Advertise on OnMilwaukee.com

In Travel & Visitors Guide

Where are the best baseball bars in the country? We asked the experts.

Baseball writers pick their favorite post-game stops


It seems like every year I get an e-mail or a phone call from an individual or group of guys about to undertake a tour of major league ballparks. Some people try to do all 30 of them over the course of a summer. Others focus on a handful in a region. Others try to catch Brewers games in different stadia. Just about everyone wonders if we are interested in doing a story chronicling their exploits.

Generally speaking, we don't.

Traveling to ballparks is a great way to spend time in the summer. (Trust me -- it's even better when someone else is paying). But, the idea isn't unique. It's been done. If you want to read about your trip, there is always Facebook, Twitter or your own personal blog.

With that said...

I would hope that people embarking on a ballpark tour vacation would try to see some of the other tourist attractions in the various cities. I also hope, as part of the experience, that they would check out some of the wonderful, baseball-friendly taverns that help give each town its own unique flavor. There are plenty of bars where you can debate the merits of a particular double switch over a double scotch on the rocks, so I thought it would be cool to come up with a list.

I enlisted the help of some of my favorite baseball writers to come up with a list of their favorite spots in some cities around the league. The panel included Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, Scott Miller and Danny Knobler of CBS Sportsline, Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jim Caple of ESPN.com, Jeff Horrigan, formerly of the Boston Herald, and Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse.

This is an unscientific survey, so we'll eschew the rankings and break it down by city.

ATLANTA
Manuel's Tavern
602 North Highland Ave.
manuelstavern.com

When the Braves were dominating the National League in the 1990s, this friendly bar became a favorite with visiting scribes because of its laid-back atmosphere, tasty food and cross section of clientele. The New York Times Magazine called it "Atlanta's quintessential neighborhood bar" and it was also received props from Esquire Magazine.

BALTIMORE
Pickles Pub
520 Washington Blvd.
picklespub.com

Much like the Orioles' franchise, this once-hot spot is losing a bit of luster but still draws a crowd before and after games.

Sliders
504 Washington Blvd.

A fun place to hang out before and after games.

BOSTON
Cask'n Flagon
62 Brookline Ave.
www.casknflagon.com

Remember when Yogi said "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded?" That's kind of the way writers treat the Cask'n Flagon. But, how can you go wrong when you're right by Fenway and immortalized by Robin Williams in "Good Will Hunting?"

Boston Beer Works
61 Brookline Ave.

Good food. Good beer. A decent atmosphere. This is a place that people might frequent even if it weren't located a short hop from Fenway.

McGreevy's
911 Boylston St.
mcgreevysboston.com

The signs say "Established 1894," but that comes with an asterisk. This bar, owned by Dropkick Murphys frontman Ken Casey and film producer and baseball historian Pete Nash (a former rapper known as Prime Minister Pete Nice) is a replica of the very FIRST baseball bar in America, the Third Base Saloon. It was across the street from the South End Grounds, where the Braves originally played, and just up the street from the Huntington Avenue Grounds, where the Red Sox played. It was called Third Base Saloon because it was the "last stop before home."

The original McGreevy's was owned by Michael "Nuf Ced" McGreevy, the leader of the Royal Rooters. He was called "Nuff Ced" because whenever bar patrons got in arguments, he slammed a shillelagh down on the bar and shouted, "Nuff said!" The Royal Rooters switched allegiances to the Red Sox (Boston Americans at that time) after being slighted by the Braves in one way or another. They're the ones who sang "Tessie" in the stands during the 1903 World Series to distract the Pirates.

That is why Casey, whose band did a popular version of "Tessie" named the bar McGreevy's when it opened two years ago. It's already hugely popular with fans. The collection of memorabilia features originals and reproductions of McGreevy's pictures on the walls, and yes, the new McGreevy's even has on display the original glass portrait of the founder that greeted the likes of the Bambino and George M. Cohan.

CHICAGO
Billy Goat Tavern
430 N. Michigan Ave. (lower level)

billygoattavern.com
It's famous because of the "Saturday Night Live" sketch -- "Cheez-borger, cheez-borger, cheez-borger," but the walls of this place drip with Chicago newspaper history. Writers and editors have been blowing off steam after deadline for decades.

The Lodge
21 W. Division St.

Sure, there are plenty of more hip places to go. The areas around Rush and Division are "tourist traps." But, the Lodge has been a favorite for writers, players, coaches and scouts forever. There is no better people-watching spot in the city. Former Bay Area scribes Pedro Gomez and Steve Kettmann were known to take a detour through Chicago on the way to cover A's-Brewers series at County Stadium, just so they could say they had a beer for lunch at the Lodge.

Murphy's Bleachers
3653 North Sheffield Ave.
murphysbleachers.com

There are plenty of bars in Wrigleyville and they all have their charms, but Murphy's, located just steps from the entrance to the bleachers, is a particular favorite among thirst hacks after deadline.

CLEVELAND
Fergie's
2130 East Ninth St.

With a wooden bar and a black and white checkered tile floor, this bar -- located just a few steps from Progressive Field -- has a vintage feel that appeals to scribes who covered games at old Municipal Stadium. They sell gyros and hot dogs and attracts baseball fans and old guys who look like they've been anchored to the bar for 30 years.

DENVER
Blake Street Tavern
2401 Blake St.
blakestreettavern.com

Located two blocks Coors Field, this bar offers craft beers, food, and 20 HD screens.

The Sports Column
1930 Blake St.
denversportscolumn.com

The name itself is a dead giveaway. It's the place to watch games in LoDo (Lower Downtown).

DETROIT
Nemo's
1384 Michigan Ave.
nemosdetroit.com

This was a favorite stop for scribes leaving Tiger Stadium and it's still has a strong baseball presence. The neighborhood isn't great, but you can say that for most of Detroit's downtown.

Town Pump Tavern
100 West Montcalm St.
thetownpumptavern.com

Located in the ground floor of the historic Park Avenue House (formerly the Royal Palm Hotel), The Town Pump Tavern was established in 1996. The space had previously been occupied by a laundromat, go-go bar, and, back in the 1940's, a fine dining restaurant also called The Town Pump. It has a British pub flavor, but is popular with baseball fans.

HOUSTON
B.U.S. bar
1800 Texas St.

There is nothing particularly great about this place. In fact, it's rather spartan with a concrete floor. But, it's right across from the ballpark and the beer is cold and cheap. That alone makes it worth a stop on a muggy Houston night.

KANSAS CITY
The Quaff
1010 Broadway Blvd.
thequaff.com

Though it is located Downtown and not near the ballpark, The Quaff is popular with writers (probably because it's near the Downtown Marriott) and newspaper folk. You'll even catch a few umpires in there after games and you'll catch some intelligent baseball talk.

LOS ANGELES
The Short Stop
1455 West Sunset Blvd.
Just a dive bar down the street from the stadium. The neighborhood is a bit sketchy, but it's actually inhabited by hipsters and off-duty cops.

MINNEAPOLIS
Hubert's
601 Chicago Ave. South

Located just a stone's throw from the Metrodome, Hubert's was a favorite gathering spot for baseball writers seeking a quick postgame pop. Though it may fall out of favor now that the new ballpark is open, writers are creatures of habit and may still drift by for old time's sake.

PHILADELPHIA
Philadium Tavern
631 Packer Ave.

The bartenders are real fans and know their stuff. Chickie's and Pete's across the street is a solid choice, too, but it's a little more upscale.

NEW YORK
Foley's
18 W. 33rd St.
foleysny.com

Owned by an Irishman (Shaun), who is obsessed with baseball, this bar established itself as a Manhattan favorite after the closing of Runyon's, which was named after a legendary sportswriter (Damon Runyon). The vibe is friendly, the beer is cold and there are hundreds of signed baseballs on the wall from players, umpires and -- gasp -- sports writers!

Page 1 of 2 (view all on one page)

Next >>



Talkbacks

CroaghPatrick | May 3, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. (report)

Foleys in NYC was a wonderful surprise. It's the only place I've been to in NYC where I felt like I personally knew everyone in the bar within an hour, including owner Shaun! I like how the autographed baseballs of the politicians are placed next to the porn stars. Insert your own punchline! As for the guy wondering why Goolsby's isn't on the list, the story clearly says that it's about OUT-OF-TOWN bars!!!!!!!! Great article.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

CroaghPatrick | May 3, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. (report)

Foleys in NYC was a wonderful surprise. It's the only place I've been to in NYC where I felt like I personally knew everyone in the bar within an hour, including owner Shaun! I like how the autographed baseballs of the politicians are placed next to the porn stars. Insert your own punchline! As for the guy wondering why Goolsby's isn't on the list, the story clearly says that it's about OUT-OF-TOWN bars!!!!!!!! Great article.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

gcornell | May 2, 2010 at 9:46 a.m. (report)

Umm...I just read somewhere the Major Goolsby's made it onto a list of best sports bars in the country. Why where they not on this list??? Bad article.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Hckyboy00 | May 2, 2010 at 1:07 a.m. (report)

When i saw thew article i thought it was going to be Milwaukee writers favorite drinking spots in the city. I'd be curious to know where the out of town writers throw back a few. I can only imagine it'll be a list of the most generic, unoriginal bars in the city. I'm sure places like the entire stretch of Bluemound, the Newsroom next to the Safe House, and Calderone Club get a lot of hype. yeesh. I know it's a lot to ask, but i wish out of towners would venture out further than a block from their hotel or their job site in a city so famous for it's drinking culture.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
4 comments about this article.
Post a comment / write a review.

Facebook Comments

Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.