Watching your favorite team score as you laze on the couch — or jump up and down on your coffee table — isn’t a bad thing. But isn’t it more fun to cheer on the Niners, the Raiders or the (insert fave team name here) in the company of fellow fans? Perhaps with a cold one and spicy wings in hand?
Here are six great Bay Area sports bars where you can do just that.
RICKEY’S SPORTS LOUNGE, San Leandro
All you need to know if you’re a current fan, former fan, recovering fan or sometimes fan of the (Las Vegas) Raiders is that Rickey’s is back.
The legendary home of the Raider Nation — lauded by no less than Sports Illustrated as one of the nation’s best sports bars — reopened this spring, three years after beloved founder Ricky Ricardo died. Now, new owner Ramonn Smith is gearing up to host fans for the redesigned sports bar’s first NFL season.
Patrons sit at the bar at the revamped Rickey’s Sports Lounge in San Leandro, Calif., on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
The spirit lives on at this newly sleek venue, even if the walls have been stripped of the jerseys of the greats — Otto, Sistrunk, Plunkett, Blanda, Chester — as well as the historic sideline photo of Madden and Stabler, the “Commitment to Excellence” signs, “JST WIN BBY” license plate and other Oakland Raiders memorabilia.
Silver-and-black superfans will be back in the house Sept. 10 for a season opener tailgate and watch party. Expect some special appearances from Raiders legends and former players, Smith said. The bash starts at 11 a.m., with the Raiders-Broncos kickoff at 1:25 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are required.
The screens: There are 40 TVs, including two large screens outdoors for big sporting events. In one lounge, 11 screens are mounted for Fantasy League fans to keep an eye on multiple games at once.
A mango margarita and draft beer are served at Rickey’s Sports Lounge in San Leandro. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
The menu: Names of dishes reflect the attitude exemplified by both Ricardo and Smith: Fans of all teams and sports are welcome here. The popular All Bases Sliders ($11 catfish, $10 beef) are joined by Putter’s Prawns & Chips ($20), the Touchdown Turkey Burger ($16), the Full Court Caesar Salad ($10) and a winner with all, Lemon-Pepper Wings N Things ($12). A breakfast menu will be offered Sunday mornings. There’s a full bar with six taps.
Details: During football season, Rickey’s will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and from noon to 10 p.m. the rest of the week. 15028 Hesperian Blvd., San Leandro; www.facebook.com/RickeysSL/.
THE DUTCH GOOSE, West Menlo Park
The Midpeninsula has been on a downward streak of losing its beloved sports bar haunts with the closures of the Oasis, Antonio’s Nut House and The Old Pro all in the last few years. (Though the Old Pro is slated to undergo a makeover and return as a new steakhouse/sports bar concept sometime next year under the management of Zola’s Guillaume Bienaime.)
Amidst the recent closures, then, Menlo Park’s The Dutch Goose is all the more impressive for its survival. The bar and restaurant opened in 1966 and in 2015 underwent a series of forced renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. From its quirky beer-laden goose logo — designed by Barry Anderson, the same artist who designed the Grateful Dead’s logo in the 1970s — to its long tradition of deviled eggs, the bar serves an eclectic mix of Stanford folks, local residents and regional sports fans. Look around, and you’ll see families eating pizza together in the graffiti-carved wooden booths and outdoor picnic tables alongside VC bros straight from Sand Hill Road unwinding over sports talk and brewskis.
Grab a spot in the covered outdoor area at the rear of the bar, called the “Duck Blind,” where there’s a second bar, picnic tables and a shady tree with dangling lights for a more atmospheric setting.
The screens: There are 11 TVs scattered across the premises, offering both indoor and outdoor viewing.
The menu: The bar is best known for its deviled eggs ($3.25 each), but also offers guacamole burgers ($11 or $13, if you want a double) and excellent sweet potato fries ($7.75) — and 12 beers on tap.
Details: Open from 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday at 3567 Alameda de las Pulgas in Menlo Park; www.dutchgoose.net.
TWISTED TIMES RESTAURANT SPORTS & SPIRITS, Walnut Creek
Sometimes you’re not looking for a sports bar with a crush of fans spilling beer and yelling at Tom Brady. Maybe you want, say, a dimly lit hole where you can enjoy the game in peace and eat good food.
The relatively new Twisted Times meets those requirements. It’s dark and cool – quite a lifesaver in the blistering Walnut Creek summer – and features some of the tastiest pub grub in Walnut Creek. Readers not only picked the place for Diablo Magazine’s 2023’s Best East Bay Sports Bar, but awarded it Best Burger, too, for its half-pound monster ($15.75) of California Angus, melted cheddar and a savory-sweet bourbon-onion relish.
The L-shaped establishment opens into the bar, where you might find staff and customers chatting about beer-filtration systems and valves, and segues into a dining area with tables and a children’s play nook. If things do get hectic on game days – folks here seem to like the Niners, Steelers and Ohio State-Michigan – there’s a front patio with TVs and heat lamps for the evening.
The screens: Twenty flat-screens that wallpaper the joint have the ability to each play different channels. With the place subscribing to nearly every sports package, that’s a big plus for football (or gambling) fanatics.
The menu: There are 10 taps heavy on IPAs from local breweries such as Martinez’s Del Cielo and Walnut Creek’s Mike Hess, though you can always get a pilsner or Guinness. The full bar offers specialty cocktails and a little whisky alcove that includes a blackened version from Metallica. And the “twisted” food menu draws influences from around the globe. Aside from various styles of burgers and wings, you’ll find Korean braised pork, Baja grilled-fish tacos and random bites from fried-alligator nuggets to barbecue-bacon sushi.
Details: Opens at noon on weekdays and 10 a.m. weekends and closes between 8 and 10 p.m. depending on the night at 2065 N. Broadway, Suite 100, Walnut Creek; twistedtimesrestaurant.com.
The patio dining area at Double D’s Sports Grille in Los Gatos, Calif., on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
DOUBLE D’S SPORTS GRILLE, Los Gatos
For 27 years, this bar and grill has held down a corner at the gateway to downtown Los Gatos.
Owners Dean and Darin Devincenzi may win “best sports bar in Silicon Valley” honors year after year, but they consider their place a family-friendly restaurant first, bar second. Like all good sports hangouts, it doubles as a museum, with Joe Montana’s No. 16 jersey and tons of other cool Niners, Sharks, Giants and other sports memorabilia on display.
Former San Francisco 49er’s Joe Montana sports paraphernalia on display inside of Double D’s Sports Grille in Los Gatos, Calif., on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
Some fans may have counted Double D’s out back when a fire ravaged the place. But Dean and Darin rebuilt the place and made a big comeback. And they’ve been upgrading ever since. The patio configured in the parking lot during the pandemic became permanent last year, with four TVs and tables to accommodate 45 customers. And just a few months ago, a gateway wall was constructed to signify this key location at Highway 9 and North Santa Cruz Avenue.
The screens: There are 35 TVs inside and out, including some whoppers — an 85-incher and several 75s. You’ll find the sound on for all 49ers games and other marquee sporting events, manager John Rahbar says.
The menu: Chef Roberto Moreno has been the chef since day one, and his recipes explain why the dining room does a brisk business, even on light sports days. Fan favorites include the Philly Cheesesteak made with ribeye ($19, with salad or fries). If you want a switch from game-day fare, try one of the pastas, such as the Cajun Penne Genovese ($24), or the Fish Tacos ($24), with blackened Chilean sea bass and mango pico de gallo. Freshly made soup and black bean chili ($7 cup, $12 bowl) are available daily; insiders know to look for Moreno’s creamy Swiss Onion Soup every few weeks. Another pleasant surprise: Cheesecake ($12) is baked in house. At the bar, you’ll find 10 craft brews on tap, along with the tequila-based hit, the Smokey Wildflower.
Details: 354 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; www.doubleds.com
KINGFISH PUB, Oakland
There’s a bit of trompe l’oeil in the restroom at Kingfish: A mural makes it appear like you’re looking over the formidable shoulders of the California Golden Bears about to steamroll the terrified Stanford Cardinals.
“This is definitely a Cal bar,” says a bartender, surrounded by yellowed game tickets and wooden benches salvaged from Memorial Stadium.
Oh, but it’s so much more: A 1920s-era Oakland institution that began life as a bait shop, the Kingfish is treasured for its ragged but heart-of-gold character. Inside the ancient walls, you’ll find raucous crowds of regulars and starry-eyed first-timers – maybe it’s bleary-eyed – imbibing stiff-as-iron palomas and beer-shot specials and enjoying whatever game is on TV.
The community loves the place so much that when condo development threatened in 2014, they begged the city for landmark status due to its “tree fort” architecture and interior decoration scheme of “sports memorabilia randomly stapled to the walls and ceiling.” When that didn’t work, the owner physically had the bar lifted onto a truck and moved across the street, where it exists today with the same-old weathered shuffleboard table and a new, pet-friendly patio that’s perfect for watching football.
The screens: There are 10 or so flat-screen TVs with nice speakers at the two bars inside and outside, with heat lamps on the patio during colder months.
The menu: You like popcorn? It’s free here from a machine that looks warped in from a 1950s movie theater. The hot, salty popcorn can be topped with a mysterious golden flavor oil. There are also snacks for sale, such as empanadas, pretzels, beef jerky and chips, which complement the bar’s taps of mostly California brews, its domestic-beer tallboys and powerful mixed drinks, such as a Painkiller or Fish Punch.
Details: Opens at 3 p.m. weekdays and noon on weekends at 5227 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; kingfishpub.com.
THE DRAFT SPORTS PUB AND GRILL, Pleasanton
Tucked into a quiet corner of Pleasanton’s Gateway Square Shopping Center, The Draft Sports Pub and Grill has a versatile vibe that lets visitors go where the game takes them. Its spacious interior leaves room for sizable groups of friends to watch the game over a birthday gathering or casual catch-up.
Co-owners Tom and Debbi Del Conte at The Draft Sports Pub in Pleasanton, Calif., on Tuesday, July 18, 2023. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
And if your team wins, and you’re eager to celebrate, the restaurant adjoins Mavericks, another bar owned by local couple Tom and Debbi Del Conte, where you’ll already be set up for a night of more raucous fun: The venue features live country music, line dancing lessons and a mechanical bull.
The screens: There are 19 TVs spread out throughout the bar, with easy access to several screens – and games – from every seat. The TVs are muted and a lively playlist adds to the friendly and casual ambience.
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The menu: The Draft offers both full meals and bar bites, from a spicy fried chicken sandwich ($15.50) or Philly cheesesteak ($16.60) to cheesy jalapeño fries ($9) and Buffalo tots ($9). There’s also a selection of flatbreads and tacos, plus Basque cheesecake, sopapillas or a brownie sundae for dessert. The Brussels sprouts ($8), seasoned with balsamic, are crisp and flavorful on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, and pair well with a citrusy and refreshing Cali Squeeze Blood Orange hefeweizen.
The bar also offers 12 beers on tap, including local brews from Livermore’s Altamont Beer Works, with a special that lets visitors upgrade their pints to a “Big Dog” 23-ounce pour for $4.
Details: Open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 1:30 a.m. on Friday; noon to 1:30 a.m. on Saturdays. 4825 Hopyard Road in Pleasanton; thedraftpleasanton.com.
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