By Jordan Burchette
Baseball and drinking go together like ... pretty much any sporting event and drinking. Having a few beers at the stadium is great, but it can easily end up costing twice as much as the ticket. Plus, many stadiums stop selling beer long before the game ends. If you're looking to keep it going after a pleasant night (or day) of baseball, most ballparks are within throwing distance of several stadium bars. So we did exhaustive research and picked out more than 60 of the most kick-ass stadium bars in the majors:
As longstanding a tradition in Baltimore as fourth-place finishes, Pickles Pub is electric on game days and close to the left field gate at Camden Yards. How close? You'll almost certainly get there before you're overtaken by the drug-addled assailants chasing you!
Backup bar: For fans who place any emphasis at all on the food and drink they consume, Alewife offers a substantial upgrade on both, headlined by its duck-fat fries and encyclopedic beer list.
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Custom demands that you pay your respects to Fenway icon Cask and Flagon with at least one postgame drink. The insufferable homers at ESPN named it the Best Baseball Bar in America, but other than the grating accents, the Cask and Flagon doesn’t offer all that much that you haven’t seen, before unless you're a mole person. In which case, you're going to love Boston!
Backup bar: Operating in what was once a batting-practice room under Fenway Park’s outfield seats, Bleacher Bar lets you leave the game early and still watch the end in person. A giant window with a vista from centerfield gives patrons -- including those in the men's room, compliments of an eye-level urinal turret -- a live view of the action. A little gimmicky, yes, but worth checking out.
Parts of the South Side aren't as rough as they were in Ron Kittle's day, but it still ain't Wrigleyville. (Whether that's a good or a bad thing is up for debate.) But if you're willing to stray 10 blocks from U.S. Cellular Field, you'll find a mob of die-hard Sox bars. Schaller's Pump -- the oldest restaurant in Chicago -- and Shinnick's Pub are cheap, family-run former speakeasies that have been serving White Sox fans since the Black Sox scandal was still an open wound.
Backup Bar: Beer snobs will dig the biggest suds selection in Bridgeport at Mitchell's Tap.
While the Indians may not be championship material, the area around Progressive Field -- with its combination of behemoth drinknasiums and modest taverns -- wins a gold-medal in drunk friendliness. One of the best behemoths is The Thirsty Parrot, a Caribbean-themed bar & grill opposite the center field gate with an enormous outdoor patio that's suitable for catcalls, fruity shots, and the occasional ESPN remote broadcast.
Backup Bar: On the more modest end of the spectrum, The Clevelander offers all of the amenities of the Parrot with far less squawking.
Across the street from the gaping hole that was once Tiger Stadium -- sometimes it's hard to tell one gaping hole from another in downtown Detroit -- sits the bar that served it for 35 years and Comerica Park for the past 12. Nemo's is more than a mile from the Tigers' current digs, but it's still the city's most beloved game-day hang thanks to its rich history, tasty burgers and $3 shuttles to the stadium.
Backup Bar: And now for something completely different: Cheli's Chili Bar is modern and filthy with flat-screens, plus it offers a roof-deck view of Comerica Park from directly across the street.
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Astros fans have a lot to drink about, and the downtown area surrounding Minute Maid Park gives them plenty of places to do it. Home Plate Bar & Grill attracts big crowds thanks in part to the fact that it’s located a mere 200 feet from home plate. B.U.S. Bar, right next door, handles all spillover, both figurative and literal.
Backup bar: Half a mile, but several layers of grime, away, Lucky's Pub claims Houston's largest beer selection (we're slowly verifying independently), its biggest television (21 feet) and free shuttles to Minute Maid (for fatsos).
When Kauffman Stadium was built in 1973, it was apparently important to genius city planners that it be situated as far as possible from anything anyone might ever want to do besides watch baseball’s worst (George Brett-less) franchise of the last 43 years. So while Chappell’s Sports Bar and Museum is a 15-minute drive away, it does boast more memorabilia than most halls of fame, including the … Oakland A’s 1974 World Series trophy? (Yes, the A's were the Kansas City A's for 13 years, but still.)
Backup Bar:Charlie Hooper's sells nearly 200 beers and is the only bar brave enough to put the Royals on its web site.
First of all, if we have to type the word "Anaheim" one more time, we're going to lose our s#*%. Secondly, you can spend pre-game in Disneyland, two miles from the Big A, or at the OC Sports Grill, directly across the street. But the OC has much better daily specials, 65 televisions, 10 pool tables, and the lovely ladies pictured above. The downside? For as many puking kids as you’ll see outside the Teacups at Disneyland, you'll probably see just as many puking drunks at the OC.
Target Field still has that new-stadium smell since the Twins only just moved in two years ago. While a horde of bars there battle to determine go-to supremacy on game day, The Café continues to serve Twinkies fans as it has since before not only Target Field, but even the Metrodome existed. That makes it a Minneapolis institution.
Backup Bar: Conversely, Kieran's hasn't been around much longer than Target Field, but it's already cemented its place amongst fans who prefer patios and general paint-by-numbers pubbiness.
Stan's Sports Bar is a loud, crowded, charmless swill hole … and you absolutely have to go. Since the 1970s, this institution across the street from the old Yankee Stadium (and a block away from the new Yankee Stadium) has been a game-day mainstay, competing valiantly with the No. 4 subway train overhead -- it travels above-ground near Yankee Stadium -- in an endless battle to create the most noise pollution and unidentified floor fluids.
Backup bar: Slightly more subdued than Stan's, the Yankee Tavern has been family-owned since 1923, and has played host to the likes of Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, and Babe Ruth.
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Take a dash of Chernobyl, add a pinch of the Thunderdome, beat the hell out it with an ugly stick, and what do you have? Why, the Coliseum, of course! It has the most foul territory of any major league park. Yes, we mean on the playing field, but we also mean outside the stadium, where a vast dystopian hellscape offers nothing more for drinkers than the occasional puddle of antifreeze. Your closest beer comes with a pesto sidecar at Francesco's, a long-standing Italian restaurant with generous portions. But unfortunately, it’s two miles away.
Backup bar: Nearly twice as far, but thrice as festive, Drake's Barrel House is a brewery taproom offering 24 delicious beers. Pay no attention to the fact that they’re brewed behind a Walmart.
The area around Safeco Field is filthy. Yes, the sidewalks are littered with the viscera of fish -- there's a market nearby -- and hobos. But we mean it's filthy with options for pre- and postgame drinking, the most beloved of which is probably Triangle Pub. Often likened to a Northeastern pre-game experience, this historic former brothel in Pioneer Square is shaped like it sounds and serves inexpensive booze.
Backup bar: Right across the street from Safeco, Sluggers Sports Bar is a crowd-pleasing alternative that's big on game day atmosphere even if it's not very big.
Twenty years ago, the only place to get juiced near the spot where Tropicana Field stands was a Sunoco gas station. But then Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill opened in anticipation of the professional baseball team that eventually moved in across the street, and is now a two-floor, 12,000-square-foot, 70-HDTV-bescreened post-game stadium in and of itself.
Backup bar: Even though there was no local team to support until the late 1990s, Mastry's boasts more baseball history than most bars on this list, serving patrons like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle throughout springs dating back to the 1930s.
Everything's bigger in Texas! That's just terrific for the Lone Star State, but the downside is that the entirety of Rangers Ballpark is more like the size of a national park -- and so anything resembling an off-site bar starts a mile or more away. That said, we recommend bypassing the franchise flophouses of Lincoln Square in favor of the cheap drinks and honest vibe of Studer's, which is a 20-minute walk south of the stadium.
Backup bar: Don't feel like a walk? Corporate-sponsored stadium lounge to the rescue! The park has several, but the newest is the 9,000-foot Captain Morgan Club, home of the $26 Champion Dog, a hot dog that can feed three to four people. Oh, and our sources tell us they also serve rum.
It only opened in late 2010, but Real Sports Bar & Grill has already asserted itself as the preeminent sports drinking establishment in town. It's a 12-minute walk from the Rogers Centre, but the space is massive, the draft beers are numerous, and the television array rivals the Kennedy Space Center.
Backup bar: Those who love beer enough to pour it on their food will appreciate the brew-based drinks and dishes at Beerbistro.
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