No getting around it: The Super Bowl is two days away.
(Are we allowed to say the words “Super Bowl”? Let’s see. Super Bowl Super Bowl Super Bowl Super Bowl Super Bowl Su – )
No getting around it: The Game That Must Not Be Named is two days away, and you’re probably going to watch. Assuming the party’s not at your place (though if it is, you must build your menu using the New York Times Cooking app, the only food app worth its, um, salt), you’re going to be scouting around for a place to catch the three hours of ads ever-so-briefly interrupted by slow-motion replays, Katy Perry costumes, and the lengthiest discussion of inflation you’ve heard since the Gerald Ford administration.
If you’re in a major metro (ish) area and haven’t yet settled on a destination for your game-watching, permit us to suggest a few favorites from around the continent.
Cask ’n Flagon, Boston: Assuming you can find it underneath the blizzard leftovers, this is the place in Beantown. Located across the street from Fenway, and therefore nominally more of a Red Sox bar than a Pats place, rest assured that the baseball memorabilia will scarcely be noticed this weekend as the faithful pile in to watch the football. Cask ‘n Flagon’s aura is somewhere between a shrine and a dive, which makes it the perfect place to grab a beer, find a corner, and people-watch. Because at this place, in Boston, on Big Game Day, the people-watching is almost certain to be better than the game-watching.
Ballard Loft, Seattle: Boston venue, meet Seattle venue. Okay, there is sure to be at least one person here wondering why the Sounders game isn’t on, but that’s Seattle for ya. Ballard Loft is more of a Seahawks place than some of Seattle’s other sports-watching establishments. It’s spacious, too, but that’s guaranteed not to matter on Sunday. Hey, and there’s shuffleboard! Get there when it opens, have brunch, score a table, and let the madness commence.
Kroll’s West, Green Bay: Green Bay is all about its Packers, occasionally to a psychotic extent, and that manic-obsessive love radiates out from Green Bay across the state. (To that point, it was a blessing last week to be in New York and not be subjected to multiple tears-in-their-beers rehashings of how the Packers lost a game they were supposed to lose.) The epicenter of Packer Love might be this spread-out bar-restaurant across the street from Lambeau Field. The burgers are pretty doggone good, the drinks are strong, the décor is straight out of the Supper Club Era, and the TVs are everywhere. If you want more tragicomedy than just the halftime show can provide, this is where you want to be.
Aria Sports Book, Las Vegas: We are shocked, shocked, to find that gambling on football games is going on in Las Vegas. Look on the bright side: Aria Sports Book may be the best place in the country to watch a football game. The screens are massive, the venue is Vegas cushy, and you always get the feeling that you’re in the middle of the action – all the action. As our Brad Rutta wrote last summer, “The ultra-HD TVs and great food make Aria’s book the spot to be for all big events. Seating is limited, so get there early.” Couldn’t have said it any better.
Legends, New York City: We were just in the king of Manhattan sports bars, and it’s the full 360-degree experience. The drunk FIFA Xbox tournaments are going to take five for the duration of the game, giving you more time to focus on the surprisingly good food and the unsurprisingly eclectic clientele. If you truly believe that football – American football – is a global game, watching the game at Legends is your litmus test.
Champs Sports Pub, Burbank: Los Angeles is still a city in search of a football team (sob!), so its pigskin aficionados have to live out their football-fan dreams through the actions of others – which in turn means that the Big Game is the perfect game to watch in L.A. There may not be rending of garments at Champs, but there’s sure to be an undercurrent of frustration that will take at least three beers to dissipate, or not. The problem is, there are 22 flat-screen TVs showing two teams playing … and neither one is from L.A.! I mean, look: New York has two football teams, and we don’t have any! Jacksonville … Buffalo … Green Bay! Green Bay, for crying out loud! They have teams; why not us? You may want to bring hearing protection.
Truck Yard, Dallas: The only sports bar on our list with a tire swing and a vintage Airstream, this is your destination of choice if you want more entertainment than the game alone. Outdoor projector screens let you soak up the sun (whoops; forecast for Sunday is light rain and 53) and the ambiance, and leave you free to wander over to a food truck brought in for the game and score some cheesesteaks, tacos, or gourmet ice cream. Sure, Jerry Jones’ name will be taken in vain at least once. But that’s not a bad thing.
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