What Makes a Good Sports Bar?
The art of running a good sports bar is slightly different from that of running a good bar. As more and more high-class palaces of mixology open in SF, it's important to remember that sports bars, too, deserve love. Here are the four SF contenders that were nominated for Thrillist's Bar Madness contest, and our thoughts on each. (McTeague's made it to the Final Four, but was knocked out by Chicago's The Fifty/50).
The reader picks:
Kezar Pub & Restaurant: The folks at Kezar are very into the community, sponsoring a kickball team of their own and playing host to countless weekend warriors craving a drink after their exertions. So it's not surprising to see their inclusion here, especially considering that they are the city's undisputed masters of that ultimate sports snack: the Buffalo wing. The panoply of TVs and regular presence of rowdy but cheerful fans doesn't hurt, either. 770 Stanyan St., Cole Valley.
The Greens Sports Bar: The ability to bring your own food is a plus of this small-but-mighty bar (though that might seem like a minus if you're four drafts down and can't fathom having to slink out for nachos). Prices can be a bit high, but with "sports" right there in the name, there's not a whiff of pretension in the place, and most patrons' eyes are glued to one of the numerous sets as they sip one of the numerous beers. 2239 Polk St., Polk Gulch.
The Republic: The most upscale of the four bars on this list, this attractive bar is a bit of a departure from the regulation dark wood and photo-cluttered walls that dot most of its ilk, and so suffers from a slight deficit in the comfort range. If you want to see the game alongside someone who doesn't care much about sports, though, this is the place to go: your unathletic companion can be distracted by upscale munchies (deep-fried pickles, doughnuts) and the Sutro Swizzle, made with Grey Goose, basil, and lime. 3213 Scott St., Marina.
McTeague's Saloon: Polk St. cements its reputation as SF's sports bar center with McTeague's. It's the apotheosis of the Irish bar, with spacious church-pew seating, reasonably-priced and heavy-handed drinks, and cheerfully efficient staff. And it's gotten a beloved reputation among college football fans with $2 and $3 Texas beers on Saturdays (Shiner Bock, Shiner Black, and Lone Star). 1237 Polk St., Polk Gulch.
Who's got the better picks: the Thrillisters or the voters? Or did your favorite joint get left off the list altogether? Tell us about the best (and worst) of SF sports bars in the comments.