​The Best Not-Quite-Sports Bars in NYC for Watching Sunday's Game

ICYMI, there's a big game/national ritual in the New York City area this Sunday. It's likely you're without tickets. There are plenty of down-and-dirty bars where you can swig watery beer and divide your attention among oddly angled big-screen TVs (assuming you've made the great call to skip the 40-person party held at a sweaty apartment with seating for three). Would it kill you to treat yourself to a more refined venue?

Maybe a place where you wouldn't feel like you would get your ass kicked for ordering a mid-level scotch? A place with a menu that extends beyond the choice between fries and cheese fries? Maybe even a place in which civilized conversation is possible and no one is wearing face paint? A place such as:

The 40/40 Club

I know, I know, it's the goddamn 40/40 club and this is not 2006. And OK, fine, Jay Z's lounges are sports bars with big-screen TVs. But these are the biggest-screen TVs! If you want to embrace the spirit of American excess like Kenny Powers would, I can't think of a better place than the 40/40 club (and if you can, you're better than me — at everything). Call the arena formerly owned by Jay Z right this minute and tell them you need two VIP rooms — one for spillover. I suppose you could do the same in Atlantic City, but a club named after a baseball term inside a basketball arena does seem like the perfect spot for a cooler-than-thou football fan. You'll have so much fun shooting pool and poring over framed memorabilia, you'll hardly mind the halftime performance.

Grand Havana Room

If you're looking to smoke a fine cigar or get into a screaming match with a particularly cranky celebrity over a blown fumble call, look no further than this Fifth Avenue smoker's haven. The Reverend Al Sharpton is often around as well, should you place a foolish bet and find yourself in need of a spiritual guide and/or prayer coach. No matter how stressed the score has you, the oaky surroundings, gorgeous views, and gourmet dishes ought to soothe your nerves. Just don't lose your bearings in all that tobacco haze; you might end up glad-handing with a swoop-haired individual who occasionally comes by. If that happens, take a long pull and cough it directly into his face — trust me, it's an alpha-male thing.

Legends

This triple-decker Irish pub has only been around for a few years, and it certainly caters to the spectator of athletic pursuits, yet it has tablecloths, almost as if a well-dressed mafia don might walk in someday. The bar is 60 feet long (for minimal crowding), and friendly expats have taken a shine to the watering hole as well, which translates to lots of polite people willing to hear your take on Richard Sherman.

The Standard

Forget about those swanky hotel lobby and rooftop bars, Top of the Standard included: I'm talking about booking a private room. For two days. That, plus an all-inclusive party for 10 guests, is the unbeatable package the boutique hotel is offering. What will you do on the other day? I have no clue. Prepare. Recover. Point is, whatever weird stuff you need to do to get your mind right for turbocharged spectacle, you can get it done here. Only the tourists walking on the High Line in the middle of winter will see you.

Your Own Home

Should you decide that your couch is the only appropriate vantage point for this matchup, you may as well invite some people over — just not that one fan who's going to start throwing things if his or her team misses a field goal. Ditch the traditional snacks, which will have you feeling sick by halftime; have your local butcher help you plan charcuterie plates. Or perhaps, if you're a human being with taste buds, you like dips. It's just a matter of which dip to make — here's a good place to start. For drinks, microbrewed lagers are preferable to watery alternatives, not least because you can claim to taste complex, nutty undertones.

Before anyone arrives, treat your soon-to-be-pummeled brain to classical music and spend some time lounging naked on the living room furniture: your guests will really appreciate that "pre-warmed" feel.

And there you have it. Just because you live in or close to New York and don't have tickets to the game doesn't mean you can't have a good time. Plus, it's going to be so cold in the stands. Who wants that?

Image by Michael Erazo-Kase

Miles Klee is a reporter for The Daily Dot and author of the novel Ivyland, a finalist in the 2013 Tournament of Books. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Lapham's Quarterly, BlackBook, The Awl, Salon, The Village Voice, The New York Observer and elsewhere.

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