BEST PLACES TO CATCH THE GAME
by Nick D'Arienzo
Jan 30, 2009 | 9002 views | 0 0 comments | 72 72 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Well, sports fans, you may recall that a couple of weeks ago, here at “BEST OF THE BEST” we took a look at some of your favorite sports bars, aka “BEST PLACES TO CATCH THE GAME.” And now, back by popular demand, here you again, the highly self-explanatory “BEST PLACES TO CATCH THE GAME - PART TWO”! Enjoy...

Glendale

YER MAN’S IRISH PUB

70-26 88th Street

(718) 894-4442

YER MAN’S may be just about the friendliest, most generous service you’re going to find in these parts. Owner Jimmy O’Reilly has done a fantastic job of resuscitating the ample space at 88th Street that once was Cooper’s Ale House, and if you poke around the place, you’ll immediately get ideas about different groups of your friends you’re going to want to bring back next time: like the game you’ll want to watch on the huge wall-size flat screens, or maybe that birthday party you’d like to plan once you see the layout of their private back room. The food is surprisingly good here, and it’s recommended you try either the Chicken Fingers or the Chicken Nuggets with Mild, Hot or Insanity sauce. (My advice – go for the Insanity.) And if yer man enough, there’s even a special stash of Beyond Insanity that only the bravest dare sample. Also of note, the Yer Man’s Burger, a combination of Irish Bacon, Mozzarella Cheese, and BBQ sauce on the side. So whether it’s Karaoke Night on Tuesdays, Airline Night on Wednesdays, or just about any game or big event (oh, like the Super Bowl, hint hint!), get over to YER MAN’S, and I guarantee it won’t be the last time you do!

Bayside

THE FIRST EDITION

41-08 Bell Boulevard

(718) 428-8522

A good sports bar has a lot of TV’s – I think that’s kind of a given, wouldn’t you say? But the Ritacco Family have long been of the opinion that a great sports bar ought to have a TV for just about every single patron. Folks, FIRST EDITION is, in fact, that great sports bar, and the perfect place to watch any kind of big event. Even up on the second floor, for example, they’ve elevated the tables in the center of the dining area so as to maximize your viewing pleasure. Count on a fun and loyal crowd here, and a rotating variety of drink specials, the perfect ingredients to make FIRST EDITION your FIRST stop for the Super Bowl, March Madness, even just a weeknight baseball game. (Not to mention the fact that it couldn’t be more conveniently located, what with it being just a hop skip and a jump up the steps from the Bayside LIRR station, for those patrons whom we hereby politely encourage to drink and not drive.)

Maspeth

CONNOLLY’S CORNER

71-15 Grand Avenue

(718) 565-7383

You don’t have to be Irish to love CONNOLLY’S CORNER, but it certainly helps! Part restaurant, part bar, part catering hall, part social club, CONNOLLY’S is blessed by a sense of community that definitely makes it one of Grand Avenue’s crown jewels. Their burgers are among the best in town – rivaling even Donovan’s in Woodside; their ribs are even better; and their creme-de-la-crème dessert, The Ultimate Brownie, has just got to be tasted to be believed. (By the way, though, that Bread Pudding is pretty darn good, too!) And to top it all off, excuse the expression, barkeeps at CONNOLLY’S are adept at some of the finest pours of Guinness you’re ever going to witness. Which is always a good thing.

Jamaica

SLY FOX INN

172-43 Union Turnpike

(718) 969-8169

Don’t let the name “SLY FOX INN” mislead you, this place is the furthest thing from a dive bar you’re going to find in this area. Just a stone’s throw from St. John’s University, it’s thus particularly appropriate for any pre-game or post-game Johnnies festivities you might have in mind, something alumni figured out long ago. And whether it’s just a drink you’re grabbing at their rather grand bar in the center of the place, or dropping in for a hearty dinner within their cozy and inviting booths along the wall, one of the things that makes this place a real stand out with its loyal patrons is its friendly, downright affable service. (And “knowledgeable” service, too, we might add – so don’t get yourself caught in a sports trivia contest or anything, consider yourself officially warned!)

Kew Gardens

AUSTIN’S ALE HOUSE

82-70 Austin Street

(718) 849-3939

Although a bit unassuming from the street, entering AUSTIN’S ALE HOUSE is like entering another world – a world far more spacious than you’d previously imagine. While the restaurant usually boasts specials for all its signature events, such as their annual Super Bowl Party, it’s also perhaps best known for being one of the truly perfect places to watch the ponies. (And is, consequently, an OTB-outfitted establishment.) But what we kind of love about AUSTIN’S ALE HOUSE is how it’s really two distinct restaurants in one, depending upon your mood. Feeling like a great steak dinner – T-Bone, Porterhouse, Pan Blackened Shell Steak? To your right as you enter, and you’ll be impressed by how reasonable the prices are here, and the service fantastic. Or maybe a pint or two with the boys is more your style this evening? Well, turn left as you enter, and guess what – you’ve got one of the best beer-on-tap menus in Queens right here: Coney Island Lager, Harpoon Winter Warmer, Lindenman Framboise, and many more! Which makes perfect sense, right? After all, it is an Ale House!

Astoria

McCANN’S

36-15 Ditmars Boulevard

(718) 278-2621

Patrons of this Ditmars Boulevard staple absolutely adore the place, and with good reason. Owner Paul Fogarty’s instilled the pub with such a sense of energy and colorful vibrancy that even strangers who come upon it feel like they‘ve stumbled upon a club they want to join somehow. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if people moved to the neighborhood specifically to be near McCann’s! That sensibility is exemplified by the number of special promotions the restaurant does – available in fliers displayed just outside the doors – as well as the numerous excursions the restaurant sponsors to destinations like Atlantic City, or even sky-diving or white-water rafting. And by the way, if you think Super Bowl Sunday is fun here, wait till you see it on St. Paddy’s! Make just one trip here, folks, and I guarantee it won’t be your last.

Elmhurst

BOCA JUNIOR’S

81-08 Queens Boulevard

(718) 429-2077

Football fans in this country think they’re the best fans in the world, but when it comes to the truly international sport of futbol aka soccer – sorry to say, folks, but here in America we don’t know nothing! That’s why it’s so great to have such a fantastic establishment like BOCA JUNIOR’s so close at hand. Bathed in the blue and yellow that are the prized team colors of the Argentinean soccer club from whence the restaurant takes its name, BOCA JUNIOR’S definitely has a fun atmosphere the moment you walk in. (All the waiters are sporting soccer jerseys!) And no matter where you decide to sit in the restaurant’s expansive main dining room, you’re always going to have a good view of their flat screens. But let’s not kid ourselves – the reason folks love this establishment so much around here? Because Chef Edgar Salazar’s food is absolutely fantastic. Regulars rave about the steak here all the time – the Skirt Steak, the Shell Steak, the Churrasco. Our advice? Opt for the Parrillada para dos, their mixed grill for two. And make sure you save room for dessert, please – because their Panqueque con dulce de leche is the kind of confection that will always keep you coming back for more. (Want to really get your appetite in gear – check out their terrific website, www.BocaJuniorsRestaurant.com and see if their menu pages don’t get you salivating right then and there!)

Forest Hills

COBBLESTONES

117-18 Queens Boulevard

(718) 263-9754

The real thing about COBBLESTONES is how welcoming it is. Whether you’re a regular, or a casual fan off the street, there is nowhere near the xenophobia or clubbishness that permeates a lot of sports bars. Which is essentially the point really, because COBBLESTONES is more than just a sports bar. For one thing, it’s really “well-appointed” as they say, which is just a fancy way of saying that it’s pretty darn nicely decorated. Especially in the back, where I would venture to say you’d be equally at ease sweet-talking your way through a cozy, romantic dinner. Now, you name me any other sports bar where you can do that! COBBLESTONES has got DirecTV, which enables you to watch three football games at once on any given Sunday (except, of course, on Super Bowl Sunday, when there’s just the one, you know). What owner/host Pete Massaro probably ought to be most proud of, however, is that the food at COBBLESTONES is outstanding, and relatively inexpensive. If I might recommend to you two items in particular – their ribs, tender and moist as they slide right off the bone; and their signature “Cobblestones,” one of their Cobbletizers that – well, to describe it as a fried cheese ball would be to do it a tremendous injustice, and would be the understatement of all time. (By the way, folks, Massaro’s also got a second COBBLESTONES establishment in Jackson Heights, just off Ditmars Boulevard, 79-18 21st Avenue, to be exact.)

Maspeth

O’NEILL’S

64-21 53rd Drive

(718) 672-9696

First and foremost, O’NEILL’S is absolutely one of the best places to catch a game because if you’ve never been here before – the only place you’re going to see more televisions is in a P.C. RICHARD showroom! But there’s also a saying in sports, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s... well, it’s how good was the company?” And there may be no place better to share the joys of triumph, or to wallow in the company that misery tends to love. So whether you’re hoisting a few in celebration, or drowning your sorrows until someone tells you to stop, O’NEILL’S is most definitely the place to be. They serve some of the best comfort food around here – pizza, wings, burgers, steaks – and what’s more, while we still have just a wee bit o’ tolerable weather left, why not avail yourself of their newly renovated and expanded outdoor deck area. Because you know what – they’ve got TV’s out there, too!

Middle Village

DANNY BOY’S

64-55 Dry Harbor Road

(718) 894-3488

You know a place has got to be good if it’s the epicenter of more Sunday morning activity than even your local parish. Busloads of Meadowlands-bound football fans use DANNY BOY’S as their meeting place every other Sunday. Yep, this is the Middle Village mecca for Giants bus travel in the area, and Gene Kenny’s been leading his band of Big Blue die-hards for nigh on twenty years at this point. The fact that they’re the defending Super Bowl champs – well, that’s just icing on the cake. So whether it’s football or any other sport for that matter, DANNY BOY’S has got the perfect atmosphere for both a lazy Sunday afternoon in front of the telly or a high-energy weeknight after work with the guys, catching up on the latest hockey or hoops. And while the bar’s located right up front, there’s also quite a restaurant in the back, serving primarily Irish fare, but also some of the best seafood, steak, burgers, and the like in the area.

Williamsburg

TEDDY’S BAR & GRILL

96 Berry Street

(718) 384-9787

The architecture of TEDDY’S is classic old-world Brooklyn, all the way down to the sign advertising some long-lost draught known as Peter Doelger’s Extra Beer. And what it may lack in abundance of television screens, it certainly makes up for in both exuberance of fans and in overall ambience. Not only that, but long before WillyB became oh-so-trendy, TEDDY’S has been serving some of the consistently best food going – from their top-notch burgers to their incredibly popular Hot Wings, among others. (And don’t forget to save room for dessert, people, because once you catch a glimpse of TEDDY’S famous Apple Crisp going by, with its massive dollops of ice cream on top, you’re just going to have to order one for yourself.)

Forest Hills

DIRTY PIERRE’S

12 Station Square

(718) 830-9698

Okay, so granted – there’s only a couple of TV’s in here, but what you get at DIRTY PIERRE’S is the intimacy of a friendly little club, or a house party even, and especially on Sundays. Yes, especially on Sundays, because Jets and Giants games at DIRTY PIERRE’S are special events on a par with few other establishments in the neighborhood. For one thing, Home Made Sangria and other Bar Specials flow freely all day - $3 Buds or Bud Lights, for example. But more importantly, it’s their free buffet that’s the big draw – particularly to those in the know who’ve long been aware of the venue’s reputation for more than a decade of top-notch comfort food. You’ll find free Hot Dogs and Wings here on Sundays, sure – but also Pasta Salad, an assortment of egg dishes, a variety of casseroles, etc., etc., all rotated from week to week just to keep their patrons guessing. Look, we’ve tried to tell you before, people – you may find other area bars with drink specials during game-time, half-time, or whatever, but trust us, you’re not going to find food this good at any of them!

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