Where to Find the Best Sports Bars in Boston

By Jacqueline Cain
Bleacher Bar Fenway
Brian Samuels Photography

Home to a most passionate fan base, dozens of colleges, and a booming beer scene, Boston has plenty of sports bars. These tend to look like cavernous clubs lit by frenzied TVs, serving up sponsored drinks and undercooked chicken wings. Or worse: a basic restaurant with mounted screens tuned forevermore to muted talking heads. (Yawn.) The sports bars with a competitive edge boast winning atmospheres as well as good food and drinks. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just here for the Puppy Bowl, here’s where to go for the best sports bars in Boston.

Brian Samuels Photography

Like any bantamweight champion, Parlor Sports uses its small size to its advantage. Just 45 seats, the Somerville spot is basically the size of a clubhouse, and in fact it’s also a place where team-spirited leaders—err, bartenders—build camaraderie, with regulars and first-time visitors alike. The menu gives stadium fare with funky twists, such as a salsa con queso-supported Mexican Pretzel. Draft and canned beers, wine selections, and craft-inspired cocktails are all thoughtfully curated by the same all-star squad that’s behind Trina’s Starlite Lounge. The Parlor experience isn’t limited to Boston sports or even marquee sporting events, either. Across 10 TVs, programming like The Bachelor franchise and annual ESPN The Ocho marathons regularly gets play.

Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant

Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant

Just a short walk from the Broadway T stop and open morning ’til early the next morning, Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant is never not the move in South Boston—and that goes for game day, too. Not a typical Southie sports bar, Lincoln is a classy joint with exposed brick walls and wood-fired pizza—and four TVs spanning the full length of the big, main bar. A lively scene at all times but particularly on football Sundays, it’s the perfect setting for fire-roasted tailgating food, like fall-off-the-bone Spicy Wings; Sweet Fennel Sausage served with pickled cherry peppers, fontina, and marinara; and Buffalo Chicken pizza.

Bleacher Bar

Where to Find the Best Sports Bars in Boston
Brian Samuels Photography

To find the best sports bar around Fenway Park, you don’t have to go very far. Bleacher Bar is located beneath the center field seats, and it’s open to the public with a patio on Lansdowne Street. From the bar area, a large window overlooks right field. Though it closes during Red Sox games, the view into the pahk always brings a little bit of baseball magic into the place. The lively atmosphere is brought home with a solid selection of draft and bottled beers, and satisfying pub food like double-stacked burgers and beer-battered onion rings with chipotle aioli.

The Banshee

THE BANSHEE - The Best Irish Pubs In Boston
Brian Samuels Photography

The Banshee is a reliable haunt for fans of international soccer, especially the European leagues, because it keeps Premier League brunch-friendly hours on weekends with a breakfast menu of Salsa Verde Baked Eggs, Pulled Pork Breakfast Burrito, and more. The Banshee is a preferred spot for fans of rugby and most American sports, too—all with the welcoming vibe of a classic Irish pub. Needless to say, people don’t just visit this Dorchester sports bar to watch a game. The Banshee’s Wednesday night Pub Quiz is one of Boston’s best indie bar trivia nights. Along with an extensive beer list of imports and local drafts, the bar serves up cocktails and food until late.

Sullivan's Tap

Sullivan's Tap - Where to Find the Best Sports Bars in Boston
Matthew Gateman

The area around the TD Garden—home of the Bruins and Celtics—has no shortage of sports bars, mostly of the cavernous club variety. Sullivan’s Tap is not like that. This Canal Street staple, first opened in 1933, is a narrow barroom with frills only in the form of a pool table and a couple of Boston-branded Arcade Hoops. With wood-paneled walls, neon lights, and no food served, it’s nearly as divey as any of Boston’s best dive bars. Yet for almost 90 years, Sully’s has been the stalwart sports bar in Boston to pregame the Bs and Cs, to be close to the action without having a ticket, and to revel or commiserate with fellow fans until last call.

Shine Square Pub

Shine Square Pub Boston

Shine Square Pub joined the squad of spots around Porter Square in late 2018, replacing a longtime neighborhood bar with more TVs and an eclectic collection of sports memorabilia and tin beer signs. Spacious, dark, and usually pretty raucous, Shine Square is a prime place to bring a group of friends to watch a game and share some pub grub. The menu is simply a selection of sliders, wings, and snacks like fries and Pretzel Nubs, but it’s full of pick-your-flavor possibilities, from Chicken Parm or Chili Dog Sliders to meaty wings rubbed with Old Bay seasoning or tossed in a Chipotle Citrus sauce. There are a few craft beer selections, a sleeper-hit House Margarita, and tons of tipples for shots. 

The Sporting Club

The Sporting Club | Where to Find the Best Sports Bars in Boston
Brian Samuels Photography

New-build glass towers allow bars and restaurants to think big with blank spaces, so the gleaming Seaport District abounds with wall-sized TV displays and gamified going-out ideas. Sports bar connoisseurs should seek out The Sporting Club at the 2021-new Omni Hotel: The corner spot at Summer and D Streets is sprawling and swanky, with a whimsical entrance made to look like a Fenway Park tunnel and a curvaceous bar. Twelve high-def TVs span the high-ceilinged space, which also features an urbane private room and ample large tables ideal for hosting fantasy-draft and Derby parties. The menu is elevated from the usual sports bar fare, with wings and a bacon-cheeseburger alongside the likes of Steak & Frites and a Seafood Plateau, and cocktails worth the gamble.

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