Sure, the couch was comfy for the 2020-21 football season, but it’s time to get out there with a bar full of your fellow Niners, Raiders, Cardinal, Bears or Spartans fans. Here’s a sampling of sports bars to check out again — or for the first time — as you break away from the home screen. Some are new, some are OG faves. And don’t forget that masks are back in. Team colors preferred.
This Stanford hangout has been around since 1964, when a young John Ralston coached the team in what was then known as the AAWU conference. (Bonus points if you can name the four original members and, no, Stanford was not among them.) That was back in the bar’s El Camino Real days; for many years now, Ramona Street has been home to The Old Pro, its walls full of fascinating sports memorabilia.
The screens: More than 24 inside and outside.
The menu: Only in California do the Pac-12 game-day eats include trendy, locally sourced fare like Smoked Diestel Turkey Chili, made with organic, non-GMO turkey; an Avocado-Kale Caesar salad; and Crispy Brussels Sprouts with a Thai chile glaze. But they’ve got the obligatory wings, sliders and pizza, too.
There’s a full bar with 18 taps, primarily local craft brews.
Details: 541 Ramona St., Palo Alto; www.oldpropa.com
You need a long name to cover all the roles that Jack’s plays. It’s a microbrewery, a sports hangout and a family restaurant. This longtime favorite has occupied a prime spot at the Hub for more then two decades, run the whole time by the Steadman-Wallace brother-sister duo.
The screens: Besides the 10-foot “monster screen,” there’s an 80-incher and 20 other TVs.
The menu: Regulars have made the beer-battered Arctic Cod and Chips, Jack’s BBQ Ribs and Giant Cheese Steaks the top sellers. There’s also a vast array of burgers, sandwiches and salads, and a childrens menu.
Sports-themed beers — the Grid Iron Amber Ale, the Hardwood Pale Ale and the Penalty Shot Porter — are brewed onsite. There’s also a full bar.
Details: 39176 Argonaut Way, Fremont; www.jacksbrewing.com
Dean and Darin Devincenzi may win “best sports bar in Silicon Valley” honors year after year, but they consider their place a restaurant first, a bar second. Either way, like all good sports hangouts, it doubles as a museum, with Joe’s No. 16 jersey and other cool sports memorabilia on display.
The screens: 32, including an 85-incher and several 75s.
The menu: Six pasta dishes are already offered, and the Devincenzis plan to add to that lineup this season. Other customer favorites: Korean-Style Baby Back Ribs and the Three Alarm Fire, a fried chicken sandwich topped with pepper jack cheese, jalapeño slaw and chipotle aioli.
You’ll find 10 craft brews on tap, along with a full bar for cocktails including their award-winning, tequila-based Smokey Wildflower.
Details: 354 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; www.doubleds.com
Billed as Walnut Creek’s oldest sports bar, the Stadium Pub is nearing its 30th birthday. Fans pack this old-school place year-round, often spilling out onto the sidewalk where they can still catch a glimpse of the action on the screens inside.
The screens: Close to 50, with even more TVs being installed
The menu: Classic bar food plus housemade corned beef and kosher hot dogs and sausages. The French fries rate a menu category all their own: You can order them original style, spicy, cheesy, garlicky or topped with chili.
More than 15 beers are on tap. Signature cocktails include one designed for those early Sunday morning kickoffs, the house-made, “slightly spicy” Hail Mary Bloody Mary.
Details: 1420 Lincoln Ave., Walnut Creek; www.thestadiumpubwc.com
This is the newest sports bar on the local scene, and it’s an unconventional one, to be sure. Entrepreneurs Helen and Harry Nguyen pulled together an impressive culinary team for their upscale French-Vietnamese concept, then decided to broaden the restaurant’s appeal.
The screens: A 200-inch TV in the dining room, plus other screens in the bar.
The menu: In the main room, it’s dishes like Duck Confit and Bouillabaisse. In the bar, you can order Banh Mi Sliders, Basil Wings and Viet Fries topped with hoisin, peanuts and cilantro.
If you’d like to replace high-fives with Champagne toasts, this is the place to do it. The long list of wines, sparkling and otherwise, favors France and California. Cocktails include the popular Lychee Frozé and the Trái Xoài (mango) Margarita. And yes, there are several beers on tap.
Details: 969 Story Road, San Jose, in the Vietnam Town center.
Steep yourself in Cal lore at this longtime hangout for Bears fans near campus. The Graduate Hotels group took over and refurbished this circa 1928 building a few years ago, but there is still plenty of blue and gold and they wisely kept Henry’s classic, wood-paneled decor. On game weekends, it’s a popular spot for out-of-town fans, so you’ll always find a kindred spirit at the bar.
The screens: Two above the well-appointed bar.
The menu: By the time Nevada’s Wolf Pack heads into Memorial Stadium for the home opener, Henry’s culinary director will have a new menu of bar bites ready to debut.
There’s a full bar, with 12 brews on tap. Here, as at other Graduate Hotels across the country, bartenders will make the chain’s signature cocktail, the rum-based Adult Capri Sun, designed to bring back memories of those first legal sips.
Details: 2600 Durant Ave., Berkeley; www.graduatehotels.com/berkeley
Rookies offers sports fans their choice of two vibes. There is the “Cheers”-style lodge setting of the original, which opened in 2010, and the sleek urban feel of the newer downtown location. Or, as one local bar expert says, think of one as Candlestick, the other as Levi’s Stadium.
The screens: At the Meridian location, you’ll find 20 inside and 9 outside. Downtown has 33.
The menu: Both locations serve burgers, wings, nachos, pizza, salads and bowls (Cajun, teriyaki) — and most sandwiches and burgers come with your choice of side dish, among them housemade chili, salad or chips with salsa. On Sundays, you can order breakfast/brunch.
There’s a monster list of about 40 craft beers on tap, with an emphasis on Bay Area brewers. Both locations also offer wine and a full bar.
Details: 1535 Meridian Ave. and 99 S. First St., San Jose; www.rookieslodge.com
Here’s another new, unconventional spot for gridiron fans. And it’s not a sports venue at all. But it seems the bar and grill at this movie complex located at the upscale City Center Bishop Ranch has become a go-to place for fans. It’s open, airy — and if the game’s lopsided, you can always take in a movie.
The screens: There’s a humongous one above the bar — actually nine screens that form a single image.
The menu: The Grilled Salmon, Salads and Flatbreads (think Prosciutto and Burrata) have been popular. There’s all-day breakfast also. Prefer to munch on popcorn while watching the game? The theater is always popping a fresh batch.
The Lot’s got a full bar, several signature cocktails (maybe Fly Me to Hawaii or A Day at the Spa?), and a huge wine list. Beer drinkers will find at least a dozen on tap.
Details: 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon; https://thelotent.com/city-center
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