The Top 10 Sports Bars in San Francisco

 

By Larry Bisagni

 

In town and don’t have tickets for Super Bowl 50? Not to worry! San Francisco has a sports bar for you! I’ve been in and eaten in quite a few of them. Let’s save you some work: in alphabetical order, here is a list of my Top 10 favorite spots to enjoy a game.

 

Full disclosure: I also have a weakness for Buffalo wings, so you also get the lowdown on them as well (as Joe will tell you, I’m a Buffalo wing junkie).

  1. 3300 Club

3300 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

http://www.3300club.com

Credit cards: Yes

Wings: None

Beer: 12 on tap, 15 bottles

Celebrating it’s sixtieth year, the Keane family opened this Mission favorite in 1956. The drinks are stiff and potent, and the atmosphere is old school, OG San Franciscan. It’s very anti-hipster, almost a techie free zone, which makes it a must for regular folks. Betty, Owen, and Zoe (rhymes with “toe”) are throwback legends to the blue collar Irish roots of the Mission: tell Betty the Italian sent you.

Bonus: The mural in the men’s bathroom isn’t for the shy or the insecure. She might be laughing at you.

20110915-IMG_5400

  1. The Brick Yard

1787 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123

415-400-4712

http://www.brickyardsf.com/

Credit cards: Yes

Wings: No

Beer: A ton

There’s an unspoken rule in San Francisco: People who live in the Marina don’t leave the Marina, and people who don’t live in the Marina avoid the Marina. While I am among the latter, I can honestly say that #BrickyardSF is a boisterous, fun place to catch a game, especially for the singles crowd. Interpret that as you may. The food is standard American bar food. The price points are very fair, but since they didn’t have wings when I went, they get dinged a point in my book. The brunch is delicious.

Bonus: There is a fireplace inside, which lends credence to why I say it’s a great spot for the bachelors and bachelorettes. Who doesn’t want to strike up a conversation with a hottie next to a fireplace? That alone puts you on second base should you have the gift of the gab. You also step out to a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate on a clear day.

  1. Double Play Bar and Grill

2401 16th St.

San Francisco, CA 94103

415-621-9859

http://www.doubleplay.co/

Credit cards: Yes

Wings: None

Beer: 15 Beers on Tap, 24 Brands of Bottled Beer

A local institution since 1909, #DoublePlaySF is more of a baseball bar as the name implies, and rightfully so. Double Play (and 3300 Club, see above) are among the last of a dying breed: real San Francisco neighborhood joints that have enjoyed some of the same patrons for decades. With early hours, the breakfast burrito is worth getting in the door early. No wings, but I have to tell you, that burrito makes up for it. Arrive before 11 for this delectable delight. The menu is mostly Italian-American themed.

Bonus: It is located across from the former location of Seals Stadium, which is perhaps the most unknown hallowed sacred ground in baseball: the two greatest center fielders ever (Sorry, Mickey Mantle fans; Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays are in another class altogether.) both called this outfield their home office.

  1. Hi Tops

2247 Market Street

San Francisco, CA, 94114

415-551-2500

http://hitopssf.com/

Wings: Amazing

Beer selection: Wonderful

Since it opened about three years ago, #HiTopsSF has emerged as San Francisco’s signature gay sports bar. We currently live about three blocks from Hi Tops; thus, it has replaced Kezar as my local sports bar. I couldn’t be happier. I will never forget the celebration in Hi Tops last year on the night that the Golden State Warriors won the NBA Championship. Imagine a bomb of confetti exploding and a couple hundred people deliriously losing their mind. Monday is 25 cent wing night (Woo hoo!!!), and Tuesday Trivia is always a blast. Hands down the best food of the bunch, the Hi Tops garlic fries put AT&T Park’s to shame (although I don’t want to say that too loud). Alessandra almost always gets the Cobb salad, and swears by it. When you arrive, go to the back counter to order your food from the scoreboard/menu board, and take your baseball carded number to your table. The rustic motif is carefully selected, including lockers and bleacher pine.

Bonus: How is this for convenient? Hi Tops is located right on Market Street, which is the main artery in and out of downtown. You can hop on the F Line which runs down Market, and the Muni stations are a block and a half in either direction to get back to your hotel safely if you’ve had too much fun watching the game. Also, being in the middle of the Castro, Hi Tops is in a fun and safe neighborhood to walk.

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The dimepiece and I live 3 blocks from Hi Tops. While this was taken the day the Redskins won the division in December, watching the Dubs win the NBA Finals there was surreal.
  1. Jillian’s SF
    175 Fourth Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

415-369-6100

http://www.jillianssf.com/

Credit cards: All majors

Wings: Very good

Beer Selection: Excellent. 17 on tap, domestics and imports, including Ballast Point, Anderson Valley, and local favorite, Drake’s Amber

Located in the heart of downtown, #JilliansSF isn’t your normal neighborhood watering hole. With a tournament style billiards lounge and a full 50-foot HD TV video wall (yes, you read that correctly: FIFTY FEET), there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The pizza selection is excellent, as is the large wing platter. You select three flavors from Buffalo, sesame teriyaki, chipotle BBQ, Caribbean mango harbañero, or maple BBQ. The Buffalo chicken twister is also a personal favorite (see a theme here?!).

Bonus: Jillian’s is very convenient for visitors that want to stay close to Super Bowl city, and being right in the heart of the SOMA shopping district, you can easily score your souvenirs. Yerba Buena Gardens is also worth the stroll.

  1. Kezar Pub

770 Stanyan St.
San Francisco, CA, 94117
415-386-9292

http://www.thekezarpub.com

Credit cards: All majors

Wings: To die for.

Beer selection: Outstanding. 24 on tap – Coors Light, Budweiser, Bud light, Death & Taxes, Newcastle, Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada, Fat Tire, Boddingtons, Widmer Hefeweizen, Shocktop, Andechs Hefeweizen, Stella Artois, Guinness, 805, Carlsberg, Blue Moon, Samuel Adams, Lagunitas IPA, and Dos Equis

While I love all of these places, if you stuck a gun to my head and asked me where I’d like to watch a game in San Francisco, it’s #KezarPub. I lived five blocks from Kezar for several years, and it was my go-to spot to watch everything from soccer, the Giants, football, as well as March Madness. Plenty of televisions, beers on tap, and simply put, I salivate just thinking about the wings.

Bonus: While you’re in the neighborhood, take a walk around the Kezar Stadium track, and listen to the ghosts of a time gone by. The place is legendary. Rocky Marciano’s second to last defense of the heavyweight championship was at Kezar. The Niners and Raiders played there, as did the legendary 1951 University of San Francisco Dons when my beloved Alma mater had a football team. The team publicist for the Dons? An undergrad by the name of Pete Rozelle.

Kezar Pub is always a great place to catch a game.
Kezar Pub is always a great place to catch a game.

 

  1. The Mad Dog in the Fog

530 Haight St.

San Francisco, CA 94117

415-626-7279

http://www.themaddoginthefog.com/

Credit cards: All majors

Wings: On point.

Beer Selection: Arguably the best in the city. #MadDogInTheFog boasts over 150 different beers from around the world. I promise they have a brew that can accommodate your palette.

Located in the Haight-Ashbury District, the Mad Dog in the Fog pub brings together fans of the Bay Area teams and international sports enthusiasts alike. A seemingly endless variety of beers and multiple televisions make fantasy football fans happy on Sundays, while European soccer and rugby matches can draw a crowd even at 5 in the morning on a weekday. The only negative is a group of my friends shared a table with another group of people. Included in their group was a SFSU coed whose boyfriend apparently worked there, and felt that gave her carte blanche to be intolerably juvenile and inconsiderate, but I can’t hold that against the establishment.

Bonus: Weather pending, the patio is a party unto itself. There is a TV outside and it can get quite festive!

Mad Dog in the Fog
The Mad Dog in the Fog has a patio that can get crazy, especially when the 49ers are winning, and the late Massimo Legami was in the house.
  1. Pete’s Tavern 128 King St
    San Francisco, CA 94107

415-817-5040

petestavernsf.com

Credit cards: Yes

Wings: Oh man, yes!

Beer: 12 on tap, 20 bottles

Owned and operated by the Golden Bear Restaurant Group (included in their stable is neighboring Momo’s and Pedro’s Cantina, as well as Mission Rock a little further down 3rd Street), #PetesTavernSF is the sports bar of the tech crowd, yet finds a way to be unpretentious. Boasting 22 flat screen televisions, Pete’s has been voted the best Sports Bar by the SF Chronicle. I’m half ashamed to admit it, but I have pounded 24 wings myself, they’re that good. The barbecue is excellent as well.

Bonus: Located across from AT&T Park, you never know who you will see in Pete’s. It is also on the N line, making it convenient to get back to your hotel.

  1. The Phoenix Bar and Gathering House

811 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

415.695-1811

http://www.phoenixirishbar.com/

Credit cards: Yes

Wings: Hell Yeah

Beer: 18 on tap, 18 bottles

#ThePhoenixSF is a staple that is in the bar rotation of every San Franciscan. There are nine television sets, and an incredible atmosphere, especially when their team is winning. The garlic fries are on point, but as always, I’m interested in the wings…and yes, they are worth returning for. It’s always in the top 2 or 3 for Irish pubs/bars, so expect a spirited crowd to accompany the wide variety of potato-based sides. This has to be an incredible place to watch #ConorMcGregor fight.

Bonus: Located on Valencia Street, The Phoenix is in the middle of all the action of the Mission. Also, the kitchen is open late; you can get a meal here until 12:00 a.m. Not just bar food… an actual dinner.

Phoenix
Packed with generations of tradition, The Phoenix is always a great spot to watch a game with friends. From left to right: the late Nuts and Bolts enthusiast Massimo Legami, the dimepiece, and the author.
  1. Valley Tavern

4054 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

415-285-0674

http://www.valleytavern.com/

Credit cards: Yes

Wings: I stand to be corrected, but don’t think so

Beer: 24 on tap, 10 bottles

Located on 24th Street, #ValleyTavern is nestled in the sweet spot of Noe Valley. With two dozen brews on tap, Valley Tavern has something barreled in a keg for even the most serious beer connoisseur. The patio is very chill and has a generally agreeable vibe, but can get a little tough on non-Niner fans, especially during the playoffs. A free food spread is an added bonus to making Valley Tavern a great place to enjoy a game.

Bonus: There is the rarified smoking room up front, which makes it a great spot for the nicotine fueled sports fan. 24th Street is also a great stroll. Look for St. Clair’s Liquor Store two block down – it was once owned by the late Bob St. Clair, who had the rarest of rare trifectas: A Hall of Famer who was born and raised in the same city that he attended college and played his professional career.

 

 

 

 

Larry Bisagni
About Larry Bisagni 13 Articles
Originally from Washington, D.C., I have an extensive background in marketing, media, and communications. My career began with WTEM (ESPN Radio) in Washington, and went from there to an NBC News affiliate in Virginia to produce “Virginia Tech Sports Today.” After returning to WTEM to produce talk shows and live game broadcasts, I accepted an offer to become executive producer/director of operations for a major non-profit in San Francisco, where I established a strong lineage of guest speakers for a weekly talk show. I am a passionate follower of many sports, including baseball, basketball, football, Italian soccer, boxing, and college sports. My favorite teams include the San Francisco Giants/49ers, Washington Redskins/Wizards (BULLETS!!!), and Capitals. My favorite sportswriter is Michael Wilbon, whom I would occasionally provide updates to as the overnight guy at Sports Talk 980 in the days before .coms. I am a summa cum laude graduate of the University of San Francisco, and can be found sitting courtside at many of my beloved Dons home games. I holds an MBA from Babson College with an emphasis in entrepreneurial marketing, where I engaged stakeholders, and executed planning strategies for business growth. Given my career trajectory, I have a list of favorite coaches to go along with favorite players, including Joe Gibbs, Vince Lombardi, John Wooden, John Thompson the elder, Earl Weaver, Bruce Bochy, and Mark Jackson.
Contact: Twitter