Sports bars will be packed in the coming weeks with crowds gathering to catch the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. For some fans, the experience rivals attending a game in person. “This is the golden age of for sports bars. The TV viewing experience has gotten so good,” says Darren Rovell, an ESPN sports business reporter. He shares some favorite spots to cheer on your team with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.
Chappell’s Restaurant & Sports Museum
Kansas City, Mo.
Fans love the atmosphere and décor at this 28-year-old bar, which displays the owner’s collection of sports memorabilia. “There’s some really awesome stuff. Tons of football helmets, autographed baseballs. It’s the closest thing to Cheers. You feel like you’re back in time.” 816-421-0002 chappellsrestaurant.com sports bars
When the game’s a continent away, soccer fans need a place to gather. This Indy pub, which serves beers from Belgium and England, airs live broadcasts of games from the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League and European Championships. And it’s sure to be packed during the World Cup in June. “It really is like a true English pub from the outside to the inside, which is pretty cool,” Rovell says. 317-917-8425; chathamtap.com
Going to a sports bar doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice food or atmosphere. But don’t expect this Manhattan eatery to be a cheap outing. “It’s the ultimate high-end New York City sports bar. Some people would say it’s hoity-toity. It’s New York-tough to get into on a Sunday,” Rovell says. He recommends the ahi tuna burger. 212-741-0645; ainsworthnyc.com
Some sports bars have discovered customers’ tastes are more sophisticated than burgers and chips. This Twin Cities watering hole just blocks from Target Center, home to the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, is lauded for offerings like buffalo chicken wontons and truffle asparagus. Even the drinks are a cut above. “They’re doing some really nice craft brews,” Rovell says. “They serve 21st Amendment. That’s one of my favorite beers.” 612-339-0036; bar508.com