For a beer and basket o' wings combo on the cheap, nothing beats divey sports bars in San Diego. From McGregor's in Mission Valley to The Field in Gaslamp and the fan-favorite Pacific Beach Bar and Grill, we've all been, and we'll all go back.
But, what about the dudes looking for a plasma upgrade and a pitcher of local microbrew sans the drunken slurs and chants of just-off-the-beach tourists? Or, what about the girlfriends who support the sports cause, but beg for clean bathrooms and at least one appetizer option not dripping in grease? Upscale sports bars do exist, and they usually come with the inclusion of several plasma TVs and food that doesn’t require Pepto Bismol for dessert. Gathering together for sports season is practically a cultural tradition and should be attended to with quality eats in an environment with refined taste.
Cheers your top shelf cocktail to our top ten upscale San Diego sports bars
The Commons: Located in the space formerly known as The Lincoln Room on 4th & E, The Commons Bar is a new casual sports bar brought to life by Leigh Gibson and Jake Pescatello. You’ll find many similarities to the Dirty Birds menu, especially when it comes to the killer wings. On the menu are hearty burgers, cheesy sandwiches, fresh salads, classic bar appetizers and a ton of wings. You can get your wings in five, 10 or 20 pieces, custom made to your comfort level of spice. The two-story space is open and airy, partly thanks to the oversized industrial fan keeping the crowd cool. Flat screen TVs line the walls, and a central sports ticker above the bar tips you off to game scores and food/drink specials.
Fox Sports Grill: Located at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Fox Sports Grill epitomizes the upscale way to watch a game, while expecting high quality cuisine to pass over your plate. On their 25 plasma screen TVs and state-of-the-art integrated A/V stereo sound system, you’ll be able to catch every second of the game without missing a move. The contemporary cuisine offered is a cut above and the wine list closely resembles an upscale dining experience. The warm and inviting inside rooms or outdoor waterfront patio serve lunch or dinner with the games playing in the background. In addition to the striking views of the San Diego skyline, the modern interior of Fox Sports Grill continues to bring in a dedicated following. (pictured)
Sneak Joint: This beachy hot spot preaches local lifestyle on the sands of Mission Beach. The premises are full of locals pouring in for their Sneak fix, which features numerous TVs showing ESPN GamePlan, and everything necessary for some sports intake. Hope you don’t mind a little distraction during your game, as the waitresses boast bikinis for uniforms and serve the kind of food and drinks that capture all of your attention. Fill up on gourmet American cuisine created with fresh fish from the big blue right outside, a drink menu that offers over twenty Micro-Brews and Sneak Joint Signature Cocktails prepared with the freshest fruits and juices.
Tavern+Bowl: The appeal of East Village Tavern+Bowl, Eastlake Tavern+Bowl and North County Tavern+Bowl has always been three-fold: up to 12 bowling lanes, a hefty menu of quality food and drinks, and ample 50-inch HDTVs all set for sports viewing. Game day food was intended to be finger-licking good, with Tater Skins, Chicken Strippers, Quesadillas and Chicken or Steak Nachos all as house favorites. The Tavern keeps up with San Diego Chargers games religiously while hosting Sunday Funday football days. The sports lounge hosts a variety of cocktails and drinks to throw back too, whether rejoicing in a win or throwing back to a sorrowful loss.
Bub’s at the Ball Park: Bub’s at the Ball Park provides East Village with a sports bar establishment, spirited and alive with the sounds of cheering fans and hungry patrons. At Bub’s, you can pull up a chair and watch the game on their various plasma TVs, while drinking beers and chowing down the addictive Lunch Lady Tater Tots and Steamy Steakums. The chill party vibe plus cheap prices and key location make for a perfect meeting spot for team fans. They’ve got your station covered too, as Bub’s subscribes to the NFL, MLB, NBA, College Football and Basketball and NHL packages.
Tilted Kilt: Tilted Kilt offers two locations for sports bar enthusiasts to fully enjoy the game, with an Irish, Scottish and British twist. Open in East Village and in Mission Valley, the sports culture is emphasized as much as the warm spirit from across the pond. With your game viewing, you can enjoy some of the Tilted Kilt girls in their scantily clad kilts serving 24 beers on tap, and plenty of game-watching bites to be devoured. Multiple games are shown across 35 50” flat screen plasma TVs and six 180” high-definition projection screens. The plasma and projection TV screens access satellite feeds from sporting events around the world, making an ideal setting for all sports fans to gather.
The Tap Room: The Tap Room brings Pacific Beach some upscale class to the gritty bar scene, boasting multiple flat screen TVs and a screen projector. Guests can take a sip from Karl Strauss, Pizza Port, Stone, Ballast Point, Ale Smith, Coronado Brewing Co., and Green Flash brews the bartenders will serve out. Classic sports bar grub fills the menu, including pizza, sub sandwiches, salads, and a wide selection of appetizers. The brains behind Tap Room hope their patrons like sports, because they focus on Tap Room drink specials for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday games on 11 plasma TVs, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, and golf.
Bare Back Grill: With locations in Pacific Beach and Downtown, Bare Back Grill mixes urban with beach, while maintaining great, mouth-watering burgers. In addition to the New Zealand eats, Bare Back offers plenty of TVs and beer specials fit for a game day super-fan. Both locations hold on to a strong nightlife scene and a rewarding happy hour that includes daily specials. The food isn’t your typical greasy grub-- instead Bare Back swears by 100% organic beef ground fresh daily on site, organic locally farmed veggies and all natural chicken and lamb.
Dirty Birds: Nestled in Pacific Beach, Dirty Birds focuses on what really matters - quality food and a welcoming vibe. With 22 different types of wing flavors including Dirty Ranch, Flaming Honey, Chipotle BBQ and even PB & J, the wings satiate any sport fan’s stomach. The specialty burgers are stuffed with cheese and toppings, and the menu includes such treats as the BBQ Burger and the Blueprint Burger. Flat screen TVs showcase ocean waves rotating as serious fans during Chargers season storm in for sports mayhem.
Jimmy O’s: Del Mar gets in on the sports-action too, with Jimmy O’s. Classic bar fare like nachos, chicken wings, and the always popular cheeseburger adorn the menu and are the perfect solution to soak up alcohol. Low priced drink specials and signature cocktails are also recommended, allowing you to get a true taste of what this bar and grill is all about. Stop by after a day at the race track to blow off some steam or celebrate your winnings and to continue a full-on Del Mar experience. They boast 20 flat screen TV, and celebrate game day with $3 Bud bottles all night.
Honorable mentions go to Gaslamp Tavern, Yardhouse, Firehouse, and Moondoggies. What are your favorite upscale sports bars in San Diego? Leave us a comment with your picks below.
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