We’ve said it before but that doesn’t make it any less true: If you want to be the top dog, learn from and emulate the best. Sometimes that entails studying a legend. Other times that means learning from award winners and industry icons. And there are times when taking a long, hard look at the innovators and disrupters is your best strategy.
In each of those situations you’re recognizing who the visionaries are and realizing that what they’re doing sets them apart from their peers. To inspire you to become the best sports bar operator you can be we’ve gathered a list comprised of a legend, an icon, an upstart, and the most recent winner of the Nightclub & Bar Award for Best Sports Bar. We hope they motivate you to step up your game, pull yourself up to the top, and push your staff to become true rock star employees.
Legends, Long Beach
Opened in 1979 by former LA Rams offensive lineman Dennis Harrah, Legends bills itself as “the first modern sports bar in America.” The fact they are the first sports bar to adopt satellite tech in order to broadcast live sports events from all over the globe certainly backs up that claim. Legends has one of the largest private sports memorabilia collections in the US, including an autographed pair of Shaq’s size 23 shoes, signed Mohamed Ali boxing gloves, more than 100 autographed baseballs…and an Indy car hanging from the ceiling driven by Bobby Rahal. The original Long Beach location also has a local Wall of Fame that features local athletes who went on to play professional sports. Legends proudly proclaims that they represent every major sport, and that certainly seems to be true. Add to that their dedication to always using the very best AV equipment and having the largest HD projector in the US and you can see why they’re a true, well, legend in the sports bar world.
The 2016 Nightclub & Bar Champ
Lagasse’s Stadium, Las Vegas
The “stadium” in Lagasse’s Stadium is no exaggeration: this two-level sports bar is 24,000 square feet. Lagasse’s took home the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Award for Best Sports bar, and it’s no surprise why. Departing from the “norm,” the Stadium rocks a sleek, sharp, modern design, over 100 TVs, a main TV measuring 9 feet by 16 feet, billiard tables, luxury boxes, and an outdoor patio that overlooks the famed Las Vegas Strip. Lagasse’s Stadium also features hearTV, the audio-streaming solution that allows any user to listen to their favorite game via their smartphone.
Blake Street Tavern, Denver
The mission of Blake Street Tavern, one of the best sports bars in the country, is to simply provide “the ultimate game watch atmosphere.” No big deal, they just want to be the absolute best in the business. Blake Street Tavern boasts an 18,000 square-foot layout that spans 4 separate areas and three bars, and features 60 HDTVs, award-winning food, a killer craft beer selection, cornhole boards, darts, Skee-Ball lanes, and so much more. Solidifying BST’s reputation as one of the top (if not the top) sports bars in Denver, the venue is also home to over a dozen alumni watch groups. BST is also an IndiCard partner, which means hospitality workers enjoy special discounts.
Century Bar, Portland
A good upstart upsets the status quo, circumvents expectations, and offers something different yet familiar. Century in Portland ticks all of those boxes. It’s normal to raise your eyebrow skeptically when told someone has reimagined the usual but guests who visit Century are in good hands. Lower those brows – the minds behind this reinvented sports bar concept also brought Portland The Bye and Bye, Sweet Hereafter, Dig-a-Pony, Jackknife and Victoria. Guests can enjoy Century’s fire pit on the outdoor patio, and garage doors open to the front bar, which is backlit and serves tequila-centric cocktails and stadium-inspired food. The venue has two-tiered stadium-style seating, retractable screens for Ducks, Blazers and Timbers games, and a second-floor space that can be reserved for private game viewing and other occasions. When there isn’t a game to watch, Century airs classic cult movies. At night, there’s a dance floor. The rooftop deck just may be the jewel in Century’s crown, offering stunning views of downtown Portland and a great space to relax and socialize.
As Century describes themselves so succinctly, “Stadium seating. Rooftop deck. Game on.”