Apps, Beer, Sports
Top 5 ‘Sports Bars’ in Downtown Fargo-Moorhead
BY MARTIN SCHLEGEL
It’s the best time of the year.
The baseball season is a little more than a week away. High schools are finishing up their respective state title runs. College hockey and basketball are each in the middle of their tournaments.
For any sports fan, this time of year lends itself to great sports consumption.
With that in mind, downtown Fargo and Moorhead have a handful of sports bars to attend to watch sports.
This top 5 list should help a sports fan decide where to view a game.
Each establishment in the list must be labeled sports bar in a google search, and each one was rated based on its beer and food, atmosphere, and employee service.
Tailgators Sports Cafe
Tailgators sits on the edge of downtown Fargo, which might appeal to those looking for a place away from busy blocks of Broadway.
Half of a car protrudes out of the building near the entrance. Continuing with the car theme, Tailgators features a Nascar theme. It also has a dive bar feel to it, along with an older, sports history mixed in.
For those looking to play games, “Big Buck Hunter,” among others, waits patiently off to the side of the building.
Upon walking in, Michelle McCosh, University of Minnesota Human Resources major, felt the dive bar theme saying, “I’m okay with dive bars because that’s the kind of bars I went to with my parents near my cabin.”
She expected to see some recent sports memorabilia or even anything sports-related within the last couple years but did not.
The 1980s and ‘90s sports posters are a break from the overdone current, hip, trendy sports bar themes.
- Service: 8/10. Tailgators had “quick service and a very friendly staff,” McCosh said.
- Look of the place: 6/10. “I had to turn my head to see the TV I wanted to watch, which isn’t a big deal,” McCosh said. “However, I thought they could benefit from adding a few more TVs. Additionally, there weren’t any booths that I could see. It’s just personal preference, but I like sitting in booths.”
- Food and Beer Selection: 5/10. “The menu had plenty of burgers and apps to choose from, which bodes well for any bar. When it came to the beer selection, “I couldn’t find a list of beer on tap,” McCosh said.
- Overall: 6.5/10. “The beer was cheap, which is definitely what you want,” McCosh said. “Everything was priced pretty low. Overall, it seemed like a place where someone knows what they drink and eat and doesn’t try anything new.”
The happy hour specials on beer, as well as the laid-back atmosphere, make Tailgators a place to wind down from a long work week with friends. McCosh said, “the food, service, and cheap beer would make going with a bigger group of friends (5-10), fun.”
She believes another sports bar would be better suited for a date night or going somewhere with no more than a couple of friends.
Sidestreet Grille & Pub
Located a block away from the Pickled Parrot, Sidestreet has become much easier to spot after relocation.
Sidestreet offers patrons the chance to play pool and poker while watching a game; a stark difference from Tailgators.
“I thought the atmosphere was pretty good,” Trent Bellingham NDSU engineering major said. “It seemed lively with people playing pool. If time allowed, I would have liked to play a game.”
Along with the pool and poker tables, there were huge TVs for every angle. Although not terribly big, there wasn’t a seat that didn’t have a clear view of a TV.
- Service: 8/10. When it came to the service, there wasn’t anything that was extraordinary. However, Bellingham said the staff was timely and responsive.
- Look of the Place: 7/10. “There were plenty of TVs, however, they had cartoons on,” Bellingham said. “Not something you expect in a sports bar. One TV had a hockey game on, but the rest didn’t have sports. I wouldn’t have expected to see ‘Bob’s Burgers.’”
- Food and Beer Selection: 6/10. “At least 20 beers were listed, so they definitely had enough for me to find one I liked,” Bellingham said. “The food selection was average, about what you’d expect for a sports bar. Same goes for the price. As far as taste, there was nothing to complain about.”
- Overall: 7/10. As he walks out of the building, Bellingham said, “I could see this place being really lively (during a local sporting event). Seems like a great place to hang out with friends after work.”
Gazing out the huge windows facing Fourth Street South, Bellingham said, “I like the style of the way it was built and the way it feels on the inside.”
He expanded by saying Sidestreet would be a regular “hang out spot with a buddy” after work if he lived closer to downtown or worked near downtown.
is there anywhere i can vote for the best bartender in fargo? because its drew from sports bar so
— larn (@lawnspeezy) January 16, 2017
For a taste of what the Sports Bar is like, check out what people had to say in Miller’s piece.
The overall rating given to Sports Bar in Miller’s feature was a 9/10. However, it’s worth noting that Sports Bar is the only establishment in the top 5 that doesn’t serve food.
No apps, no burgers.
In a pinch, Sports Bar offers frozen pizza. Yes, that’s right, frozen pizza.
Some might turn down a frozen pizza, however, it didn’t taste bad and only took 15 minutes to make.
As for the atmosphere, there is loud music blasting through the building. The TVs are properly tuned to a channel airing anything sports related.
Sports Bar even has a foosball table, a feature the other sports bars in this list don’t have.
The overall rating of Sports Bar, with the extra features taken into account, falls to 8/10.
OB Sports Zone
The tiny space the OB Sports Zone offers serves as an alternative sports bar option in the heart of downtown Fargo.
Sports Zone is attached to the rest of the Old Broadway and has its own distinct section of high top tables and TVs.
“It’s smaller (spacely) than any other sports bar I’ve gone to,” John Miller, MSUM communications studies major said.
- Service: 8/10. “I don’t usually go, but when I‘ve gone it’s been good,” Miller said.
- Look of the place: 8/10. “It’s not very big,” Miller said. “There’s a ton of TVs, so there always plenty of games going on.”
- Food and Beer selection: 7/10. “They have a really good wing deal,” Miller said. “The wing deal and the taste is really good. The deal is much like Buffalo Wild Wings.”
- Overall: 7.5/10. “The space isn’t anything to write home about,” Miller said. “That doesn’t make it a bad thing. Anyone can still enjoy themselves.”
Like Sports Bar, the OB Sports Zone is filled with mostly the college crowd. For those who don’t identify as such, neither the Sports Bar nor Sports Zone should be the first choice when picking a place to go.
“It gets to be pretty loud on Saturday nights,” Miller said.
He said the busiest nights are weekends when “everyone goes out for drinks and bar hopping.”
Someone who is looking for a place more laid back and relaxed than the OB Sports Zone should look elsewhere.
Buffalo Wild Wings
A well-established chain sports restaurant, BWWs is usually at the forefront of a person’s mind when it comes to picking a place to watch a game.
The BWWs in Moorhead is a hop, skip, and jump away from the heart of Moorhead. While it may not be located in downtown, it doesn’t stop people from filling the place.
During most visits, the majority of people there are high school kids and their fathers.
- Service: 7/10. “The service is usually good, however, on busy nights it can be expectedly slower,” Braedon Thompson, MSUM criminal justice major said.
- Look of the place: 5/10. “Average at best. Some BWWs have a better arrangement than the Moorhead location,” Thompson said.
- Food and Beer selection: 6/10. “You go there to eat wings,” Thompson said. “There are other items on the menu, but I have never ordered anything other than wings.”
- Overall: 6/10. “It’s a decent place but the service can sometimes be hit or miss,” Thompson said.
The BWWs in Moorhead is average at best. There is nothing that sets it apart from the other sports bars in the downtown area.
A warning to those who go; Pay-Per-View UFC events draw big crowds. For those looking to watch something other than UFC, consider going elsewhere. Unless of course, someone wants to watch an UFC event.
Overall the top 5 sports bars ranks as such.
- Sports Bar 8/10
- OB Sports Zone 7.5/10.
- Sidestreet Grille & Pub 7/10.
- Tailgators Sports Cafe 6.5/10.
- Buffalo Wild Wings 6/10.
Each bar has its own perk. Some perks will suit different types of sports fans, so choose wisely.