Anything but your average sports bars, these four spots are ideal for catching a game in the city
It’s that time of year again when football season is in full swing. For fans looking for a place to catch a game and also enjoy a great meal, here’s where to go.
The Ainsworth (26th St. nr. Sixth Ave.)
Striking a perfect mix of Chelsea’s daytime classiness with its nighttime regalia, the original location of The Ainsworth is one of the hippest sports bars in town (it now has off shoots in Gramercy, Midtown, and Hoboken too). Come on a quiet evening, and you’ll find that with its antique chandeliers, gold-glow lighting, wood tables, and pine walls—in parts covered in a glimmering gold-and-black wallpaper—its look could be described as “rustic-glam.” However, on game nights, the 6,000-square-foot space gets too crowded for you to notice. Attention, instead, is directed toward one of the 40 flat-screens hanging overhead, ensuring everyone has a good view. American fare is rich and enticing—buffalo chicken tacos, a panko-crusted burger topped with mac-and-cheese, coconut-milk-soaked French toast stuffed with Nutella during brunch on weekends—and best paired with one of the specialty herb cocktails.
Campeón (16th St. nr. Fifth. Ave.)
Looking for an out-of-the-ordinary sports bar? Near Union Square, Campeón is equal parts rowdy Mexican joint and modern American sports bar with numbers that say it all: 80- inch HDTVs lining the walls and 70 different types of tequila. A full Mexican menu with fare like tacos al pastor, piles of nachos with all the requisite toppings, three types of guacamole, and a variety of Mexican-style hot wings provide spicy fuel for game-watching on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, which are the times when the festively decorated restaurant gets most packed. However, if you’re looking to catch a game earlier on a weekday, come in the late afternoon and early evening for happy hour, when margaritas and sangria are half off.
Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine (Tenth Ave. nr. 37th St.)
Rather than slipping quietly into retirement after leading the New York Knicks through their glory days and being named into the National Basketball Association Hall of Fame, Walt Frazier—better known as Clyde—scored one more late-in-life slam dunk with his West Side restaurant, Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine. His famous fashion sense has translated into the restaurant’s décor, with a glitzy white-tablecloth dining room walled with black-and-white murals of him as a Knick and an artsy ceiling covered in patterned aluminum overhead. Meanwhile, the American-fusion menu bears witness to his personal palate, with his favorite dishes marked with stars: bacon-wrapped scallops with chipotle aioli, blackened salmon with bourbon butter, barbecued chicken with fries and cornbread, and his signature 10-ounce burger. And when the games playing on the big televisions behind the bar awake the athlete inside you (or you wish to work off that cornbread), there’s an in-restaurant half basketball court for a cheeky post-meal game.
Brother Jimmy’s (Various Locations)
Fishbowls full of colorful straws, heaps of comfort food, and waitresses so friendly you’d be certain you were below the Mason-Dixon line—that’s Brother Jimmy’s. A Southern-style barbecue joint founded in New York 25 years ago, Brother Jimmy’s has been so successful that it now has locations up and down the East Coast, and after trying one of its barbecue platters, Southern fried chicken, and bourbon-sauce brisket, it’s no wonder why. And what goes better with a basket of hot wings or maple-buttered hush puppies than watching the game? TVs hang behind the bars at all three locations in the city—Murray Hill, Union Square, and Madison Square Garden—which are notoriously popular on big-game nights, so be sure to get a table early. For those who want a bit of competition themselves, the Murray Hill location has skeeball in the basement, where league teams come to play during post-work happy hours. (Various Locations)