Game Day Hot Spots
Most fans will agree that a sports gathering isn’t quite right without nibbles and a cold one. But if you’re not feeling like whipping up boozy concoctions or putting together a festive spread at home, consider taking your party to one of Newport Beach’s top game day spots. (Don’t worry. You’ll get a chance to show off your top-notch hosting skills when the Super Bowl comes around). So, without further ado, here are our favorite bars serving up satisfying grub, drinks and TVs tuned to the day’s games.
The TVs plastered on the walls might pull in the crowds during football season, but the beer offered at Helmsman’s is easily its biggest draw. Come here if you’re feeling particularly crafty, as this freshly minted brewpub prides itself on being the only craft brewery in the city. (Opt for one of Helmsman’s own brews like Newport Beach blonde or the Amber Tide). In keeping with the joint’s nautical theme, the kitchen churns out seafood offerings you shouldn’t miss. Like the SoCal fish tacos, which feature battered cod topped with lime slaw and chile crema. Or the IPA-battered fish and chips—another great way to kick off the game.
After decades of being in the business, this iconic Balboa peninsula mainstay is still rocking its warm, nostalgic charm, pool tables and a pizza-and-burger-forward menu. (Plus, the Stag meatballs, which are non-negotiable). There’s an impressive roster of libations, which includes wine, specialty cocktails and a solid list of beers on draft. Not to mention, the bar also pours close-to 125 whiskeys, if that’s more of your game-day imbibing style. Rooting fans often crowd this LA Rams watering hole, but there are plenty of TVs lining the walls so you’ll be fighting over those short rib sliders, but not vantage points.
If you’re looking to cheer on your team in a classic sports hangout, look no further than Cruisers, which bills itself as the go-to bar-next-door with “genuine midwestern vibes.” Outfitted with 30 big-screen TVs (including a 170-inch 4K projector so you don’t miss a beat of the game), this Balboa Village gem boasts four rooms with four different games unfolding so you don’t have to butt heads with other sports fans. The place also maintains a well-edited drinks list—think: spiced cucumber margaritas, mojitos and an assortment of mules, all of which can be served in a schooner if you ask—and even more notably, Chicago-style deep-dish pizza that’ll keep you there from kick-off to the last play.
Ever since it opened its doors back in 1933, the Village Inn has been a siren song for locals looking for good food, live music and a grand ol’ time. So, it’s no wonder that it makes for a prime gathering spot during football season. The menu offers traditional game-day bites like wings, nachos and burgers, but also elevated fare like toasted bruschetta, blackened salmon sandwich and spicy Korean pork tacos. And of course, there’s a full bar slinging excellent cocktails (an espresso martini, a blackberry and blueberry mojito, and a VI bloody Mary, to name a few) you’ll want to start and end your meals with.