Wednesday, October 18, 2017

6 Spots to Watch Football in Downtown Jersey City + Other Suggestions

This has certainly been an up and down football season and people all around the country are finding new reasons to tune in. Whether you're watching to show support for those taking a knee or just because you care how your team is doing, Jersey City has some great options for where to watch. 

As a non-avid football watcher myself, while I can recommend great bars for food, I am less able to recommend great spots to watch. Luckily, former JC Eater Steve stepped in to save the day with his ranking system that takes into account three key aspects.
  • Viewing: I did not consider any bar that does not have NFL Sunday Ticket so viewing means the way the bar is set up so there's access to multiple TV’s at one time so you can watch your team play and follow stats for fantasy football. TV’s are tagged by game so you know which seats to snag if you’re one of the early ones. 
  • Food: Every great tailgate has good food and it’s no different when it comes to watching at a bar. When you’re planted on a bar stool for hours, you want to be sure that you’re being fed well. Wings are a standard football tradition but this takes the entire menu into consideration. 
  • Ambiance: I prefer bars that revolve around football as soon as the 1 o’clock games start on Sunday so the sound of the announcers on the speakers instead of music, people feeling comfortable cheering out loud for their teams, no families/kids at the bar, etc. - these are the type of things I took into consideration when I rated for football ambiance. 
Based off those factors and using a 5 star rating system, here are six bars that I consider the best in the downtown area:

Photo from FB
Brightside is a little off the beaten path. There are diehard fans that go to this bar and you not only run into the local fans rooting for the Giants/Jets but fans from all over the country rooting for different teams. This place is always buzzing on Sundays and with cheap beer buckets and solid food options, I understand why. It’s a square bar in the center of the room with seats and tables surrounding it. TV screens fill the walls with 2 giant screens on opposite ends of the bar. The bartenders are always friendly and attentive and there are always some sort beer/shot deals for the games. 
Ambiance *****
Food ****

Mix and match buckets of craft beers and special food menu for game days make this a strong contender. The honey sesame chicken wings are out of this world. Quality food, beer and plenty of tables for you and your friends makes this place a top spot for football. There are table/board games for those who aren’t into football. 

The space might not be very big, but the bar wraps around the entire space. However, with only a few table seats on the perimeter, if you don’t there at kick off, it may be hard to find a seat. The best seats are at the back of the bar where you have access to about 4-5 TV’s. They have a relatively small menu but it’s above average bar food.

Photo from FB
The only negative rating this place has is the ability to watch all the games at once. The place is just too big for regular size TV’s so they have projections all throughout and is hard to watch multiple games at once. On the bright side, there are massive picnic tables which are great for big groups and great food options to share. So if you want to concentrate on a couple of games on giant projection screens, this is the place to be. Family and dog friendly which is an added bonus. 

This bar is located in the powerhouse arts district and is one of the few Irish pubs remaining in the downtown area. This place gets pretty packed on Sundays and things starting to escalate during the 4 o’clock games. Standard pub fare and a projection screen for the local game. 
Ambiance ******
Food **
Viewing ****

Location is what makes this sports bar a big attraction. It does get pretty rowdy during the games so if you’re into loud music during commercials and cheap beer, this is the place to be. They have your standard pizza and wings but the food is not the main attraction for this sports bar. Here it's all about getting loose and downing as many of those mugs of beer as possible. 

Thanks to Steve for his suggestions!

Some other options in downtown I would recommend just based on the food alone:

White Star - both the Brunswick St. and Warren Street locations. 
Left Bank Burger Bar

If you're looking for spots to watch outside of downtown, I recommend:
PJ Ryan's Squared - with a much larger space but the same quality of food, PJ Ryan's Squared in Journal Square is conveniently located for commuters and has a lot to watch.
Halftime Bar - great deals on drinks, excellent fries, good service and more all make this West Side spot a solid Sunday football contender.
Carvao BBQ - Carvao is one of the few places in Jersey City offering any kind of barbecue and that plus their drink specials and larger size help make this restaurant stand-out.
O'Leary's Publik House - Located in Bergen-Lafayette, O'Leary's has some of the best food specials in town and a lot of like-minded football fans, making watching a social event. 

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