Best Downtown San Diego Sports Bars

The NFL is back! Here are 12 perfect places to let loose for your favorite football team

Yes—hell, yes—we’re ready for some football. The NFL season is here and COVID seems to have abated enough to let us congregate in downtown San Diego sports bars.

This list includes bars and restaurants in East Village, Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy. All have TVs aplenty and carry the NFL package (so you can watch every game).

No algorithm was used to pick the list. It’s based on experience and ambiance.

Some spots are dive-y. A few lean upscale. All sustain the American dream for fall: Provide cold beer, warm food and the uninhibited right to yell at referees and go bonkers over a diving catch in the end zone.

Bub’s in East Village. A Pittsburgh Steelers outpost.



The upscale, indoor island bar and dining area is separated from a sidewalk patio by large garage-style windows. This is the kind of place where you take outdoor selfies while watching NFL action in December—then send the photos to your freezing friends back on the East Coast.

TVs: 18

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 234

Sunday specials: Bottomless Mimosas ($25) on weekend mornings until 1 p.m.; $6-7 pints

Home team favorite(s): San Francisco 49ers; Alabama Crimson Tide

Address: 804 Market Street

Bubs at the Ballpark

The East Village mega site. There’s a year-round crowd for sports viewing here. Lines are not uncommon. NFL Sundays can accommodate more than 400 people inside, on the front patio and at an auxiliary parklet on the side. TVs are labeled for which game will play at the 10 a.m. start times. If the Steelers are playing, that’s the game that gets sound.

TVs: 26, plus mobile setups outside.

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 400+

Sunday specials: Brunch until 2 p.m.

Home team favorite: Pittsburgh Steelers

Address: 715 J Street

Knotty Barrell

The front bar is mid-sized, airy and connects to a street patio—but there’s also a side brewery and a furniture-filled back patio for gridiron viewing. What game gets priority status and sound? Fuhgeddaboudit! The Giants stand above all others here.

TVs: 18

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 300

Sunday specials:$20 Bottomless Mimosas (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Home team favorite: New York Giants; Penn State University

Address: 844 Market Street

Social Tap

With a back patio that abuts Petco Park greenery, Social Tap includes indoor/outdoor table seating (with 6 outdoor TVs). The games are labeled on the TVs so you can choose your views for the 10 a.m. showings. Sound goes to the game of the week.

TVs: 27

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 350

Sunday specials: $19 Bud Lite pitchers

Home team favorite: NFL none; U.S. Naval Academy, Notre Dame

Address: 815 J Street

Tavern+Bowl East Village

Before the Chargers fled town, this was the busiest downtown sports bar. Now the Eagles rule the roost. When Philly games are on, that game gets sound. There’s also a DJ spinning specifically for Eagles games. Otherwise, bar regulars get to pick which game gets put on the big screen behind the bar.

TVs: 14

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 150

Sunday specials: An Eagles-centric-food menu, Bird Bomb shots, Philly-oriented merch giveaways

Home team favorite: Philadelphia Eagles

Address: 930 Market Street

The Blind Burro

There’s no designated home team, so the majority rules on which games get placed on the prime-viewing TVs. The Burro has a high ambiance rating for indoor-outdoor seating. And a solid, Mexican-themed menu. There are plenty of tequila options for shots when your favorite team wins.

TVs: 16

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 260

Sunday specials: Brunch

Home team favorite: None

Address: 639 J Street

Flags fly below The Deck’s retractable roof.

The Deck at Moonshine Flats

When the Chargers took off, The Deck tried featuring Los Angeles Rams games. This year, it’s back to full sound when the Chargers are on. TVs are labeled for the teams playing during the 10 a.m. games. There are also tons of activities—Ping Pong, corn hole, bar shuffleboard, etc.—if you’re a Sunday multi-tasker. Dig The Deck’s retractable roof.

TVs: 18

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 300

Sunday specials: $10 appetizers (wings, corn dogs, etc.); $25 buckets of Miller Lite and Coors Lite (five bottles); $30 buckets of White Claw (five cans); $30-$40 Bloody Mary pitchers (optionally filled with skewered shrimp, chicken wings, bacon, etc.)

Home team favorite(s): Los Angeles Chargers; San Diego State University and USC

Address: 335 Sixth Avenue



Always packed. Ground zero for football fanatics. Expect lines, so don’t try to saunter up five minutes before game time. Barleymash can open underground bar Ginger’s for overflow. TVs are labeled so you can choose your table or spot at the bar to match your favorite team. Vote for the team that gets put on the big screen. A DJ plays over commercials during the game of the week.

TVs: 48, plus 4 in an outdoor parklet

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 667.

Sunday specials: $30 bottles of Champagne (until 12:30 p.m.); raffles during the 10 a.m. games

Home team favorite: None

Address: 600 Fifth Avenue

Barleymash is East Village. The early bird gets the best seat.

Gaslamp Tavern

The bar space is on the smaller side, but Gaslamp Tavern gets loud and rowdy with sports partisans. Try to snag one of the outside bar seats that face into the bar, offering al fresco ambiance and perfect TV sightlines.

TVs: 13

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 86

Sunday specials: $4 shots.

Home team favorite: Philadelphia Eagles fans are often around.

Address: 868 Fifth Avenue

Whiskey Girl

With nearly three dozen TVs, and eight of them placed side-by-side-by-side above and behind the main bar, this is a Fantasy Football lover’s dream spot. The game of the week gets sound, and the bar’s high-tech setup allows for quick switching of TVs for patrons’ preferences.

TVs: 32

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 225 seated for football days

Sunday specials:$5 Pacificos, $5 Screwballs, $35 for 100-ounce Beer Towers

Home team favorite: None

Address: 702 Fifth Avenue

Eight side-by-side TVs behind the bar at Whiskey Girl in East Village.


Bar One

Sports bars are few and far between in Little Italy. Bar One seats about 120 people and about half that capacity is outdoors on a sidewalk parklet. Pre-game offerings include meaty links—both Italian and chicken sausage—served Mexican (jalapenos), Jimmy B. (peppers and onions) or Vinni G. (pickles, garlic aioli) style.

TVs: 8

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 120

Sunday specials: Breakfast menu

Home team favorite: None, but beware of Chicago Bears fans

Address: 1532 India Street

Nolita Hall

The swankiest spot to make the list. You’re able to call in ahead of time and reserve a table that has a view of a particular Sunday game. Full menu is served and there are 24 beers on tap. Nolita’s posh, verdant parklet is tops in the city—unfortunately, there are no TVs outside.

TVs: 6, including two 108-inch projector screens

NFL Package: Yes

Capacity: 180 indoors / 280 including outdoors, but no outdoor TVs

Sunday specials: Brunch

Home team favorite: None

Address: 2305 India Street

Nolita in Little Italy: You can call and reserve a viewing spot.


Cover photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images



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