WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – With football season upon us, and the kickoff of the NFL this weekend, I thought maybe we could take a break from your more traditional sit-down restaurants with head-turning menus and focus on some places to watch the big game (or drown your fantasy football sorrows.)
Of course, there are no shortage of watering holes with plentiful TVs spread out along the coast, and each town has its favorite place for gathering with friends and rooting on the home team. But here are a few of my favorite spots, be it local or chain.
Without further adieu, it’s time for kickoff, so let’s throw on our favorite jersey and run through some of the all-star players in the sports bar scene.
Best Local Sports Bar
Go here on just about any Saturday or Sunday and you may have trouble finding a spot to watch UNC or the Panthers. It’s the primetime spot for kicking back some cold ones while the boys bring home a victory. Lucky for you, you can also score a W with the food on offer here. The projector screen TV isn’t the only draw, the menu is a hall of fame cast of bar food classics. From big, breaded wings, drenched in a variety of tasty flavors, to giant sandwiches and burgers.
But no stop here is complete without an order of the “Great Balls of Fryer.” Imagine those Snoball snack cakes, if they were filled with Philly cheesesteak, breaded and then deep fried with a hefty bowl of queso dip.
It’s one of best dishes I’ve ever had at a sports bar and it’s one of the most satisfying appetizers in the city. Yes, you read that right. Hell’s Kitchen also has a full bar, along with your classic domestics and a selection of local drafts.
As for the atmosphere, there are TVs spread out, plenty of tables for smaller groups, and a long bar with standing room to accommodate the lone sports fan wanting to watch their favorite team. I highly recommend Hell’s Kitchen for just about any sports viewing occasion…and for good reason.
IF YOU GO: Hell’s Kitchen is located at 118 Princess St, Wilmington, NC 28401
Best Chain Sports Bar
The newest member of the Port City restaurant team, Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux boasts TVs in just about every corner of the building, with a glorious Cajun-inspired menu. I’ve been here more than a few times already, and it’s nearly impossible to have a bad seat…or food. I like to define this place as a really good restaurant, that just so happens to be a sports bar. A quick rundown of the menu and you’re sure to see some items that you won’t find at your neighborhood dive.
Gator bites, various Po’Boys, plus gumbo or etouffee.
But don’t shy away from something you haven’t tried before, it’s all cooked up to perfection. Even the more well known plates like a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich the size of a football or a offensive lineman size “Grown-Up Grilled Cheese,” it’s all so good.
Walk-On’s also has a full bar, with dozens of beers on draft and some other canned items that you might not find at most places (Carling’s, I’m looking at you).
As for the atmosphere, there are loads of places to sit inside, from a massive square bar, to various tables and booths for different sized groups. There is even a large outdoor space that’s great for those late evening or night games.
IF YOU GO: Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux is located at 3710 Oleander Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403
Other starters worth your attention:
Maybe not a full blown sports bar of sorts, but if you’re a fan of Philly teams, there is no better place to grace with your fandom. It’s even worth your time if you don’t feel like watching the Eagles or the Phillies. Plus the fan favorites on the menu like the often-acclaimed best chicken wings in town. the 109 Chestnut Chicken Sandwich or the Hot Roasted Pork Sandwich, will have you singing Copper Penny’s praises, even if your team loses.
A regional chain, but an exquisite sports bar nonetheless. TVs everywhere, including a stadium-like scoreboard of screens over the bar. There’s even a side room that can host private parties or gatherings for large groups getting together to cheer on their squad. Kickback’s gets bonus points for having a varied and affordable menu. I personally get the “Tavern Nachos,” a heaping plate of nachos, covered in a smattering of toppings that is far too much for two people to eat for right around $10.
Of course just about any Buffalo Wild Wings will treat you right, the various Slaintes in town are a good spot to watch the big game as well. Again, these are a few of my favorites, I’m sure this list will change greatly by next year (like my fantasy team after my first loss this weekend).
Enjoy the season ahead, and let me know if you have a favorite sports bar in your hometown ..and grab some pictures of the food they have to offer. I would love to share them!
Do you recommend a restaurant? Or know of a best kept secret that you want the rest of the Cape Fear to know about? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to feature your selection. Cheers!
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