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Bars to watch (and hear) a football game?

It's that time of year again -- the time of year when I wonder, "Gee, how come none of the 'sports bars' in Boston actually play the audio of the game?" There are a lot of bars with a crapton of screens, but it seems like they all pump out some kind of godawful techno instead of the game. If I were to go to a bar tonight to watch a bit of the Pats-Jets stumblebum special, where would I have a chance of hearing the game as well as seeing it?

(oh and obFood: if the place has good food and bevvies, so much the better)
p.s. not a college noob, so don't anybody suggest Hogan's Run.

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  1. Parlor Sports in Inman Square will have the sound on and has good stadium inspired food.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mats77

      I realize the game has already happened, but for future reference I second Parlor Sports. Good beer selection and food, friendly staff, and not a bad seat in the house. My favorite sports bar in town, for whatever that is worth.

      1. re: ebone

        My only complaint about parlor is that due to the size it's pretty easy for it to be more crowded than I'd like for watching a game. Otherwise I love it.

        W/ that in mind I pretty much only go there to watch games that locals aren't likely to be heading out to see.

    2. i thought hogan's run changed hands and became lincoln's? ;)

      2 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        I think there's some kind of ordnance...like "there will always be Little Steve's"...

      2. I'll sound like a broken record, but my sports bar of choice is Magoun's in Ball Sq. Get there early if you decide to check it out, as I'm sure it'll be crowded.

        Spirit in Porter Sq (now called the Dubliner) used to have the audio for all games. I've not been since they changed concepts. Can anyone chime in about the food and/or audio?

        1. "Stumblebum" was indeed the word for that game. Ugly ugly ugly.

          Where'd you end up? Pretty sure the Common Ground in Allston has the sound on for games. Food's okay, lots of beer choices.

          3 Replies
          1. re: total13

            Call me a loser, but I fled early in the first quarter and went shopping for shelves. It was more productive and less painful.

              1. re: libertywharf

                Sushi at Asahi was on offer, so I watched for a bit at the Greenbriar (no sound) and then went for the salmon belly.

          2. Went to Hit Wicket last night and they had the game audio on. The only issue there was that due to being dish-based e signal started getting spotty when the storm rolled in

            1. I haven't been to the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse since Morgan White stopped doing trivia there, but they always had the sound of the "big" game playing quite audibly.

              1. The Waterfront Cafe has great food and a good beer list, sometimes the volume of the audio can be a bit obnoxious though.

                1. There's no need to travel outside Boston to watch a game. Champions or Jerry Remy's does a good job in addition to a couple of hundred other places.
                  Since when do people listen to the game in a bar with friends? My favorite place to watch a game is in a certain night club with the dance music blasting.

                  19 Replies
                  1. re: libertywharf

                    Plenty of people want to listen to the game. At a bar. With friends. Me included.

                    1. re: libertywharf

                      People who actually care about the team/game (a.k.a. real fans) generally want to be able to hear the sound as well.

                      1. re: Gabatta

                        Well that's debatable gabatta. Maybe fans who know nothing about the sport need someone to inform them. When in college in the 70's we would go the cask and flagon and could never hear the sound. Some in the group went on to play in the NFL.
                        If you go the game there's no one really doing the play by play or color. So by your def they're not real fans either.

                        1. re: libertywharf

                          I like having the game sound because:

                          A) it helps improve the atmosphere
                          B) it can help explain things which aren't obvious (injury reports, odd events. Example: the ball thrown on the field Friday, I didn't have sound and didn't know what was happening until I went to twitter)

                          1. re: jgg13

                            Injury reports I know beforehand. Injuries during the game are self explanatory. I guess things have changed. Used to be people went to bars with friends to catch up and give their own spin on the game to each other. Most Boston fans I know think national broadcasters are clowns anyway.

                            1. re: libertywharf

                              For something like football where a player can return, they can report the latest info as to whether someone will return or not.

                              While I could do without Eck's talk of cheese and hair and such things, there can be information contained in the audio that's not readily apparent with just the visual.

                              Another thing is that often whilst watching at a bar I'm less likely to be paying full attention (the catching up of which you speak). Audio cues can make it easier to ascertain the exact situation when everyone collectively looks up.

                              It is unclear to me why you think music instead of game audio is necessary for people to "give their own spin"

                              But really my first point (atmosphere) is the most important to me.

                              1. re: libertywharf

                                Will you just please stop

                                My god people like to watch football and listen to the audio. Sometimes at bars. They don't want to go to a nightclub and listen to house music. They don't want to catch up with long lost friends during the Pats

                                They just want to catch the game at the bar

                            2. re: libertywharf

                              libertywharf, if you don't care about/don't want to hear the sound, you're all set -- there are dozens of bars that will be happy to accommodate you. I started the thread and that's explicitly NOT what I'm looking for. There's no point in commenting on a thread telling people they shouldn't want what they want; if that's how you feel, best just move on, no?

                              1. re: libertywharf

                                I guess this puts me and B into the fanatic category..we listen to the radio broadcast while we're at the game (this applies only to baseball..we do not like traveling to Foxboro). I agree with you, libertywharf - you lose a lot by not hearing the color/play-by-play while at the game.

                                To bring this back somewhat to food, does anyone know what will come into the old Crossroads space? It became our favorite pre-Fenway spot - slightly divey; passable food in big, cheap portions; decent beer; big wine pours; friendly service; never crowded at that hour (maybe that's why it went out of business?). We loved the regular who sat at the far end of bar and was a college football fanatic - where did he go after his bar shut down? We'll go wherever he's sitting now.

                                1. re: digga

                                  Crossroads closed?

                                  Isn't that the place that's at the corner of Mass Ave and Beacon that's been there forever??

                                  1. re: digga

                                    Didn't know crossroads was gone. Lots of great memories from that place.

                                    1. re: libertywharf

                                      it's been shut over 5 months. basically since the marathon that will go down in infamy.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle


                                        Because of the marathon?

                                        They were pretty far away from the action

                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                          No, that was meant to close that week (possibly that day?) anyway.

                                2. re: Gabatta

                                  I am thinking back to all the times I have gone to sports bars with friends in Boston and actually heard the audio on any game that was playing..and especially football. Sports bars..or at least the really good ones are usually packed and loud and even if the audio is on..difficult to hear.I'd be curious to know where the OP wound up.
                                  Personally..if the sound and commentary is paramount..I'd watch the game at home with friends.

                                  1. re: BlueMagic

                                    Even if you can't hear the play by play because of the ambient noise, I still want the sound on if I am interested in the game. As has been correctly pointed out, it is a completely atmosphere with no sound at all. Sort of like the difference between sitting in the bowl of the stadium or a luxury box with the windows closed because its too chilly for the other d-bags in the box (barf).

                                    1. re: Gabatta

                                      I'm not saying there should be no sound..I am simply stating that if hearing the game is important..it's difficult to do in a sports bar. The only thing you could possibly hear is the roar of the crowd. Others have mentioned things like injury updates, etc. You're not going to hear those in a sports bar in general anyhow because sports bars are loud....very loud. The OP'd probably be better off in the bar area of a small restaurant.
                                      As far as the comment about people in luxury boxes at football stadiums, I do not get in the habit of making judgements of people based on where they sit. Not only do I think it is irrelevant to the topic at hand, but no one knows the story of the person sitting in the box.

                                      1. re: BlueMagic

                                        It's an analogy, so not irrelevant to me; and trust me, I've sat in both places. Sitting in a box is like being in a bubble; night and day from being outside really. I used to slip out and find a free seat outside if I could. Now I just turn down box tickets unless it is with a client where I have no choice. I actually do know the story of a lot of the people who sit in those seats.

                                    2. re: BlueMagic

                                      Blue Magic: a fan after my own heart

                                3. If I truly care about and want to watch a big game, my favorite place is at home with a few friend that also want to watch the game.

                                  If I want to go to a bar, I prefer a bar that most of the crowd also wants to pay attention to the game.

                                  I'm sure there are many but the Waterfront Cafe/NE is probably at the top of my list..food is better than passable. They may have a number of games playing but my recollection is that the sound is playing for the home team game.

                                  1. Uno's on Boylston is a Miami Dolphin Bar - reserved room in back with 2 TVs that play at full volume.

                                    1. I'll probably get some flack for this, but the Rock Bottom in the Theater District has mulitple TVs going on - the food is questionable, but their TVs are equipped with a wireless system (you need a free app on your smartphone) that lets you pick the TV wireless ID, plug in an earphone, and you can hear the audio that way. It definitely works, and I'm thinking with some friends, each with one earphone in, it could work.

                                      1. Don't know about the Fenway location, but the Dedham location of the Yardhouse definitely plays the audio for the Pats games - sometimes a bit too loud. But I agree with the OP and other's opinions that the sounds of the crowd, the players, hits, grunts, whistles, etc does provide the necessary atmosphere for me to enjoy the game at a bar. Phil Simms commentary, on the other hand, I could do without (and I'm a Giants fan).