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Sep 3, 2008 02:10 PM

Mission impossible? Sports bars w/good food and large TVs but not too crowded

I'm looking for a new place in the city to watch the games for this upcoming NFL season (not to mention college football, MLB playoffs, etc). But everywhere I've been is a super loud, wall-to-wall frat boy scene where it's impossible to get a seat for a big game unless you arrive hours beforehand or make a reservation in advance. Examples of this are Blondie's, Park Avenue Country Club, Croxley Ales - places I try to avoid.

Does anyone have an under-the-radar sports bar recommendation where the food is pretty good, the beer selection is decent, the crowds aren't ridiculously loud and out-of-control, and there is a good number of large TVs? I realize it's unreasonable to expect any sports bar to be completely empty, but is it too much to ask for a place that is a little more relaxed and where a small group can just walk in and grab a table, say, an hour before gametime?

Any recommendations in Midtown or Downtown (and points in between) are preferred, but the UWS/UES are ok, too. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Mr. Dennehy's, on Carmine St. near Varick in the W. Village, would be perfect for you, I think. It has good burgers and decent pub grub of other sorts (i.e. "shepherd's pie" made with ground beef), decent beers on tap, two large screen tv's and an eating area in the back, where it's relatively quiet. I've never seen the back room packed to the point of being uncomfortable. Usually a pleasant crowd, as well.

    6 Replies
    1. re: cimui

      That's a pretty good suggestion -- the food is pretty good for what it is. I think the OP's issue is that all the places he tries to avoid are actual "sports bars" and get very crowded.

      Mr. Dennehy's I consider more of a bar/pub that happens to actually have a good number of very large TV's, i.e. not a sports bar at its soul.

      N.B.: Park Avenue Country Club has closed and is now Primehouse.

      1. re: Sugar

        Cimui, thx for the tip - I've definitely walked by Mr. Dennehy's a million times but just assumed it was another frathouse type of place. I'll look into it for sure.

        Sugar, you're correct in assuming that I'm looking to avoid the typical "sports bar" scene. Any place that has large-ish TVs, good food, and seating which my friends and I (a small group of laid-back guys who are the antithesis of the stereotypical frat boy) can get without too much of a hassle will fit the bill for me - doesn't have to be a sports bar per se.

        And I didn't realize that Park Avenue Country Club had closed - not that I'd been there in a long time anyway. Thanks for the advice.

        1. re: freshfigs

          you might want to check out royale. the tvs aren't the biggest at this place, but the burgers are good and it tends to be less crowded than a lot of other bars on football sundays (although it can get packed on friday and saturday nights, as most bars do).

          1. re: lebron

            While I love Royale and its burgers I don't think it opens until 4:00 which can be a problem if you want to watch the earlier games. Also last time I watched a Yankee game there they had loud music playing instead of the sound.

            1. re: roze

              good point - i remember going to royale last winter during the early afternoon hours hoping to catch the 1pm game, but it was closed. later, i asked them about this, and they said they were planning on opening earlier on weekends so that people could catch the 1pm games (including other sports like baseball). i haven't been back during the daytime since then so i'm not sure if they've kept to their word.

              also, i do remember one occasion when music was being played over the speakers rather than the tv volume, but i just asked them politely if they could switch and they were totally cool with it. dunno if it depends on the specific bartender or what...perhaps i just lucked out. but for me, it hasn't been an issue. i guess i'll have to find out in the upcoming months.

              1. re: lebron

                That would be fantastic if they were open at 1:00! I hope you're right. I may have to check it out this weekend.

    2. Thunder Jackson's in the Village seems to fit the bill. I lived nearby and originally wrote it off as another crappy sports bar, but they actually have really good food (more than just bar food too). It doesn't seem to get too crowded, but I haven't walked by in a while. Might be worth a stop.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bephf

        I will go one better. I don't really care if the place is crowded, I am looking for a place with a tv where I can watch the NFL next Sunday that serves great food. I am coming to NYC for a conference, and going there is mecca for me food-wise. But I don't want to give up my football to get a great meal on a Sunday! Any suggestions? I will be staying in Midtown, but anywhere from the Battery to, say, 82nd St, is fine by me, if it's the right place.

        1. re: ediblerock

          Suggestions to fit this are highly dependent on what you need -- do you need a place that shows ALL NFL games or are you ok with watching Jets/Giants or whatever the national broadcast happens to be?

          1. re: Sugar

            I need a place with any game. I would prefer a choice of two or three, but if it has a cheese plate, I am willing to watch the Jets/Giants. Just something one step above burgers/wings/nachos. This may be asking too much, but this is Manhattan.

      2. Bounce Deuce on 2nd Ave at 7th caters to, I think, Michigan fans. So when that game is over, the place kind of clears out. Firefly in the LES is the same, except for Georgia. Both places have pretty good food. At Firefly, get the sesame wings.

        1. The original comment has been removed