By Randy Yagi
The beginning of the 2017 NFL season is just a few days away and although the 49ers no longer play in San Francisco, there will be plenty of interest in seeing how the team does with a totally revamped lineup and a new management team. But San Francisco doesn’t just have 49er fans living in the City by the Bay. Indeed, there are sports fans living locally or visiting the city who follow a different football team and even some San Francisco bars are widely known to root for teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers at Giordano Brothers and the New York Giants at Aces. Whatever the NFL team of choice there may be, there are plenty of phenomenal sports bars to watch any or all the NFL games, including the playoffs and Super Bowl LII. While it’s clearly up for debate among local sports fans, here are just five of the best football bars in San Francisco.
770 Stanyan St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Just footsteps from the original stadium of the San Francisco 49ers, Kezar Pub has long been a favorite place to go for football fans. Also a hot spot to watch other sporting events like professional soccer and rugby, this popular Irish pub in the Cole Valley neighborhood just south of Haight Street has a history that back to the days when the 49ers played at Kezar Stadium and members of the team would routinely stop by after home games. Acclaimed for its vast collection of 49ers memorabilia including some rare game day programs from the 1940s, Kezar Pub is owned by Irish immigrant Cyril Hackett and has more than 20 flat screen TVs and reportedly shows every NFL game throughout the season, as well as every single game from the NBA, MLB and the NHL. Visitors can choose from over 20 beers on tap or signature cocktails from the full bar, as well as order excellent pub food from the sizable menu, including Kezar Corn Dogs, burgers, salads and what may be the very best buffalo wings in the City.
365 11th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Opened just last year by founder Vladimir Cood, BuzzWorks has quickly risen among the ranks as one of the best sports bars in San Francisco. Located in the SoMa neighborhood and situated between two of the City’s most iconic spots for live music, this sports bar offers more than 150 beer selections, including 40 on tap and more than 20 TVs strategically placed over two levels of Beercade seating space, in addition to a suitably named Mammoth Video Wall, with multiple screens behind the bar. About halfway between Slim’s nightclub and the DNA Lounge on 11th Street, BuzzWorks also features two pool tables, six pinball machines, a multi-game videocade with more than 600 selections and a World Tour Soccer Foosball table that’s described as one of a few available on the West Coast. Among popular food items available from the bar’s menu are specials like “Zeke’s Crop Top” Nachos and “Brandon” BLT, appetizers, sausages and hot Panini. Additionally “Outside-Food” items are available from DNA Pizza nearby and includes buffalo wings, salads, wraps, signature sandwiches and thin crust pizzas.
Golden Gate Tap Room
449 Powell St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
With more than 20 TVs spread across two levels on 8,000 square feet and more than 100 types of beer available, Golden Gate Tap Room easily rises up among the best football bars in San Francisco. With a prime location in the heart of Union Square, this lively sports bar first opened in 2013 and also features an impressive selection of food items from the menu, including several appetizers, salads and tasty burgers and sandwiches. Customers have consistently raved about the bar’s enormous beer menu, with rotating taps from mostly local and regional breweries like 21st Amendment, Almanac and Speakeasy and a hefty list of IPAs, Belgian, pilsners and other favorite beers. Also available are a pool table, dartboard, shuffleboard, three SkeeBall machines, Air Hockey and other popular arcade games. Although there is plenty of seats available, reservations for group seating are suggested on game days and must be made at least 24 hours in advance with a credit card required.
San Francisco Athletic Club
1750 Divisadero St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Not to be confused with the namesake 19th century boxing academy although clearly inspired by it, the San Francisco Athletic Club has been a highly rated hangout ever since it first opened in the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood in 2014. Striving to live up to its self-described claim as “Unofficially the Greatest Sports Bar of All Time”, the SFAC as it’s typically called, has 28 HDTVs, a great food menu, a full bar with cocktails on tap, fine wines and nearly three dozen beer labels, with a dozen on tap, in addition to the popular Bathtub of Beer option, a small porcelain tub filled with ice and 24 bottles of beer served only at booths for groups of six or more and priced upon the choice of beer. Decorated throughout with vintage sports memorabilia, branded clothing and plenty of seating including bleacher benches, SFAC offers traditional bar fare like buffalo wings and other fine appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches but also offers brunch items like eggs benedict, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos and pancakes. Booth reservations are available online through Yelp Reservations.
Related: Best Irish Bars In The Bay Area
128 King St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
Located across from AT&T Park, Pete’s Tavern will likely be hosting more San Francisco Giants fans than football fans until the baseball season is over. However, this enormous sports bar is unquestionably one of the best in the City to watch a football game, with 22 flat screen TVs, outstanding bar bites, signature cocktails and a dozen craft beers on tap, including local favorites like Lagunitas IPA and Anchor Steam. What’s more, even if it gets a little crowded in the largest sports bar in San Francisco, Pete’s Tavern is conveniently connected to one of the sister businesses owned by Golden Bear Restaurants, Pedro’s Cantina, which has 22 more high definition TVs across 20,000 square feet of space, in addition to a superb menu boasting tasty street-style taqueria fare, like the San Francisco Burrito and Nachos del Pedro. Named the best sports bar in the City by the San Francisco Chronicle, Pete’s Tavern and Pedro’s Cantina are easily accessible via the San Francisco Muni light rail.