BEST PLACES TO CATCH A GAME
by Nick D'Arienzo
Sep 24, 2009 | 19950 views | 0 0 comments | 1049 1049 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bayside

THE FIRST EDITION

41-08 Bell Boulevard

(718) 428-8522

A good sports bar has a lot of TV’s – that’s kind of a given, wouldn’t you say? But the Ritacco Family have long been of the opinion that a great sports bar ought to have a TV for just about every single patron. Well folks, FIRST EDITION is, in fact, that great sports bar, and the perfect place to watch any kind of big event. (Even up on the second floor, for example, they’ve elevated the tables in the center of the dining area so as to maximize your viewing pleasure.) Count on a fun and loyal crowd here, and a rotating variety of drink specials, the perfect ingredients to make FIRST EDITION your FIRST stop for post-season baseball, the Super Bowl, March Madness, you name it. (Not to mention the fact that it couldn’t be more conveniently located, just a hop skip and a jump up the steps from the Bayside LIRR station, for those patrons whom we hereby politely encourage to drink and not drive.)

Maspeth

CRUX BAR

69-38 Grand Avenue

(718) 606-9279

Maspeth’s newest entry to the neighborhood’s booming bar scene is also one of the most lively. Probably the first thing you’ll notice when you walk in is the exposed brick, discovered amid the recent renovation, something that definitely gives the place a classic kind of look. And while all loyalties are certainly welcome here, make no mistake – CRUX is a definite haven for die-hard Yankee fans, especially when one of the the masterminds behind it all, owner Eddie Kruck, is in the house. Kruck is the kind of sports bar owner who really knows his stuff, and when he’s around, picking his brain about the Joba Rules, A-Rod vs Jeter, the Giants return to greatness, etc., is definitely something that makes your time at CRUX even that much more enjoyable. (That and bar specials like their $7 pizza and a pint.) And by the way, every Monday night at CRUX, they raffle off an honest-to-goodness Mitchell & Ness NFL jersey – so you’d better check that out, too!

Glendale

YER MAN’S IRISH PUB

70-26 88th Street

(718) 894-4442

Owner Jimmy O’Reilly has done a fantastic job of resuscitating the ample space at 88th Street that once was Cooper’s Ale House, and if you poke around the place, you’re definitely going to get a whole bunch of ideas about different groups of friends you’re bringing next time: like the game you’ll want to watch on the huge wall-size flat screens, or maybe that birthday party you’d like to plan once you see the layout of their private back room. The food is surprisingly good here, and it’s recommended you try either the Chicken Fingers or the Chicken Nuggets with Mild, Hot or Insanity sauce. (My advice – go for the Insanity!) And if yer man enough, there’s even a special stash of Beyond Insanity that only the bravest dare sample. Also of note, the Yer Man’s Burger, a combination of Irish Bacon, Mozzarella Cheese, and BBQ sauce on the side. So whether it’s Karaoke Night on Tuesdays, Airline Night on Wednesdays, or just about any big game, get yer self over to YER MAN’S, and we’ll bet it won’t be the last time you do!

Kew Gardens

AUSTIN’S STEAK & ALE HOUSE

82-70 Austin Street

(718) 849-3939

Although a bit unassuming from the street, entering AUSTIN’S ALE HOUSE is like entering another world – a world far more spacious than you’d previously imagined. While the restaurant usually boasts specials for all its signature events – like their annual Super Bowl Party, for example – it’s perhaps best known for being one of the truly perfect places to watch the ponies. (And is, consequently, an OTB-outfitted establishment.) But what we kind of love about AUSTIN’S ALE HOUSE is how it’s really two distinct restaurants in one, depending upon your mood. Feeling like a great steak dinner – T-Bone, Porterhouse, Pan Blackened Shell Steak? To your right as you enter, and you’ll be impressed by how reasonable the prices are here, and the service fantastic. Or maybe a pint or two with the boys is more your style this evening? Well, then turn left as you enter, and guess what – you’ve got one of the best beer-on-tap menus in Queens right here: Coney Island Lager, Harpoon Winter Warmer, Lindenman Framboise, and many more! Which makes perfect sense, right? After all, it is an Ale House!

Elmhurst

BOCA JUNIOR’S

81-08 Queens Boulevard

(718) 429-2077

Football fans in this country think they’re the best fans in the world, but when it comes to the truly international sport of futbol aka soccer – sorry to say, folks, but here in America we don’t know nothing! That’s why it’s so great to have such a fantastic establishment like BOCA JUNIOR’S so close at hand. Bathed in the blue and yellow that are the prized team colors of the Argentinean soccer club from whence the restaurant takes its name, BOCA JUNIOR’S definitely has a fun atmosphere the moment you walk in. (All the waiters are sporting soccer jerseys!) And no matter where you decide to sit in the restaurant’s expansive main dining room, you’re always going to have a good view of their numerous flat screens. But let’s not kid ourselves – the reason folks love this establishment so much around here? Because Chef Edgar Salazar’s food is absolutely fantastic. Regulars rave about the steak all the time – the Skirt Steak, the Shell Steak, the Churrasco. Our advice? Opt for the Parrillada para dos, their mixed grill for two. And make sure you save room for dessert – because the Panqueque con dulce de leche is the kind of confection that will definitely keep you coming back for more.

Maspeth

O’NEILL’S

64-21 53rd Drive

(718) 672-9696

First and foremost, O’NEILL’S is always going to be one of the best places to catch a game because if you’ve never been here before – the only place you’re going to see more televisions is in a P.C. RICHARD showroom! But there’s also a saying in sports, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s... well, it’s how good was the company?” And in our minds, there’s probably no place better for sharing in the joys of triumph, or wallowing in the company that misery tends to love. So whether you’re hoisting a few in celebration, or drowning your sorrows until someone tells you to stop, O’NEILL’S is definitely the place to be. They serve some of the best comfort food in Queens here – pizza, wings, burgers, steaks – and while Monday nights lay claim to their now-legendary Wings specials, you should know that Sunday nights are now extra special, too, with their $5 pizzas, to coincide with NBC’s “Football Night in America” broadcast.

Middle Village

DANNY BOY’S

64-55 Dry Harbor Road

(718) 894-3488

You know a place has got to be good if it’s the epicenter of more Sunday morning activity than even your local parish. Giants fans in particular have long made DANNY BOY’S their meeting place of choice every other Sunday, as Gene Kenny leads his busload of Big Blue die-hards to the Meadowlands for every Giants home game. In addition to being a fantastic and club-like atmosphere for enjoying a ballgame, DANNY BOY’S also has some of the best bar food around. Like their unbelievably delicious Sliders (and what presentation!) Then on Tuesdays, you’ve got $1 Tacos followed by Wednesday Night Wings, at 10 cents per. C’mon, what could be better!

Forest Hills

DIRTY PIERRE’S

12 Station Square

(718) 830-9698

Folks, you’ll be pleased to know that DIRTY PIERRE’S has got some brand spankin’ new 40” Toshiba flatscreens now, and has just resurrected their oh-so-popular Football Sundays (and we couldn’t be happier). Not only do you get Bud and Bud Lite specials for $3 a pop, and $5 pints of Mimosas, Bloody’s and Raquel’s unforgettable Sangria, but no matter who you’ve got your money on this week, you’re not going to beat this spread (thanks to Adrian the impresario in the kitchen)… steam trays of savory dishes like Rice ‘n’ Beans, Sausage ‘n’ Peppers, and some of the best darn Meatballs you’ve ever had! (Absolutely free of charge… as long as you keep drinking, that is!)

D.U.M.B.O.

WATER STREET

66 Water Street

(718) 625-9352

You’ll not find a more elegant destination for your sporting-contest-viewing activities than the oh-so-picturesque WATER STREET restaurant down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. For sports fans, it’s all about The UnderWater Lounge here, what with its 25-foot ceilings, steel columns, large projection screens, and 5.0 state-of-the-art surround sound. And if that’s not enough to get you there, maybe $2 draft beers, 25c wings, and an unparalleled burger menu (California, Cordon-Bleu, Jamaican Jerked, Tex-Mex, Cajun, Mediterranean) for Monday Night Football will?

Maspeth

CONNOLLY’S CORNER

71-15 Grand Avenue

(718) 565-7383

You don’t have to be Irish to love CONNOLLY’S CORNER. Part restaurant, part bar, part catering hall, part social club, CONNOLLY’S is blessed by a sense of community that makes it one of Grand Avenue’s crown jewels. Their burgers are among the best in town (rivaling even Donovan’s in Woodside!), their ribs are even better, and their creme-de-la-crème dessert, The Ultimate Brownie, has got to be tasted to be believed. And to top it all off, excuse the expression, barkeeps at CONNOLLY’S are adept at some of the finest pours of Guinness you’re ever going to witness. Always a good thing, if you ask us.

Middle Village

KELLYS

82-11 Eliot Avenue

(718) 476-8444

If you’ve not yet seen the highly-cinematic outdoor courtyard of the newly-revamped KELLYS, well then what the heck are you waiting for? This is easily one of the area’s most fun neighborhood pubs, thanks largely to a menu that features some of the best burgers and hot wings in town (we tend to favor the Teriyaki here, actually). But then, since this is television-viewing we’re talking about, we’ve got to give a definite tip of the cap to the Kelly Family for the manner with which they’ve reconfigured the bar area here (and added a dozen or so hi-def flatscreens), so that there just ain’t a bad seat in the house anymore, even for some of the bigger contests (like playoffs, World Series, or even the Super Bowl) that sometimes have the crowds two and three deep!

Forest Hills

COBBLESTONES

117-18 Queens Boulevard

(718) 263-9754

One of our favorite things about COBBLESTONES is how welcoming it is. Whether you’re a regular, or a casual fan off the street, there’s nowhere near the xenophobia or clubbishness that permeates a lot of sports bars. Which is essentially the point really, because COBBLESTONES is more than just a sports bar. For one thing, it’s really “well-appointed” as they say, which is just a fancy way of saying it’s pretty darn nicely decorated. Especially in the back, where you’d be equally at ease sweet-talking your way through a cozy, romantic dinner. (Name us any other sports bar where you can do that, people!) COBBLESTONES has got DirecTV, which enables you to watch three football games at once on any given Sunday (except, of course, on Super Bowl Sunday, when there’s just the one, you know). What owner/host Pete Massaro probably ought to be most proud of, however, is that the food at COBBLESTONES is outstanding, and relatively inexpensive. If we could recommend to you two items in particular – their ribs, tender and moist as they slide right off the bone; and their signature “Cobblestones,” one of their Cobbletizers that – well, to describe it as a fried cheese ball would be to do it a tremendous injustice, and would be the understatement of all time.

Fresh Meadows

HOOTERS

61-09 190th Street

(718) 454-1062

For the Met fan, the Knicks fan, and especially the Syracuse hoops fan, if you’ve never been – HOOTERS has more orange, orange, orange all around you than you could possibly imagine. Not only that, you’ve got some of the tastiest wings, ribs, and burgers here, and seriously, where the heck else are you going to find Fried Pickles, right? What’s more, HOOTERS is the home of special after special after special like their Thursdays 2-for-1 Coronas from 7pm to closing, or $2.50 drafts of Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite during all Met and Yankee telecasts (but as we know, those Met telecasts will be coming to an end real soon!) But of course, one of the most noteworthy accoutrements at any HOOTERS location are always the very comely (and scantily lad) young lasses who do their darnedest to ensure that your food and beverage needs are being accommodated and who work their tails off to stay abreast of the situation.

Jamaica

SLY FOX INN

177-23 Union Turnpike

(718) 969-8169

Don’t let the name “SLY FOX INN” mislead you, this place is the furthest thing from a dive bar you’re going to find in this area. Just a stone’s throw from St. John’s University, it’s thus particularly appropriate for any pre-game or post-game Johnnies festivities you might have in mind, something alumni figured out long ago. And whether it’s just a drink you’re grabbing at their rather grand bar in the center of the place, or dropping in for a hearty dinner within their cozy and inviting booths along the wall, one of the things that makes the place a real stand out with its loyal patrons is its friendly, downright affable service. (And “knowledgeable” service, too, we might add – so don’t get yourself caught in a sports trivia contest or anything, consider yourself officially warned!)

Astoria

McCANN’S

36-15 Ditmars Boulevard

(718) 278-2621

Patrons of this Ditmars Boulevard staple absolutely adore the place, and with good reason. Owner Paul Fogarty’s instilled the pub with such a sense of energy and colorful vibrancy that even strangers who come upon it feel like they‘ve stumbled upon a club they want to join somehow. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if people moved to the neighborhood specifically to be near McCann’s! That sensibility is exemplified by the number of special promotions the restaurant does – available in fliers displayed just outside the doors – as well as the numerous excursions the restaurant sponsors to destinations like Atlantic City, or even sky-diving or white-water rafting. And by the way, if you think Super Bowl Sunday is fun here, wait till you see it on St. Paddy’s! Make just one trip here, folks, and we guarantee it won’t be your last.

Williamsburg

TEDDY’S BAR & GRILL

96 Berry Street

(718) 384-9787

The architecture of TEDDY’S is classic old-world Brooklyn, all the way down to the sign advertising some long-lost draught known as Peter Doelger’s Extra Beer. And what it may lack in abundance of television screens, it certainly makes up for in both exuberance of fans and in overall ambience. Not only that, but long before WillyB became oh-so-trendy, TEDDY’S has been serving some of the consistently best food going – from their top-notch burgers to their incredibly popular Hot Wings, among others. And don’t forget to save room for dessert, folks, because once you catch a glimpse of TEDDY’S famous Apple Crisp going by, with its massive dollops of ice cream on top, you’re just going to have to order one for yourself. (Make no mistake, though, Yankee fans – TEDDY’S long ago earned a reputation for providing sanctuary for out-of-the-closet Red Sox fans. Just thought we should mention that…)

Rego Park

ERN’S PLACE

67-63 Woodhaven Blvd

(718) 830-6226

Looking for something with a little bit of old-fashioned home-iness to it? ERN’S PLACE on Woodhaven Boulevard is just such a place, what with its oh-so-charming red and white checked tablecloths and its merry band of regulars. Not only that, but in addition to a number of Monday Night Football beer specials, make sure you get yourself an order of Chef Danny’s delectable wings (especially his Jack Wings). Tender and tasty, they are very much worth the trip, and you should also ask about a couple of their other flavor varieties as well. By the way, a tip of the cap as always to your personable and friendly hosts Ern and Felicia, and to the fact that all year round, the burgers here are just the way we like em, smokey and charred, and juicy and flavorful through and through.

Woodside

SEAN OG’S

60-02 Woodside Ave

(718) 899-3499

The crowds at one of Woodside’s most well-known watering holes are what watching sports together is all about. At once feisty and friendly, SEAN OG’S has an incredibly loyal following that makes for a rather fun time overall, especially on weekend afternoons or Monday Night Football. But what makes the place really stand out is how long and spacious the bar is, the first thing you notice upon entering. And now that owner Jimmy O’Sullivan’s also got the WOODSIDE CAFÉ’S kitchen attached at the hip next door, you also get to avail yourself of some pretty darn tasty food in the meantime, like one of our absolute favorites, their Woodside Burger.

Ridgewood

GOTTSCHEER HALL

657 Fairview Ave

(718) 366-3030

Hey, why settle for burgers and wings when you can dig into some Spaetzle and Potato Pancakes and Krainer & Kraut! Did you know, folks, that The Tap Room at GOTTSCHEER HALL hosts a free buffet every football Sunday at 4:00 pm? That’s right. And how ‘bout this, if you show up on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, your first beer is just a dollar so long as you’re ordering food. What can we say, there’s a coziness and an old world charm to GOTTSCHEER HALL that has definitely made it one of our favorite neighborhood bars. (And they’ve even got some terrific local musicians now and again, so make sure you check out www.GottscheerHall.com from time to time.)

Glen Oaks

TAVERN 18

265-11 Union Turnpike

(718) 347-4846

Love, love, love the cozy lounge area just around the corner as you enter TAVERN 18, off of bustling Union Turnpike. Even if there were no game on, just to immerse yourself in those dark brown leather chairs for a moment… quite a relaxing way to unwind after a busy day. Anyway, there’s a high-definition television screen up above, and if you’re smart, while you’re sipping your draft beer, you’ll already have ordered some Lobster and Shrimp Spring Rolls – or even better, their Kobe Beef Sliders. TAVERN 18 boasts some top-of-the-list hearty fare, and if the game gets a tad “one-sided,” shall we say, we definitely urge you to slip into the dining room for a steak. (Closed Mondays by the way, sorry.)

Greenpoint

RED STAR BAR

37 Greenpoint Avenue

(718) 349-0149

RED STAR BAR is without question one of our new favorite sports bars. For one thing, the place is absolutely huge – two floors even – and still manages to get pretty packed on any given Sunday. With more than a dozen draft beers to go with their dozen or so Vizio flatscreens, what really makes RED STAR BAR’s reputation is the artistry with which Executive Chef John Manzo concocts his fabulous chicken wings. By the way, if we mention the figure of 1000 pounds of chicken a week, that might impress you, no? “Yeah, chickens all across the country are quaking in their cages when they think about RED STAR,” says General Manager Eric Hall with a wry grin. And given that Sundays are all about the pigskin anyway, make sure you complement same with Manzo’s fantastic Pulled Pork Sliders, served with B&B pickles and cheddar cheese sauce, and easily the best we’ve ever had!

Forest Hills

MARDI GRAS

70-20 Austin Street

(718) 261-8555

Since this seems to be pretty much the year of the New Orleans Saints at this point, what better place to cheer on Drew Brees and company than at MARDI GRAS, an authentic-looking little bistro right on Austin Street where you can definitely “laissez les bon temps roulez.” Beer specials abound here on football Sundays, and the food is both delicious and reasonably priced. Just as they do in The Big Easy, they’ve got a terrific Muffuletta here, but what we can’t help craving whenever we’re in the area is one of their exceptional Po Boys (Fried Catfish or Blackened Chicken especially). Hey, by the way, during the week MARDI GRAS also has a really cool French Quarter Lunch Menu you’ve got to check out – with entrees for as little as $5. Now, how can you beat that?
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