Bralie’s Sports Bar

1725 Carpenter Fletcher Road, 4707 Hillsborough Road, Durham,

The original Bralie’s, a hole-in-the-wall at the southern tip of Durham, is small, cheap, and uncomplicated. There usually a game on the TV, sometimes live music, beer aplenty, pool, darts, and cornhole to keep you occupied, shot specials (and a Jager tap) to get you lit, and burgers to sop up the alcohol. Bralie’s 2 is pretty much the same idea. 

The Brickhouse Sports Bar & Grille

3801 Hillsborough Street, #135, Raleigh,

The Brickhouse, between N.C. State and 440, has ten 120-inch projection-screen televisions and sound boxes that let you listen to whatever game you want. There’s also food and alcohol—including a surprisingly good selection of North Carolina spirits. 

Bull McCabes Irish Pub

427 West Main Street, Durham,

If there’s a game on—baseball, football, tennis, golf, rugby, soccer, anything ACC, whatever—it’ll probably be on one of Bull McCabes’s TVs, and you can watch it while sipping a Guinness and gnawing on a Pub Burger. If your crew wants to watch one of those European footie matches that starts when the rest of us haven’t gotten out of bed on Saturday morning, let them know. If there are enough of you, they’ll open early. 

Devine’s Restaurant & Sports Bar

904 West Main Street, Durham,

Durham has changed a lot since Devine’s opened in 1978. Devine’s, not so much. There’s food (burgers, wings, etc.), alcohol (booze, beer, wine), and every TV sports package known to humanity, as well as a cool outdoor patio and live entertainment.

The London Bridge Pub

110 East Hargett Street, Raleigh,

London Bridge is only a sports bar if your sport is soccer, in which case it is the sports bar in downtown Raleigh. It’s also a good place to grab a pint, hang out on the back patio with friends (and dogs), and hit the dance floor when the weekend DJs are doing their thing. But if you enjoy the Beautiful Game, then on Saturday mornings, and whenever the European Premier League is playing—or anytime there’s soccer on the telly—this is where you want to be. 

Pantana Bob’s

305 West Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill,

The beer—more PBR than IPA—is always cold, the wings are always great, and there’s no better place in town to catch up with friends and watch a game than the spacious back patio. 

The Players’ Retreat

105 Oberlin Road, Raleigh,

The PR has been a Raleigh institution for more than a half-century, in no small part because it’s simply where you go to watch N.C. State games. (They’ll play other games on the fifty-inch plasma TVs, too.)

The Tavern Food & Spirits

1900 West Markham Avenue, Durham,

A decade ago, the Tavern moved from South Durham into its current six-thousand-square-foot digs on Markham, in the heart of Duke country. With pool, trivia, karaoke, darts, live music—not to mention bar food, beer, and booze—there’s plenty to keep the regulars coming back. There are also lots of TVs on which to watch Duke basketball.  

Urban Axes Durham

619 Foster Street, Durham,

Urban Axes isn’t really a sports bar, but it is a sort of a bar (beer and wine, BYO food), and ax-throwing is kind of a sport, right? So close enough. This weird drink-and-throw-sharp-objects trend made its way to Durham in 2018, and as best we can tell, no one’s gotten mangled yet. It’s also a lot of fun. Get a group, make reservations in advance (don’t try to do a walk-in), and hurl some axes. Life is short. 

West End Billiards & Bocce

601 West Main Street, Durham,

Sharing an address with the West End Wine Bar, the billiards portion of this enterprise has six pool tables, bocce and shuffleboard, a regulation-size basketball hoop, and an upscale sports-bar vibe.   

2018 Best of the Triangle Readers’ Picks, Best Sports Bar: 

Tobacco Road Sports Café, Durham County

The Wooden Nickel Pub, Orange and Chatham Counties

The Players’ Retreat, Wake County