When I moved to LA, I was a little nervous. Where the heck am I going to watch a Mavericks game? If I step into the wrong bar, at the wrong time, with a Dirk Nowitzki jersey on, I might be mauled by Lakers fans.
To my relief, I’ve found a surprising spectrum of sports fans in LA. From Texans to Canadians to international folks who worship Cristiano Ronaldo, there is a fan for everything. The catch is finding where to go to discover your sports soul mates. I’ve learned that The Parlor on Melrose is a great place to watch basketball; Goal the perfect spot for football and then Sonny McLean’s is a Boston fanatic’s dream.
The Fox and the Hounds
Given the World Cup is gearing up, finding a spot to watch is essential. I don’t make it over to Studio City much, but when I do, I always hit up The Fox and the Hounds. This season, it’s taking the World Cup seriously, offering every match live on their screens. On their site, they have all the schedules leading up to the July 13th Finals. On that Sunday, they have an awesome bash planned where you can buy tickets and secure a spot. They have a scrumptious pub menu with classics like Shepherds Pie, Cornish Pastie and Bangers & Mash. Even if you can’t afford to make it to Europe for the games, you’ll feel like you’re there, munching on fish and chips, sipping a crisp Blackthorn Cider.
The Parlor is awesome. I live right around the corner which also makes it incredibly convenient. Located on Melrose right off of La Brea, it’s a bar that’s easy to get to from any LA neighborhood. It has over 50 HD TVs, outdoor fire pits, specialty cocktails, yummy bar food and live DJs. If you’re looking for a place to rage during March Madness, this is the answer. It has the mix of an upscale and casual environment where you can stroll in still in your tie after work, or wear your flip-flops on a Sunday funday. If you’re interested in bringing a date to a sports bar, this would also be a smart pick.
I’ll be honest, I go to the Goal Sports Cafe to drink beer and meet dudes. A good friend manages this chic professional spot in the West 3rd St. corridor and invited me to come down for a football game. I realized it was where all the agents, lawyers and men in suits went after work for an early dinner and the first quarter of a game. There’s nothing rowdy about this place, which is quite refreshing. You’ve got some serious sports fans here that are looking to unwind after a days grind. The vibe is friendly, and I’ve always made friends with new people here. The space has an intimate vibe with dark wood paneling, booths, one main bar and finger-licking gourmet food. It’s also a spot for celebs to go and chill. Last time I was there I spotted Leo DiCaprio and almost choked on my Guinness.
Just because you’re in Santa Monica doesn’t mean it’s all surfers and sunshine. There’s a comfy Irish Gastro pub right off Wilshire near the beach. They’ve got over 40 taps of delicious beer, cider and an impressive wine selection for those who like to cheer on with a chardonnay. If you’re looking to get a gang together to celebrate your team, there are rooms to reserve with personal event planners and hosted bars. I do warn you, this is where all the Boston fans assemble. There’s sports memorabilia lining the walls in the main room, another area with darts and a stage and a lounge for buffet-style dinners. They’ve also got some super fun karaoke and comedy nights if you want to celebrate (or laugh through the tears) after a big win (or loss.)
Smithhouse is the place to watch a game with someone you’re trying to impress. It’s located on Santa Monica right across from Century City and all the big agencies . The crowd has a professional flair and its selection of beer is jaw dropping with over 120 brews on tap! If you’re looking for a hearty, flavorful burger, the knowledgeable bartenders will be sure to find the perfect local or craft beverage to pair with the meal. They have a happy hour Monday-Friday 3pm to 7pm which makes it a great joint to pop by after work for a meeting or a drink and a game. If you want to keep an eye on the screen while also carrying on a conversation, this is your place. No fellow fans will be screaming in your ear or waving around a foam finger.