The only thing that makes watching the game even better is cheering for your team in a crowd of other folks ready to go just as nuts as you are when Russell Wilson lobs the ball to Doug Baldwin in the end zone. Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to find rabid fans even though Thursday Night Football is inconveniently on a school night or you need a hideout where it’s okay to root for the Patriots (even though Seattle is decidedly hostile territory for Tom Brady acolytes), Seattle’s sports bars are full of traditions that make games even more exciting to watch — win or lose.
This huge spot is best known in town for its excellent bar food and drinks like a Black Barrel Manhattan (Jameson Black Barrel, sweet red vermouth, and Angostura bitters), but for fans of the Michigan Wolverines, Philadelphia Eagles, and many other teams, it’s known for its willingness to serve as a clubhouse. Stop in during a Michigan game and you’ll find that Wolverines abound — sometimes with merchandise for sale, always with cowbells.
Buckley’s Belltown, 2331 2nd Avenue, Seattle; buckleyspubs.com/belltown
Owl N’ Thistle
It takes some serious bravery to have an XLIX championship poster in a bar in Seattle: That’s the one where New England’s last second interception stole the game winning touchdown from the outstretched hands of Seattle’s receiver. But for the Boston owners of this Irish pub, there’s no hiding the bar’s Red Sox and Patriots fandom. Gather here for like-minded cheering and, of course, a bowl of proper New England “chowdah.”
Owl N’ Thistle, 808 Post Avenue, Seattle; owlnthistle.com
The Lodge Sports Grille
If a sports bar crossed with a log cabin, it might birth this Sodo spot, where the booze and brews mingle in drinks like the Black Top (Jameson Black Barrel with a pint of Shock Top) and the TVs are always tuned to sports. Even the menu will get you in the mega-fan mindset, with a selection of burgers named for Pac-12 teams. Good thing the Husky Big Dawg (caramelized onions, mushrooms, bacon, and white cheddar) sounds good, because nobody this side of the Cascades should be caught with a Wazzu burger.
The Lodge Sports Grille, 166 South King Steet, Seattle; thelodgesportsgrille.com
This huge German pub is often crowded with folks looking to play bocce ball or eat schnitzel, but it also shows every single NFL game, all season long — even opening at 9 a.m. on Sundays! Their “TV map” helps patrons find which game is on which television, but watch out for the crowds at when the Giants play: This bar hosts the local fan club’s watch parties. This season, the Tacoma location of the bar will also show co-owner James Weimann’s true colors: green and yellow. He’s from Wisconsin and the bar will host a pop-up version of their Denver bar, Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern, during Green Bay games.
Rhein Haus, 912 12th Avenue, Seattle; rheinhausseattle.com
Even though it’s purportedly a soccer bar (they open early, but for English Premier League, not NFL), Fado serves football fans well: The brunch menu sports $4 mimosas and an “apples and twine” cocktail with Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition, apple cardamom shrub, bitters, and ginger beer. The sprawling downtown spot gets packed during Seattle games but it also has a private room just for Pittsburgh fans — with their own “You’re in Steelers Country” banner.
Fado, 801 1st Avenue, Seattle; fadoirishpub.com/seattle
Whether you’re into the Dawgs (UW Huskies) or dogs (the amazing furry things that love us even when our team loses), LTD has the setup for game-day viewing. The canine-welcoming spot sports 12 TVs, an outdoor patio (with TVs), beer pong tables for halftime entertainment, and Build-Your-Own Mules, which work well with Jameson, lime juice, and ginger beer. It would all be perfect — if only they didn’t also host watch parties for the University of Oregon Ducks.
LTD, 309 N 36th Street, Seattle; ltdbarandgrill.com
Local Public Eatery
404 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA, localterryave.com
This Canadian chain set up shop in South Lake Union and immediately figured out how to join in on the fun of American football — and the fun of shot combos. An Ol’ Irish #&*k gets you a can of Olympia beer and an pour of Jameson. Game day brings a DJ into the house, rotating drink deals, and brunch specials.
Local Public Eater, 404 Terry Avenue North, Seattle; localterryave.com
Lower Queen Anne’s big party bar may be better known for karaoke night than as a sports bar, but come football season, the screens are on and the drink specials fly — especially when it’s a Nebraska Cornhuskers game. Huskers fans get special treatment at Ozzie’s, with a private party area and dedicated bartender, halftime raffle, and food-and-drink discounts to go along with the best part: touchdown shots for everyone!
Ozzie’s, 105 West Mercer Street, Seattle; ozziesinseattle.com
Wake up and smell the Jameson Irish Coffee on the game-day brunch menu, where it hangs out with plenty of nachos, wings, and sliders. This slim space is designed for sports fans, with tons of televisions, early breakfast on game days, and live DJs during Seahawks games (timeouts and halftime). There’s also a party bus that takes fans to and from home games and an all-night happy hour for Monday Night Football — so yeah, we’ll take another $6.50 Jameson.
Ballard Loft, 5105 Ballard Avenue NW, Seattle; ballardloft.com
Plenty of sports bars show off with team pennants and action photos, but this stadium-adjacent spot takes the theme high-class sporting trophies, lockers, and customized merchandise. Inside, the same “classic sports bar, but nicer” vibe continues, with game-day brunch featuring chicken wings with black garlic ranch and loaded fries with al pastor meat, and a separate Seahawks brunch with a Bowl of Shame (potatoes, salsa verde carnitas, beans, egg, and avocado).
Quality Athletics, 121 South King Street, Seattle; qualityathletics.com