SI Vault
The 25 Best In America
Chris Ballard
February 07, 2005
So many bars, so little time before last call. And yet, undaunted, SI's (Pabst) blue-ribbon panel set about the task of determining the best sports bars in America. First, we convened a nationwide nominating committee of some 100 staffers, correspondents and certifiably reliable bar aficionados to begin the process. � Some suggested places were eliminated early because they failed to meet our definition of sports bar: a place that first and foremost caters to sports fans. Other joints made the first cut by virtue of how often, and how passionately, they were nominated. Then the panel went to work. Where any doubt existed, a panelist was dispatched to check the place out and render a decision. � Given the nature of the subject, this list surely won't go unchallenged, and if a worthy watering hole has somehow been overlooked it is a certainty that you, the sporting barflies of America, will let us know. And if your case is convincing? Well, maybe we'll have another round.
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February 07, 2005

The 25 Best In America

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[TV] 12 [DB] 10 [BT] 21

4 Major Goolsby's Milwaukee

A CITY institution since 1970 and once tabbed " Milwaukee's mother of all sports bars" by the hometown Journal Sentinel, Goolsby's is a major hangout for Bucks and Marquette hoop fans, thanks to its location a block away from the Bradley Center. Ticket holders crowd the place after games for the two-drafts-for-the-price-of-one deal. Like any place where athletes and booze mix, Major Goolsby's has had its memorable encounters, most notably in 1986, when Reggie Jackson, then with the Angels, scuffled with an autograph hound. (A disorderly conduct charge against Jackson was later dismissed.)

[TV] 20 [FB][B] [DB] 10 [BT] 30

5 McDuffy's Tempe, Ariz.

THE FOLKS at McDuffy's have an impressive claim to fame: Since opening in '88, the bar has shown every NFL and NCAA men's basketball tournament game. Given Tempe's population of relocated citizens, McDuffy's goes out of its way to secure NFL preseason games, soccer and college hockey--in particular the games of Minnesota and North Dakota, whose fans turn out regularly. Says manager Jeff Flaherty, "We are known as the bar that gets the most obscure games." McDuffy's also becomes a de facto home bar during the Fiesta Bowl: In '03 it set up a big screen in the parking lot for Ohio State fans which tripled the bar's capacity.

[TV] 84 [FB][B][H][BB] �[DB] 28 [BT] 28

6 Jack & Dan's Spokane

THIS BAR, located a couple of blocks from the Gonzaga campus, is best known for being co-owned by the father of Spokane's greatest sports hero, John Stockton. Jack Stockton, a part-owner since 1961, knows his son's fame is good for business, but he reminds people, "I was here before John ever bounced a ball in the pros." He famously keeps no pictures of his son at the bar, but there is one connection to his son's career. Jack's current partner (to whom the bar's namesake, Dan Crowley, sold his stake 14 years ago) is Jeff Condill, John's former backcourtmate at Gonzaga.

[TV] 14�[DB] 22 [BT] 30

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