You could, of course, stay right on your couch with a bag of Funyuns and a cooler parked at your feet. But what fun is that, when you can meet friends, or make new ones, while cheering on your favorite team at a local sports friendly bar or restaurant? These are some of the most popular, and if you’re a newcomer, we’ve also suggested what to order.
740 Broadway, South Portland | 207-956-7333 | facebook.com/sopobarandgrill | $$$
The colossal space where J.P. Thorton’s used to be has been given an major facelift by new owners Peter Verrill (also of Outliers Eatery), and Tasha and Gary Hurtubise, with fresh paint, new lighting fixtures, local art and TVs – lots of them. The sports bar has 10, including one mini flat screen for every booth. The menu ranges from burgers and pub food to more sophisticated entrees. For game watching, fans rave about the Nachos Grande (housemade chips with black beans, pickled jalapenos, blackened tomato salsa, sour cream, and if you want to make it a meal — chicken or chili).
77 Free St., Portland | 207-699-4263 | bingasstadium.com | $$$
It’s all about the wings at Binga’s, whose Portland is just a stones throw from the Portland Civic Center (another Binga’s is on Route 1 in Yarmouth). It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside, it’s cavernous, and comfortable, with great views of the game from every seat. Private booths even have their own TVs. At halftime, head to the downstairs game room, equipped with pool tables and video games. Binga’s specializes in barbecue and its famous wings, available traditional style or smoked, with a choice of 30 + sauces.
270 Route 1, Falmouth | 207-781-4255 | theforesidetavern.com | $$$
It’s a cliche to say “there’s something for everyone,” but it’s true at Foreside Tavern, operated by the same owners as Grace restaurant in Portland. The bar scene is lively, with plenty of TVs for sports fans and the leather chairs in the adjacent Fireside Room are a cozy place to settle in with a drink on a chilly night. The Foreside Nachos lead the appetizer menu, and for good reason — they are huge and loaded with toppings, chili or grilled chicken is optional. The rest of the menu includes pub favorites, pasta, beef, duck and seafood dishes, as well as burgers and sandwiches. Many items are locally sourced.
33 Allen Ave. Portland | 207-878-9511 | brunosrestauranttavern.com | $$$
Italian food and sports go together … well … like spaghetti and meatballs. At least that’s true in the tavern at Bruno’s, where the homemade spinach cannelloni stuffed with chicken and topped with creamy tomato sauce also gets high marks. Fans also like the signature steak sandwich and the hand-cut fries. The restaurant is large, but don’t let the boxy, plain exterior mislead you: The atmosphere inside is a warm and friendly.
10 Cotton St, Portland | 207-774-6044 | rivalriesmaine.com | $$$
Thirty-two TVs and a central Portland location make this 13-year-old institution a popular place on game day. There is seating on two levels, and a few stools at the bar, and the decor is sleek and modern — more gastro pub than sports bar. The crowd is also more sophisticated than you might expect; the menu, however, sticks to tried-and-true casual favorites like burgers and pizza. Sweet Chili Chicken Wings or fingers are a signature snack; the sweet-spicy sauce, a Rivalries hallmark, also stars in a cheesy chicken dip and a chicken wrap.
The approximate cost of two breakfast entrees (not including drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up