Best Bars to Watch College Football's Top Teams This Season
NEW YORK CITY — It’s that time of year again, when Saturdays are reserved solely for pitchers of beer, tattered college T-shirts and fight songs sung off-key.
In other words, it’s college football season.
Alumni from schools across the country will congregate at bars all over New York this fall, turning typically warm, welcoming, all-inclusive establishments into rival territories. While Notre Dame devotees will hole up at Public House on East 41st Street in Murray Hill, University of Southern California fans will take over Highland Park six blocks north, on East 34th Street.
With Florida State fans sequestered at Saloon on the Upper East Side and 4th Down in Brooklyn, University of Florida alums fill four different establishment across Manhattan.
And the trend continues, with alumni from the preseason top 25 teams holding court across the Big Apple in the name of pigskin pride.
Chelsea resident Jessica Randazza, a member of the New York City chapter of the University of Alabama Alumni Association, said getting together for each game of the season is “hugely important.”
“We're a group that has a lot of pride in our university and it's tradition, and being able to all come together to honor that here in New York is unlike anything else,” Randazza said.
“The ability to connect with similar people so far away from the Tuscaloosa campus instantly creates for our members a strong network with warmth and an open door.”
It also provides a lot of beer-fueled fun.
Liam McGreevey, one of the owners of Legends NYC, said his bar has been hosting Louisiana State University fans for the past four years.
The bar serves a special New Orleans-style menu on game days, with Hurricanes and gumbo, crawfish and “alligator bites,” McGreevey said. Up to 1,000 people can turn out for big games.
“It’s a party atmosphere,” McGreevey said. “It’s infectious because now we get a lot of people who aren’t even football fans who come along for the party.”
Whether you are a diehard fan or just want to come along for the ride, DNAinfo.com New York has compiled a list of bars where you can watch this year’s top 25 teams, based on rankings from the Associated Press:
1. University of Southern California
206 E. 34th St.
Staffers at the bar said they will offer 2-for-1 specials on beer, wine and specialty cocktails for Trojan fans that turn out on game days.
2. University of Alabama
122 W. 26th St.
Anywhere from 400 to 800 Crimson Tide fans have been known to turn out on game days to cheer on the reigning national champs, and at The Ainsworth the staff will don crimson and white, leaving shakers on the table for fans, according to the website for the New York City chapter of the University of Alabama Alumni Association. Drink specials will also be offered.
3. Louisiana State University
6 W. 33rd St.
Legends NYC has been a home away from home for Tigers fans for the past four years. The bar puts out a special menu on game days that includes New Orleans-style drinks and food. Crowds are known to swell to more than 1,000 on big game days.
4. University of Oklahoma
121 Fulton Street
121 Fulton St.
The University of Oklahoma is hosting its game-watching parties at 121 Fulton St. for the first year this year. Staffers said the bar will offer discounted pitchers, beer buckets and food for Sooner fans.
120 E. 15th St.
Ducks fans flock to SideBAR near Union Square, which serves up a wide variety of food and drink alongside multiple large TVs.
6. University of Georgia
Bulldogs have two spots to choose from for game day festivities, with The Village Pourhouse in the East Village and McGee’s Pub in Midtown serving Georgia fans every game day.
7. Florida State
1584 York Ave.
4th Down in Brooklyn
170 N. 4th St.
Game days at Saloon and 4th Down are open to all, but members of the Florida State Alumni Association get a few special perks. Each game day, Saloon will host a raffle for the first 50 fans, and the winner gets the best table in the house, along with a comped round of beers. The bar will also offer $12 Bud Light pitchers, $15 Bud Light buckets, $25 Bud Light beer towers, $17 dollar Blue Moon pitchers and $35 Blue Moon beer towers.
Brother Jimmy's Union Square
116 E. 16th St.
219 Second Ave.
111 E. 18th St.
Wolverines fans have multiple spots to call home on game day as the New York City chapter of the university’s alumni association has selected three official game-day venues. Ainsworth Park is newly opened and boasts 7,000 square feet of space and 60 televisions.
9. South Carolina
43 E. 30th St.
Gamecocks fans have chosen the Mason Jar in Murray Hill as their gathering spot. The bar offers custom craft beers, as well as barbecue and an extensive selection of fine bourbons.
232 W. 48th St.
Razorbacks die-hards spend game days tossing back cold ones at Hurley’s Saloon in Midtown. Guests can get $10 off parking on game days. For those who prefer public transportation, the bar is walking distance from Times Square.
11. West Virginia
440 Ninth Ave.
Mountaineers fans will camp out at Hudson Station for the fall 2012 football season. Drink specials include $10 domestic pitchers of Bud Light or Rolling Rock, $8 buckets of cans of Coors Light, $3 shots of Jim Beam annd Red Stag, and $6 "Mountaineer Punch."
1442 Third Ave.
West 3rd Common
1 W. Third St.
Mad River is the official alumni bar for Badgers in New York City. Game-day specials include $4 apple pie shots, $12 Coors Light Pitchers and $8 cheese curds. For the fall season, alums have added a Downtown option at West 3rd Common, which also airs Wisconsin games every Saturday.
13. Michigan State
Mercury Bar East
493 Third Ave.
212 W. 79th St.
Spartans have two options for game-day festivities, with alumni taking over bars in Murray Hill and on the Upper West Side. Each boasts plenty of TVs, beer and bar food to carry fans through each game.
29 W. 35th St.
The newly opened Liberty bar in Midtown will be the official home for Tigers fans in New York for the fall 2012 season. Drink specials include $4 Narragansett Light, $4 Yuengling and $5 well drinks.
133 W. 33rd St.
Hill Country BBQ
30 W. 26th St.
Longhorns fans are a force to be reckoned with in New York, and they camp out at Stout in Midtown and at Hill Country BBQ in the Flatiron District. Drinks specials still have to be announced, but reservations are recommended to nab a good seat.
16. Virginia Tech
The Village Pourhouse
64 Third Ave.
The Hokies have picked The Village Pourhouse as their Manhattan home for all 2012, and $30 gets patrons all they can drink.
356 W. 44th St.
Huskers fans congregate at the Irish Rogue in Midtown for game-day festivities and other events organized by the Nebraska Society of New York.
18. Ohio State
133 W. 33rd St.
Buckeyes devotees can find like-minded fans at Stout in Midtown, where game-day drink specials include $4 Bud Light drafts, $5 Brooklyn drafts and $25 buckets of Bud or Bud Light.
19. Oklahoma State
Stillwater Bar & Grill
78 E. Fourth St.
Cowboy fans gather at Stillwater Bar & Grill in the East Village, where beer, pool and darts complete the game-day festivities.
20. Texas Christian University
The 13th Step
149 Second Ave.
Horned Frogs fans come together at The 13th Step in the East Village, where game-day drinks are half price and domestic pitchers cost only $10.
The Village Pourhouse
64 Third Ave.
The Village Pourhouse is the gathering spot for a number of top college football teams, including Stanford. According to the university’s alumni association website, “nearly all of our games” will be watched in the bar’s "Vegas Room." The bar will offer $25 Bud Light pitchers and mixed drinks ranging from $7 to $9.
22. Kansas State
20 W. 38th St.
Fans of the Wildcats will spend the fall 2012 season at The Australian, a bar that offers a variety of imported beers and homemade meat pies.
23. University of Florida
The Gin Mill
442 Amsterdam Ave.
120 E. 15th St.
961 Second Ave.
6 Murray St.
Gator fans are so plentiful in the Big Apple that the school’s New York-based alumni association has secured four game-day venues in Manhattan. The Gin Mill, by far the most popular, offers domestic pitchers for $8 to $10, $4 “Gator Bombs” and $3 “Gator Shots” (Southern Comfort with a splash of lime).
24. Boise State
The perennial fan favorite Broncos don’t have an official gathering spot in New York. But according to the folks at @wherewewatch, a Twitter feed and former website that culls information about where to watch certain sports in NYC, Van Diemens, at 383 Third Ave., and The Village Pourhouse uptown, at 982 Amsterdam Ave., are known to attract a significant Boise State crowd.
This school is also devoid of an official gathering spot in New York City, but Tavern on Third, a Murray Hill spot at 380 Third Ave., has offered to house New York City-based Cardinals fans on game days. The bar is also the official home of the Auburn Tigers in New York.