chaser if you’re hungover, or a hot dog if you’re specifically not hungover. They draw the Rock and Roll Dad crowd there, which is good because age bears a negative relationship to sports-inspired screaming.
Recommend if you say: “After I down these high lifes I’m gonna go home and blast some Guided By Voices at a level just below what would wake up my kid.”
Pine Box Rock Shop
Pine Box isn’t technically a sports bar at all, but it’s hard to say what really it is – a beer bar with a rotating cocktail menu, a venue, a spot for late night vegan empanadas. But on fall Sundays a lazy hodge-podge of dogs and their messy-chic owners drift over from Roberta’s brunch to root, sometimes vociferously, for their respective teams. So you get to pal around with some pups and enjoy Pine Box’s respectable beer list at a dollar off each drink. I swear last time I saw someone in North Face and a Northeast college hat. What is going on with Bushwick?
Recommend if you say: “I gotta see the Niners game, but I can’t let anyone in my band know that I care.”
Kent Ale House
It doesn’t have the atmosphere of Lake Street or Pine Box, but Kent Ale House easily has the best food and beer lists of any sports bar in Northern Brooklyn. Located across the street from Bushwick Inlet Park on the East River, the bar draws a cross section of the the intramural sports crowd, the stroller crowd, and the Premier League crowd. Every game gets a TV, so on a mild day, the big windows open to the bike traffic, exploring Kent Ale House’s tap list is about the best way to take in hours of football in Brooklyn.
Recommend if you say: “Leave me alone dude I’m watching the Pats.”