Now that musicians and nerds are the cool kids and jocks are the villains, liking sports has become distinctly uncool. So where are reasonable people of average coolness supposed to go to share their now-lame passion for twentysomething physical freaks throwing or kicking roundish objects for millions of dollars (or, in some cases, for an "education")? Never fear. For though it may not be cool anymore to talk about sports at parties, concerts, work or school, there is always your friendly neighborhood sports bar.
Traditionally a humble place, with simple (read: fried) food, good beer at decent prices, plenty of TVs and a lively atmosphere, a good sports bar is an oasis of casual fandom, free of pretensions and full of camaraderie and congenial competition. We have scoured this city, watching game after game, making new friends and rivals, pounding nachos and sampling brews to bring you the following list: the 10 Best Sports Bars in L.A.
In recent years the Sunset Junction section of Silver Lake has become a symbol of the neighborhood, with iconic newish spots like Intelligentsia, Pazzo Gelato, Secret Headquarters and more. Just a short block or two east on Sunset, there's a place that's been around a bit longer but doesn't get much credit for the area's vitality. Despite its lower profile, though, good Microbrew is a popular destination for local beer and sports fans. Yes, the lack of a printed tap list and the hipper-than-thou bartenders can be frustrating, but the selection is solid and the TVs are high-quality and visible from just about everywhere. The food is better than average, the crowds get lively during games, and you're welcome to sit there for hours. 3725 W. Sunset Blvd. Silver Lake; (323) 660-3645.
9. ESPN Zone:
Deep in the bowels of downtown's L.A. Live, steps from Staples Center but also steps from giant screens looping ads for cellphones and cars, the brick-and-mortar representation of the "worldwide leader in sports" occupies an entire corner. Based on the brand and the location, it should be stellar, but to be honest, the bar is not that nice, the TVs are too high, the food is only fine and the beer is mostly crappy (New Belgium's Ranger IPA is labeled an import. You know, from Colorado). Then how could this possibly be a decent sports bar, much less in the top 10, you ask? Every single person in the entire place is there for one reason -- watching whatever sport is taking place about 50 yards away in Staples, or cheering on those teams when they're away from home. The Lakers score, and the crowd erupts; they fall behind, and there is a collective groan. When they lose, the misery breeds camaraderie, and the burden is shared. And when they win, the high fives are on the house. 1011 S. Figueroa St., downtown; (213) 765-7070.
8. The Oinkster:
OK, fine, you caught us. This isn't really a sports bar. But with a beer to your left, a plate of Belgian-style fries to your right, a pulled pork sandwich in between and the game on a flatscreen above you, we promise you won't know the difference. If you come for a big event like the World Cup, World Series or March Madness (which, according to our calculations, is just around the corner) the place will be jumping, and the energy in the room will rival any sports bar around. 2005 Colorado Blvd. Eagle Rock; (323) 255-6465.
Turn the page for #7, etc...