PCP: Best Damn Place to Watch Sports (Period)

Hi ho. Most of the time, I\’m content with watching the latest [insert favorite sports team name here] tilt from the comfort of my living room, sitting on my cushy chair, watching on my own TV. However, there are other times when it\’s nice to gather with other fans– people you know and people you don\’t– to take in the game with a crowd and quaff a few hops-based beverages. What\’s your ideal (non-stadium/arena) place to do so? Alex and Wade tackle this pressing issue head on in this week\’s installment of Point-Counterpoint:


it\’s funny how having a couple of kiddos has had an impact on my ability to experience sports bars. that said, i occasionally make it out from time to time, and certainly spent more than my share in such locales prior to becoming a proud papa. My typical locales:

Scoreboards– Hwy 62 and Shady Oak Road. pros: stumbling distance from wadE and chelle\’s old house, reasonable prices, not overly crowdedy, good happy hour menu, free popcorn and soft serve ice cream. cons: terrible rail whiskey (it\’s the aristocrat!), not a great TV setup, and many of the TVs are tuned to NTN trivial. (which i normally like, don\’t get me wrong, but it would be annoying if i was trying to watch a game.)

Tailgate– 61st and Nicollet Ave. pros: again, never overly crowded, decent prices, central location, buffalo wings to die for. cons: few TVs and all of them small-ish, and the last few times i\’ve been in there i\’ve kinda felt like i might get shot.

Champp\’s– 66th and Lyndale. pros: stumbling distance from the house (when we lived in richfield), fantastic TV setup– a couple of huge screens and multiple smaller ones tuned to other events. cons: high prices, just ok food, frequently crowded.

if i had to pick one winner? champp\’s, simply because of the audio / video setup. what pushed it over the top for me was the fact that they play the audio of the main game that\’s being broadcast over the speakers inside the restaurant (switching to music during commercials.) it probably wouldn\’t be the first place i choose just to casually hang out, but if going for the single purpose of taking in a ballgame, they win.


I think it\’s important to make a distinction between watching the local teams and if you happen to need to watch a game from elsewhere in the country. (I think Brian [Bounce] can share a few horror stories about trying to watch Oregon games around here.) If you\’re looking for the out-state games, a place with a satellite feed is a must. The Champp\’s on 66th/Lyndale is a good setup, as is the one out by Ridgedale. Nice big HD tvs. Joe Senser\’s bar and grill in Bloomington is another good choice. And typically, if you look hard enough, you can find a local bar where all your other displaced out of state fans gather to watch the big games.

But let\’s talk about the best places to watch our local heros take the pitch. It\’s too bad the sports bar in the Mall of America met its demise; that was a good place to escape to for Twins daytime games in particular. I agree with Wade about Scoreboards. It\’s certainly got charm, or else we wouldn\’t frequent it so much, but as a pure sports venue, it doesn\’t top the list. (But how dare you mock the \’Crat that\’s treated you so well over the years, Wade?) You could also make a pretty good case for any of the Buffalo Wild Wings locations. Big big TVs there, and plenty of unhealthy snack food to go with your booze.

I like a smaller place, personally, in which to drink and watch a game. In no particular order, I\’d nominate: The Herkimer, Uptown. Big TVs, and not a lot of clutter to block your view. Williams bar, also uptown (but only the upstairs part). Plenty of TVs, typically a big enough crowd to get the whole place buzzing. The Local, Downtown. Not the best TV set up, but lots of standing room rails ensure that you can get a view when you need it.

I would certainly throw a bone to wadE\’s house if he\’d ever get off his rump and make a large TV purchase. Plenty of seating, friendly puppies, lots of jokes about angry sea marmots and frozen turkeys. But right now my TV is bigger than his, so I can\’t. 🙂

I guess I\’d say it depends on your needs as to where to go to watch a game. Plenty of the places we\’ve mentioned are even kid-friendly, and thanks to MN law, smoke-free. If you\’d like to weigh in on some of your favorite out of the way spots, please feel free to do so in the comments section. Oh, and for the record, I\’m officially picking Williams for my spot. Cheers.







2 responses to “PCP: Best Damn Place to Watch Sports (Period)”

  1. Bounce Avatar

    Alex is right; I do have some horror stories from trying to watch the Ducks early on cumulating with missing UO’s undefeated season in 2001 go up in smoke b/c after having watched three and a half quarters of the game, having EVERY TV at Joe Senser’s being changed to Nebraska football (evidently they were the home for the local fan club). This led to the following exchange:

    Me: “Is there anyway to get even a small TV changed to the Ducks game?”
    Senser employee: “We can’t even change it for the Gophers hockey game, what do you think?”

    Another year or so of deal with this sort of treatment finally led to me just buying the PPV College Football package. At $90 it was cheaper than being at a bar 7-8x a season.

    An additional note was that this same evening I was late getting home (it had been a really long game), leading the a downward spiral of spousal grumpiness for me being late and a late arrival at dinner that was topped off with me pleading with my dinner mates not to drunkenly harass Eddie Jones and Derek Fisher. True story.

  2. wadE Avatar

    I hadn’t thought about this. Usually when I’m watching a game it’s either from my (or someone else’s) couch, or I’m there in person. It’s rare that I actually go to a bar or restaurant just to watch a sporting event…the price of beer in my fridge is just so much cheaper. But now that you’ve brought it up…hmmm. I’d have to say Scoreboard’s ranks high. If it is an important game (baseball playoff for example) they will put the game sound on. But overall I’d probably say BW3. No matter where you look there’s a TV, and the food and beer is good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *