If the love of sport is truly global, then the very concept of a sports bar – giant screens, screaming fans and stroke-inducing bar food – is very much an Anglo-Saxon experience, born in USA and raised in countries like Australia and New Zealand. The last couple of decades, though, has seen the concept spread throughout the world – if only to attract a share of the travelling sports fan.

What the bars listed below all have in common is good viewing options, a solid food menu and an atmosphere that celebrates watching sport as a shared, communal experience – because, in the end, atmosphere is everything. These are places where everyone is welcome, where a love of sport is paramount and, if the circumstances dictate, jumping around like a frenzied lunatic is absolutely the right thing to do.  

A huge sports bar, with enormous screens showing a football match. The room is packed with people raising their hands and cheering.
Gargantuan Crown Sports Bar certainly provides an atmosphere you won't forget © Crown Sports Bar

Crown Sports Bar, Perth

Trying to name Australia’s best sports bar is something of a fool’s errand, but Perth’s Crown Sports Bar – part of the enormous Crown Perth Hotel & Casino complex – makes a pretty good claim. The massive central viewing room is surrounded on three sides by gigantic screens, and if by chance you’re not that into whatever the main event is, the hanging screens by the bar show the action from other sports. There’s even a private screening area known as ‘The Box’ for a private, luxury viewing experience.

The Bleacher Bar, Boston

In a city packed with great sports bars, the Bleacher Bar in Boston tips the scales because it’s directly underneath the centerfield seats at Fenway Park with a huge window directly onto the outfield. A solid beer menu and the best food in the hood, but the real treat is bagging a seat by the window and watching at least some of the game (there’s a time limit so you might only get a couple of innings).

The exterior of Cafe Kick sports Bar in Exmouth Market. There is a branch of a cherry blossom in the foreground, slightly obscuring the cafe which has lots of outdoor seating
The warm atmosphere at Cafe Kick fits the cosy premises © Cafe Kick

Café Kick, London

This Clerkenwell bar is small, but it’s one of the best spots in London to watch football. It’s got a strong Mediterranean-samba vibe (Portuguese beers and killer caipirinhas to complement the superb tapas on the menu), authentic paraphernalia on the walls and a brilliant atmosphere come match time – it’s also one of the city’s top spots for table football. There’s another, bigger branch on Shoreditch High Street that is also a pretty good place to watch the footie. 

LxF, Buenos Aires

If you can’t get to a live game at the Monumental or the Bombonera, watching one on the screens at LxF is a pretty good consolation. The name is short for ‘locos el futbol’ – mad for football – and this friendly bar in the affluent Recoleta neighbourhood is definitely the place to watch locals test their passions for their favourite soccer teams. Buenos Aires’ American community also flock here for US sports, especially the Superbowl.

Sluggers, Chicago

Close to Wrigley Field, the century-old home of the Chicago Cubs, Sluggers has 30-plus huge screens and is perfect if you want to watch how sports-mad Chicago fans truly are in support of their beloved teams in all the major sports, but it’s also packed with sporting pursuits of its own, including batting cages, a golf simulator, Skee-Ball, air hockey and hoops. Classic bar grub fills the menus, including some tasty wraps, wings and a fine choice of burgers – and there’s even duelling pianos. 

Darts playing area at The Sportsman, Bangkok
If no matches take your fancy, you can always have a game of darts at The Sportsman © Joseph Veriato / The Sportsman

The Sportsman, Bangkok

The daily TV schedule at Bangkok’s Sportsman, a huge bar on Soi 13 just off Sukhumvit, reflects the international nature of its appeal. Formula 1, tennis, horse racing from Australia, European rugby, a UFC fight, college football from the US and – of course – soccer, from all the major leagues around the world is available on the 26 TVs and 8 HD projectors, while the menu favours Thai dishes, a welcome change from other western-oriented bars.

Satellite Sports Café, Amsterdam

Two floors, a large outdoor terrace and a bleacher-like stairs: Satellite Sports Café in Amsterdam ensures that no matter where you are, you can watch sports on one of the screens that cover virtually every inch of this busy bar on Leidesplein. It’s not pretty, but the atmosphere is terrific and the food is delivered in mammoth portions – try the stack of pancakes topped with whipped cream, which is almost sinful.

The Sporting Globe, Melbourne

Sport-centric Melbourne has no shortage of bars to watch sport, but the Sporting Globe makes our list for its mix of 30 large screens, booths with personal TVs and a rooftop deck. Friendly, relaxed service and a pretty good menu – the half-price wings, ribs and pints on Mondays is an absolute steal. There are multiple locations throughout the city, but our favourite is the Richmond branch. 

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This article was first published December 2019 and updated January 2020

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