New York Football Bars. Got a Game To Watch? Go for it, Tiger.
While researching my book Bars, Taverns and Dives New Yorkers Love, I hit all kinds of places. Beerhalls, fancy cocktail bars, microwbrew joints, and a few New York football bars. (Bars for watching sports of all kinds, really.) Not the places I usually hang out, but hey—I found a few I liked.
If you happen to be into The Football (and I fully understand if the violence and concussions repel you), it’s usually more enjoyable to watch a game with a crowd than alone. And if you don’t have those million-dollar tickets for the stadium, a sports bar is the next best option. (Bonus: you can actually follow the action better on TV than in the nosebleeds.) You don’t even necessarily have to go to a “sports bar” sports bar, but maybe more of a dive or any old bar with a couple of TVs where people gather to drink beer and holler and watch guys smash into each other on a green field.
Now that we’re near the end of the season, with the playoffs looming, here are a few New York football bars worth considering:
Atlantic ChipShop (Brooklyn Heights): Chris Sell opened the place in 2005 with Brooklyn barman Bobby Gagnon. Sell came to the U.S. from England, and his vision for the ChipShop was simple: a British pub with British food and lots of British beverages. “I wanted to have a bar where fathers could bring their sons to watch the game,” he says. American football or the other football: ChipShop’s a great place to watch.
Cody’s Alehouse (Cobble Hill, Brooklyn): Just a clean, comfortable neighborhood sports bar, loaded with TVs (mostly small ones) with a full complement of cable channels. Just ask and they’ll likely put on any game you want to see, and cheerfully so. Grab a seat, order up some suds, fried goodies and nachos, and get your game on, big guy.
Farrell’s (Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn): Walking into Farrell’s is like walking into a clubhouse, at least when the regulars crowd the bar, most all of them men, many of them cops and fireman types with fiercely blue eyes. But it’s all right. The bar’s up front, the big TV’s in back, and the Bud’s fresh and cold as hell.
Harlem Tavern (Harlem, Manhattan): One of the greatest New York football bars. Huge place, 12 giant TVs (so every NFL game is represented every Sunday), nice crowd, only slightly more men than women, early thirties, and racially as mixed as Harlem is these days. And for a sports bar, way more good-natured and social than you’ll generally see. Most people there are into the games, sure, but for pure fun, and as a reason to get together and see their friends. Great vibe.
Long Island Bar (Cobble Hill, Brooklyn): My local bar of choice, with a secret, enormous TV in the back room, known as the Lombardi Room. Yep, the Packers rule here (one of the owners, Toby Cecchini, is from Eau Claire, Wisc.), but you’ll usually be ably to catch an NFL game here when there’s one on.
The Pour House of Bay Ridge (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn): Go on a Sunday afternoon to watch football with affable co-owner Chris Byrne. He’ll likely be manning the bar, and you’ll have a good time. “It’s not even like working,” he told me one Sunday, with the Giants/Browns game on the TV behind him. “It’s like hanging out with friends.”
Stan’s Sports Bar (Concourse Village, Bronx): I love this place, but it’s only open when there’s an event at Yankee Stadium, which amounts to 90-100 days a year, so there is some crossover between the end of baseball season and the beginning of football, and you can catch a few NFL games here. As a sports bar, it’s pretty great—loud, rowdy, visually overwhelming and—still—fun.