Why Food Matters in a Sports Bar
What’s the quickest way to a sports lover’s heart? The UK’s best sports bars have incorporated a mouth watering selection of food into the beer & football equation.
When it comes to creating the perfect sports bar it’s always worth bearing in mind the following mantra: three is the magic number.
Most bars come up to scratch on two sides of this triangle — the beer and sport — but some neglect the third component: food. In the first of an ongoing series, we’ve cast our eyes across the globe to see what some of our Continental cousins and American friends are rustling up as an accompaniment to their drinks and football.
Think of it as food for thought (sorry, but we just couldn’t help ourselves).
Propelled by its victorious national side, the success of the Bundesliga, and Champions League winning Bayern Munich, Germany continue to ride the crest of a very successful wave.
It’s not only the action on the field that is the envy of the footballing world though. In the bars the atmosphere is second-to-none, and it’s not just the staggering choice of beer on offer that is responsible. The food — in particular the sausages, lots and lots of sausages — complements the beer and sporting action perfectly.
Here are two cracking examples:
Beer, football and sausages sounds a simple marriage. Because when done well it really is as Die Berliner Republik demonstrates. A lively bar, situated next to the River Spree, it’s a great place to watch football. But the reason it stands out is its currywurst. That’s “curried sausages” to you and me.
Now a symbol of German culture, the fast food staple was born after World War II when Berliners acquired curry powder and tomato ketchup from British soldiers, mixed it together and, hey presto, poured it over their sausages.
Die Berliner Republik is renowned for the quality of its currywurst. Simple, effective and always a pleasure. A bit like watching Germany in fact. Click here for currywurst (and more) inspiration.
Located in Berlin’s trendy Kreuzberg area, Vogt’s Bier Express is a traditional neighbourhood café-cum-bar that is devoted to the twin pursuits of football and beer. To get around the third part of food, patrons are encouraged to nip next door to Curry 36, one of the city’s most celebrated currywurst stalls.
If America is home to the idea of the sports bar, then New York is its spiritual centre. There are hundreds dedicated to the noble pastime of watching the best sports from around the world while drinking beer and chowing down on a burger or hot dog. Here are two of the best…
The Football Factory is a group of football/soccer fans in New York dedicated to the beautiful game. These keen sports fans have made Legends their home. With 50 TVs spread over three floors, there’s always some top drawer game to watch. It’s the Tex-Mex inspired food that is most impressive: wings, potato skins, nachos, quesadillas, fajitas, sliders and even breakfast burritos are all incredibly popular.
Mulholland’s is Brooklyn’s best sports bar and its menu will have you salivating instantly. Sirloin Burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches and that ubiquitous breakfast burrito are all magical additions to some serious football-watching and ale-sipping. Mulholland’s is famous in the borough for their award-winning Buffalo chicken wings. Click here for some tasty menu inspiration.
Ask anyone to name a food related to Barcelona and they’ll doubtless reply ‘tapas’. In a city that prides itself on national spirit, its sports bars — the authentic Catalan ones — have adopted a similar tactic. Alongside the legion of local beers and Lionel Messi on the screen, tapas (the bite-sized snacks) predominate as the foodstuff of choice.
There are a legion of American and Irish-style sports bars in Barcelona, but if you want to be surrounded by fellow Barça fanatics – blaugrana – La Taverna de Barcelona is an excellent choice. Located just off Plaça de Catalunya, not far from Las Ramblas, it’s a genuine Catalan experience. Its mouth-watering selection of tapas is accompanied by other renowned Mediterranean fare.
As you can see, it doesn’t have to be Michelin-starred big plate/small portion food we’re talking about. Keeping it simple is key. Even if you only offer one dish, just make sure it’s tasty and the ideal accompaniment to a tipple and sport.