Metreon (credit: Randy Yagi)
With more than a million people expected to partake in Super Bowl 50 events in San Francisco, where would the best bars be to watch the Big Game? Even though the game will take place more than 40 miles away, many of the Bay Area’s biggest parties will be in San Francisco, as most every bar will be packed full to the hilt with sports fans, whether their team is playing or not. While the best way to grab a seat to watch the biggest sporting event of the year is to arrive early, it isn’t always practical for some fans, even if empty streets and closed businesses make it seem like it’s a major holiday. Although local sports have varying opinions of where to go, here are five of the best bars to watch Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco.
175 4th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
It’s not certain if some of the dining tables at Jillian’s will be removed for Super Bowl 50. But it might be a gametime decision, especially if the expected overflow crowd will be on hand, given its prime location. Still, Jillian’s is said to have a maximum standing capacity of 1,600, making it one of the largest Super Bowl parties in the city. Located on the ground level within San Francisco’s Metron and just a few blocks from Super Bowl City on Market Street, Jillian’s SF offers a full bar and a large number of TVs for the game, including a Vegas-like 50-foot mega-screen. Jillian’s typically offers a dinner menu, although it’s quite likely something special will be cooked up for the Big Game.
770 Stanyan St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
A longtime favorite hangout for 49er fans, Kezar Pub is expected to draw a large crowd for Super Bowl Sunday. Located along the western border of the Haight-Ashbury district and across the street from the 49ers’ (and the Raiders’) original home stadium, the popular pub features a full bar, an extensive bar menu with a few Irish pub favorites and more than 20 TVs to get in on all the live action. There are also more than 20 beers on tap including local favorites like Anchor Steam and Lagunitas IPA, along with more than 15 bottled beer selections such as Dos Equis, Corona, Amstel Light and Becks. Although it’s the smallest of these five featured local sports bars, Kezar Pub has been consistently ranked at or near the top of the best sports bars in San Francisco for years.
128 King St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
It’s all but certain one of the largest crowds to watch Super Bowl 50 in a local sports bar will be at Pete’s Tavern. That’s because this popular spot directly across the street from AT&T Park is often described as the ultimate sports bar in San Francisco. With a capacity of about 1,000 sports fans, Pete’s features more than 20 TVs on two levels, a massive horseshoe bar, an outstanding food menu and a wide selection of beers, wine and cocktails. Right next door to Pete’s is Pedro’s Cantina, and under the same ownership, Pete’s Tavern hosts 22 HDTVs, authentic street-style taqueria fare and a 360-degree bar, offering a similar number of fine beers and wines as its neighbor, along with superb cocktails such as the El Diablo or the signature Pedro’s Margarita.
Players Sports Grill
Beach St. and The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94133
The locals might find Players Grill as an odd selection, especially since its located in the most touristy part of the city. However, this popular sports bar at Pier 39 probably has more TVs than any other local sports bar with 35 HDTVs. If that’s not enough of a reason watch the Super Bowl here, even for naysaying locals, it also has a lot more room to move about than many other hotspots, with 12,000 square feet and an excellent view of the bay. This could mean late arrivals may be able get in, whereas at smaller sports bars, it might mean standing outside while missing some or all of the NFL championship game. Players Sports Grill features the Lounge and Tiki Bar with 16 beers on tap and a far better food menu than many other local bars, sports or otherwise. For families with children looking for a good option to watch Super Bowl 50, Players is the only arcade and sports grill in San Francisco, with more than 85 arcade games.
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94107
For sports fans who can’t get close to the action at Levi’s Stadium, why not visit what many will say is the the next best thing? That would be Public House, located on the ground level of AT&T Park next to the main entrance and the beloved Willie Mays statue at, where else, Willie Mays Plaza. Featuring 26 TVs, including a 65-foot screen and one of the largest draft beer and cask selections in the city, Public House may also have the finest food menu amongst all sports bars. That’s because this fabulous gastropub is led by Traci Des Jardins, one of San Francisco’s most acclaimed chefs whose illustrious resume reveals two prestigious James Beard Awards, including the coveted Best Chef: Pacific. In addition to the 24 beers on tap, Public House offers a number of cocktails and wine selections and is expected to have a special food menu for Super Bowl 50.
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com