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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

St. Louis' Ten Best Sports Bars

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Time to camp out at your favorite sports bar and take in the action. Don't have a favorite sports bar? Let the Riverfront Times assist you. We just spent the past couple weeks filling our gullets with brew and wings and bruising our butts on the bar stools of some of St. Louis' finest sports-themed taverns. Here in alphabetical order (with the very best at the end) are ten such watering holes we highly recommend: 

The first "sports bar" to open up in the renovated warehouse district, Flannery's continues to be a great spot to meet up before and after games at nearby Busch Stadium, Scottrade Center and Edward Jones Dome. Dozens of flat-screen TVs line the wall above the bar showing damn near any matchup you want to watch. A wide selection of draft beers will keep you parked in your stool for the entire game and then some. Though you might want to avail yourself from time-to-time to the tables on the sidewalk, where you can't see the televisions for shit but can find equal entertainment in watching cheesy, drunk clubgoers stumble up and down Washington Avenue.

Friendly's is one of those south city saloons of yesteryear. You know the ones that advertise that they are "air-conditioned?" Step through the bar's deep-freeze of a doorway (outfitted with plastic strips kept up year-round regardless of the temperature outside) and you realize that you've entered a mystical place - part sports bar, part carnival funhouse. That's right. Not only can you watch the big game on Friendly's dozens of flat-panel televisions, you can also play games to your heart's content. Pool tables, skeeball, shuffleboard, air-hockey and bar-basketball are just a few of the games decorating the many rooms inside this sprawling oasis. And affordable? How many other bars sell Natural Light in a bottle or offer help-yourself snacks from the popcorn maker?

Jack Patrick's
Bathtub Bud: Jack Patrick's ice-cold beer.
  • Bathtub Bud: Jack Patrick's ice-cold beer.
Neil Young said it best: "See the losers in the best bars. Meet the winners in the dives." Jack Patrick's would definitely fall in the latter category even if its ownership might dislike the "dive" moniker. This no-frills watering hole serves in stark contrast to the gleaming new clubs two blocks north on Washington Avenue and is a favorite for blue-collar and white-collar workers alike. Jack Patrick's offers everything you want in a tavern - be it a sports bar or otherwise: TVs tuned into the big game, billiards, a jukebox and cheap and tasty drinks and eats. The house-cut French fries are our favorite.

John P. Fields
Was the bar in the television sitcom Cheers a "sports bar?" If so, John P. Fields certainly qualifies as one as well. Like Cheers - owned by fictional ex-baseball player in Sammy Malone -- J.P Fields is owned (in part) by a former professional athlete in Jim Campbell, a retired winger for the St. Louis Blues. And also like Cheers, J.P. Fields is bedecked in wood - from its oak floors to its regal, old wooden bar. By far the most intimate of the sports bars on this list, John P. Fields is a great place to watch the game with a clientele that melds from happy-hour corporate types to a decidedly younger -- and attractive -- crowd late in the evening. How attractive? Let's put it this way: J.P. Fields is one of the few sports bars in town where the most fetching females in the building aren't the ones pouring the drinks.

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