One of the best cultural experiences you can have in New York is attending NYC sports bars on a Sunday. There is a sports bar culture here that does not exist in Australia.
During the NFL season, there can be 12 games staggered throughout the day, starting at 1pm, going all the way up until Sunday Night Football at 8:30pm. Saddling up in a sports bar on a Sunday is a truly quintessential American thing to do.
But, for me, there are some conditions.
I have lived in New York for a little over two months now, and have spent many a Sunday at a front bar following my Seahawks (while keeping an eye on the native New York Giants). And I’ve formulated a criterion based on trial-and-error! Here are my rules:
Rule 1: SOUND ON
This is the non-negotiable for me. If I am watching sport, I want to hear the commentary, the play-by-play, the analysis. If there’s a flag thrown onto the field, I want to know why.
Some sports bars play the Red Zone channel with the sound on which showcases all the Sunday games based on highlights. They will show every touchdown from every game. This will keep you across everything.
Other bars will crank up the volume for one specific game. Often in NY, it’s the Giants or the Patriots game. There’s also dedicated bars which focus on a particular team, for instance Bait and Hook in the East Village who are dedicated to the Philadelphia Eagles (Fly Eagles Fly!).
Rule 2: LET THERE BE SCREENS
I am all about the multiple screens. The more the better. Ideally, you want one screen per game, plus a giant screen for a feature game and another for the Red Zone channel. 15 screens are good. 30 screens are better.
Just make sure you find a great viewing position where you can keep an eye on your favourite team plus the divisional rival clashes!
Rule 3: FOOD
- Let’s be clear. Watching US sports and eating American food go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s chicken wings, nachos, hot dogs, loaded chilli fries, cheese burgers, ribs or whatever, it’s all part of the experience, right? Plus, NFL games are long, and you’ve got to fuel yourself up for a big day or barracking (or “rooting” as they say here!). Unfortunately, I stumbled into at least two bars now on a Sunday where they do not serve any food. These places will generally let you order in, so you can totally do UberEats. In other cases, the bar will shout everyone a pizza at 4pm! Shout out to The Horse Box in the East Village who do just that!
Here are 4 of my favourite spots in New York City:
My four favourite NYC Sports Bars so far are:
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