It’s the early days of football season, and in all 32 pro football cities, as well as almost every college town in America, fans are filling stadiums or – in far greater numbers – sports bars and similar establishments. (These are the states with the most bars per person.)
Watching a game live is an unforgettable experience, but there’s also something special about kicking back with friends or friendly strangers, having a few beers, eating food that’s not on your usual diet (and maybe that you don’t need knives and forks for), and sinking into the action – usually, thanks to modern technology, with a much better view than you’d ever have in a stadium.
What makes a great sports bar? Lots of high-definition TVs to begin with, with good lines of sight from anywhere in the place and an excellent sound system. Oversized projection screens are a great addition, too, bringing you the players in larger-than-life reality. Subscriptions to the top sports channels – like NFL Sunday Ticket and the networks of regional college conferences – are a given. Comfortable seating is another important factor, since you’re going to be committing hours of your time to watching the game.
Then there’s food and drink. Sports bar food should be casual, indulgent, fun. Pizza, nachos, ribs, burgers – and of course chicken wings, which are practically a legal requirement for a sports bar. (It’s no accident that sports-themed chains sometimes put these avian appendages right in their names – Buffalo Wild Wings, Wing Stop, Wild Wing Café, etc. Check this list of the best chicken wings in America.)
And nothing goes better with wings, or with football, than beer. Any top sports bar will have a good selection of brews, on tap and in bottles and cans.
Football fans are particularly passionate about their teams, so one thing that’s important to consider when choosing a place to watch the game is what kind of fans you’re likely to find there. That’s not to say that an Aggie can’t enjoy a game at a Longhorn watering hole or that you shouldn’t wear a Packers jersey into just any old bar in Chicago, but the best bar for watching football is probably one where you can just gnaw those wings and quaff that brew and watch that game without getting into any trouble.
To determine the best bars for watching football in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted ratings and reviews of sports bars in general and football bars in particular around the country on Yelp, as well as roundups of such places, ranked and otherwise, on sites including Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Eater, Delish, The Daily Meal, and Thrillist, as well as numerous local and regional sites.
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