Miami has two types of sports fans: the die-hards and the bandwagoners. You can easily find both at the best sports bars scattered throughout the Magic City.
But to be ranked among the best, sports bars must offer more than plenty of TV screens and stellar beer. Impressive food menus, creative cocktails, and the right vibes can turn an average watering hole into a game-day haven.
1. Batch Gastropub. Whether it’s 11:30 a.m. or 11:30 p.m., it’s always a full house at this bustling American gastropub. Equal parts sports bar, lounge, and restaurant, Batch is the place to be for soccer games, NBA playoffs, boxing matches, and football showdowns. Join the hottest crowds and fellow Gator fans as you relish in Batch’s high-quality, locally sourced pub grub, from lamb burgers to truffle fries, that pairs perfectly with the lengthy drink list highlighting wide-ranging beers, wines, and other creative cocktails, all sure to elevate your game-day experience. Happy hour — Monday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. — is also a can't-miss. 30 SW 12th St., Miami; 305-808-5555; batchmiami.com.
2. Duffy's Sports Grill. Situated in the Intracoastal Mall in North Miami Beach, Duffy’s offers a number of TV screens plastered on walls and ceilings to ensure great views of several games from every angle. Service can be slow when the place is packed, but the atmosphere is always poppin’, especially when the live DJ starts pumping hits. Grab a seat at the bar, get your groove on poolside, or cozy up at a table and enjoy bar-food favorites and Duffy’s famous two-for-one drink special while you cheer on the home team. But then again, who said there has to be a game on? 3969 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach; 305-760-2124; DuffysMVP.com.
3. Mike’s at Venetia. What every neighborhood needs is a no-frills sports bar that concentrates on offering a quality menu, friendly service, and a great value. Downtown Miami has one in Mike’s. Owned and operated by the Shelow family, this long-running establishment, hidden in the Venetia condo building at the foot of the Venetian Causeway, has maintained its local charm for years. Take the elevator to the ninth floor, and you'll be able to attest to its appeal in no time. The bar offers 20-plus TV sets, billiards tables, daily specials, and breezy Miami views till 3 a.m. 555 NE 15th St., Ninth Floor; Miami; 305-374-5731; mikesvenetia.com.
4. Little Hoolie's Sports Bar & Grill. As the name suggests, there’s never a dull moment at this Irish sports bar. Little Hoolie’s offers a relaxed atmosphere turned up a notch with a great beer selection, 30-plus TV sets, pool tables, live entertainment, karaoke, and line dancing on select nights. The menu includes plenty of bar chow, from creamy clam chowder to wraps, sandwiches, and fried baskets. Try the loaded nachos ($9.95) while you watch others strut their stuff onstage during open-mike night. Who knows — after a couple of beers, you might be the one to let your inner rock star shine. 13135 SW 89th Pl., Miami; 305-252-9155; littlehoolies.com.
5. Sports Grill South Miami. Nothing says “Happy football season!” like a plate of chicken wings. Grab mountains of the best at Sports Grill, a local chain with various locations around Miami-Dade. Although barbecue, Buffalo, spicy “Miami Heats,” garlic, glazed teriyaki, and other flavorful sauces are strong contenders, none can compare to Sports Grill’s special grilled wings tossed in a signature sauce and lightly washed in Worcestershire. And true Miamians won't want to miss the "dale"-style wings — grilled wings basted in Miami Heat sauce. Get as few as five ($5.59) for a personal snack attack, or go big with an order of 50 for $48.99. That's enough for the whole team! Add some ice-cold beer for an all-around fan experience. 1559 Sunset Dr.,
Miami; 305-668-0396; sportsgrillmiami.com.
6. Scully’s Tavern. Choose from great deals on Guy Fieri-approved bar food and drinks during football games at this beloved neighborhood tavern, designed for socializing with locals and other friendly folks looking for a great time. Live entertainment on weekends brings guests to their feet, but if sounds from rock and alternative bands don’t do it, a game of billiards will. 9809 Sunset Dr., Miami; 305-271-7404; scullystavern.com.
7. Tom’s NFL. Sometimes it’s tough being a Miami Dolphins fan, but you can find friends with the same taste in teams at Tom’s NFL. This dark watering hole, located next to Miami International Airport, is always packed with locals and tourists who want to enjoy a pitcher of beer in a chill setting. Watch NFL games as you indulge in sports bar classics such as the award-winning chicken wings (starting at five for $6.95). Trivia contests, karaoke, and musical entertainment are also available in case the game is too painful to watch. 5001 NW 36th St., Miami Springs; 305-888-6022; tomsnfl.com.
8. Shuckers Bar & Grill. The first thing you see when you walk into Shuckers is the breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay. Next is whatever games are playing on the many flat-screen TVs mounted throughout the outdoor venue. Just as your stomach begins to rumble, you fill up on raw oysters, fresh fish fillets, famous wings (six for $9), and a 100 percent USDA Prime bacon cheeseburger. Pregame during Shuckers' happy hour, offered Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., when you'll find $11 Bud Light pitchers, $6 wells, $3 drafts, $4 bottles, and $8 frozen drinks. 1819 79th St. Cswy., Miami Beach; 305-866-1570; shuckersbarandgrill.com.
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9. Sandbar Sports Grill. This beach-themed sports bar might look like an ordinary bar on the outside, but just one step inside and you’re hit with all kinds of mayhem that one would find at a frat house on game day — cheap beer and college kids. The food is solid, from fish tacos to a five-pound burrito, and the drinks are in a category of their own. Try the Hurricane — made with Captain Morgan spiced rum, Myer’s dark rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine — and you’ll see why this Coconut Grove staple can weather any storm. 3064 Grand Ave.,Miami; 305-444-5270; sandbargrove.com.
10. The Clevelander. If you want your burgers and beer served with a side of party, the Clevelander is your spot. There's really no other place where you can splash in a pool, hang out with body-painted women, and drink $5 Jack Daniel's shots chased by $5 beer bottles (during football games). Oh, that's right. Football. There's that too. Watch the game on a 20-foot LED screen and more than 40 other TV sets throughout the property. 1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-532-4006; clevelander.com.