Among "nightlife" genres, the venerable sports bar holds a special place in the heart of many gay and lesbian communities. It's where local and visiting fans convene to watch anything from college football and basketball to World Cup soccer to Olympic skating and diving.
Some big dates for sporting events in 2016 and 2017: the NFL super bowl is set for February 5 in Houston. College Hoops "March Madness" runs from about mid-March through the first week or so of April. NBA Basketball playoffs begin mid-April and run through early June, while ML Baseball's playoffs start shortly after the final regular-season game of the year, in early October - you can expect that at least a few World Series games will extend as late as early November.
Here's a list of some of the best gay or mixed gay/straight bars and clubs around North America for watching games and mingling with fellow players and fans - note the bars listed here are in alphabetical order by city.
Amsterdam Atlanta (502-A Amsterdam Ave., Atlanta, 404-892-2227) - this friendly and fun Midtown hangout is an Atlanta favorite for shooting pool, having drinks on the patio, dancing, and watching Braves, Falcons, Georgia Tech, and other local teams. See the Atlanta Gay Bars Guide for more details.
Trophy Room (26 Chandler St., inside the Chandler Inn, Boston, 617-482-3450) - the long-running former Fritz bar received a beautiful makeover as well as a name and concept change in 2014. The Trophy Room is now a smartly decorated bar and bistro, and it still draws plenty of South End gays and lesbians for drinks and watching games on TV in the bar section. See the Boston Gay Bars Guide for more details.
Sidelines (4544 South Blvd., Charlotte, 704-525-2608) - in the South, the LGBT community has plenty of ardent sports fans, and this is no more true than in North Carolina's largest city. The attractive bar Sidelines has plenty of pool tables, Wii games, and other diversions. See the Charlotte Gay Bars Guide for more details.
Crew Bar (4804 N. Broadway, Chicago, 773-784-2739) - located in Uptown, a bit north of the Lakeview gay-bar hub, this handsome and expansive sports hangout has two-dozen hi-def monitors airing every sort of sport imaginable. You bet that in an ardent sports town like Chicago, Crew Bar is hugely popular.
Rosie's Tavern (643 Bakewell St., Covington, 859-291-9707) - across the river from Cincinnati in historic Covington, this convivial tavern welcome lesbians, gays, and allies to shoot pool, mingle, listen to live music, and watch games on TV.
Woody's (4011 Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas, 214-520-6629) - Dallas has always been known for its hot cheerleaders. At this LGBT gay sports bar in the famed Crossroads gay nightlife district in Oak Lawn, Woody's is the premier hangout in these parts for catching Cowboys, Rangers, Stars, and Mavericks games.
Sidelines Sports & Video Bar (2031-A Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors, 954-563-8001) - in the small city of Wilton Manors, which is adjacent to Fort Lauderdale and is home to the lion's share of LGBT nightspots in the area. The 24 TVs show a wide variety of college and pro games.
LoJax (2256 Kuhio Ave., 2nd floor, Honolulu, 808-922-1422) - set on the second level of a building on busy Kuhio Avenue, near numerous hotels and a couple of other gay bars, this is Hawaii's go-to for watching sports and playing Wii.
George Country Sports Bar (617 Fairview St., Houston, 713-528-8102) - hey, why not? A country western bar with a sports mentality. It works in the lively Montrose neighborhood of Houston.
Downtown Olly's (822 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis, 317-636-5597) - more an all-around neighborhood gay bar (with some fun drag shows at night) than a true sports lounge per se, Olly's is nevertheless a good bet for watching pro games on TV. There's decent bar food, too.
The Garage (1487 E. Flamingo Rd., 702-440-6333) - decked out with a pretty cool vintage-car look, this fun and friendly spot has pool tables, darts, and other diversions as well as big screens showing pro and college games. See the Las Vegas Gay Bars guide for more details.
The Dugout (3215 N.E. 2nd Ave., Miami, 305-438-1117) - a sports-centric gay bar and lounge near the Wynwood Arts District in midtown Miami.
Woody's (1579 S. 2nd St., Milwaukee, 414-672-0806) - set amid the many gay bars in Walker's Point, Woody's is a no-attitude, laid-back LGBT neighborhood hangout that, like most people in this ardent sports city, watches games with a certain passion. See the Fort Lauderdale Gay Bars Guide for more details.
Station des Sports - Downtown East (862 rue Ste-Catherine E, 514-903-8571) - although it's part of a local chain of mainstream sports pubs, the Gay Village branch of Station des Sports has, as you might expect, a decidedly LGBT following. http://stationsports.ca/
Boxers (in Chelsea, NYC at 37 W. 20th St., 212-255-5082; in Hells Kitchen, NYC at 742 9th Ave., 212-951-1518; in Philadelphia at 1330 Walnut St., 215-735-2977) - this chainlet of stylish gay sports bars, in which the buff bartenders dress in boxer shorts and gay sports teams gather regularly, has locations in both the Chelsea and Hells Kitchen neighborhoods of Manhattan. More recently, the owners opened a snazzy new branch in Philadelphia's City Center.
Gym Sportsbar (167 8th Ave., New York City, 212-337-2439) - a major player along uber-gay 8th Avenue in Chelsea, Gym draws sports fans and plenty of others for its weekday happy hour deals, good times in the convivial "Locker Room" bar in the basement, and parties for NYC's many LGBT sports leagues. See the Chelsea Gay Guide and Gallery for more details.
always-hopping gay sports venue has the usual games on TV plus all sorts of other thematic gatherings, from "bearlesque" parties to karaoke to Taco Tuesdays.
JJ's Clubhouse & Bar (3858 Market St., St. Louis, 314-535-4100) - a rough-and-tumble club with a major bear-leather following, JJ's is a lot of fun for sports fans, too. It's in Midtown, close to the Central West End, and shows sports on TV, hosts darts and pool leagues, and might just be the cruisiest gay sports bar around. To that end, the crowd is almost exclusively gay male.
Redwing Bar & Grill (4012 30th St., San Diego, 619-281-8700) - back before North Park became one of the hottest hipster 'hoods on the West Coast, this easygoing neighborhood gay bar was catering to San Diego's queer sports fans - it continues to be a favorite place to watch games, shoot pool, play darts, and mingle. See the San Diego Gay Bars Guide for more details.
Hi Tops (2247 Market St., San Francisco, 415-551-2500) - a lively, vaguely hipster-ish sports on Market Street in the Castro. The "Gym Class" parties on Thursdays are a favorite local ritual, and the "killer nachos" are among several delicious bar-food offerings. See the San Francisco Gay Bars Guide for more details.
Madison Pub (1315 E. Madison St., Seattle, 206-325-6537) - a cozy Capitol Hill standby that bills itself "your neighborhood living room," Madison Pub has great trivia nights in addition to airing Seahawks and Mariners games and hosting the city's many sports teams. See the Seattle Gay Bars Guide for more details.
City Side (3703 Henderson Blvd., Tampa, 813-350-0600) - a friendly and intimate spot for watching games, with a nice-size patio, too, plus karaoke and other events. It's not purely a sports bar, but it's definitely a good bet when major games are going on. See the Tampa Gay Bars Guide for more details.
Score on Davie (1262 Davie St., Vancouver, 604-632-1646) - "Eat, Drink, Watch" is the motto of this convivial sports bar in the heart of the Davie Street gay village in Vancouver's West End. It's a fun place for snacking and watching games.
Nellie's Sports Bar (900 U St., Washington, DC, 202-332-6355) - this rather classy joint in the trendy U Street Corridor of our nation's capital has well-attended "smart ass" sports trivia nights on Wednesdays, not to mention hosting an encyclopedic list of local gay sports clubs. See the Washington DC Gay Bars Guide for more details.
Gym Sportsbar (8737 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-659-2004) - an impressive number of local gay sports leagues (flag football, dodgeball, water polo, soccer, three different volleyball teams) congregate regularly at this stylish bar along the Santa Monica Boulevard bar strip; it's the sister establishment to Gym in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood. See the West Hollywood Gay Bars Guide for more details.