It's the Super Bowl, for God's sake! The Greatest Sports Spectacle in America! Do you really want to watch it in your cramped apartment on your cruddy analog TV, eating your friend's wimpy guac and your own overcooked brats? No, you do not. You want to be out cheering with the crowd, watching every play in you-are-there high def, gobbling professionally made food and guzzling $2 beers. You, my friend, want a sports bar. That's where we come in.
We've combed the Cities to find the spots with the most TVs and the best food and drink specials. Here are eight great places that will do you right on game day.
CHAMPION'S SPORTS BAR & GRILL
105 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.827.4765
This LynLake sports bar bills itself as the "biggest Super Bowl party in town." In fact, it will be throwing two parties on Sunday--a private affair (open to the first 50 people who sign up) featuring all-you-can-drink booze for $15, pizza, chicken fingers, and the game on big screen, plus their regular party in the main bar and restaurant. At the main party, they're serving hot dogs for a buck, appetizer specials, 20-ounce tap beers of MGD and Miller Lite for $2, and bloody Marys all day for $2.50. When you buy food or drink, you also get a ticket to their annual balloon game. At the end of each quarter, a handful of people win a chance to pop a balloon with a prize inside, ranging from cash to a new Foosball table. Enjoy the game on 17 TVs, including five 50-inchers.
THE BULLDOG (NORTHEAST)
401 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.378.2855
The venerable Bulldog pulls out all the stops on all-American, artery-clogging bar food: deep-fried mini tacos ($6), deep-fried mozzarella with marinara ($4), chili cheese fries ($5), and half-price nachos. Or scarf on the "ultimate sandwich" known as the Gripper: a bacon-wrapped, deep-fried Polish sausage on a hoagie bun with ham, caramelized onions, cheese sauce, peppers, fried egg, and a side of cheese fries for $9. If you're still alive, the Bulldog also ponies up with an extended happy hour from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m., featuring their superb beer selection and $2 PBR tall boys. Watch the game on 10 42-inch flat-screen TVs. Don't forget the Bulldog's other locations in Uptown and St. Paul.
JOE SENSER'S SPORTS GRILL
4217 American Blvd. W., Bloomington; 952.835.1191
Sports Illustrated once named Senser's the 15th-best sports bar in America. One reason might be that they have no fewer than 17 9-by-5-foot HD TV screens in the joint, plus smaller sets sprinkled throughout. Grubwise, they're serving an apps and chili buffet that's free if you buy $15 worth of other stuff, or $8.95 otherwise. Their regular menu offers a jalapeno pepper jack burger, a red pepper and chipotle-infused turkey burger, and wood-roasted chicken. You can wash it down with 20-ounce tap beers for $4. And don't forget to sign up for a numbers pool to win cash or prizes by picking scores during the game. Senser's also has locations in Roseville, Plymouth, and Eagan.
PATRICK MCGOVERN'S PUB
225 W. Seventh St., St Paul; 651.224.5821
As the official watering hole of the Steelers Fans of Minnesota, McGovern's is sure to be a zoo on Sunday. While SFOM packs the second floor, even Cardinals fans are welcome in the rest of the pub to watch the game on a bevy of TVs.
139 E. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651.224-7717
This classic sports bar will be having food and drink discounts, though the managers haven't worked out the specifics yet. But the place does have 25 50-inch plasma TVs. You'll have to behave yourself, though. Alary's is known as the local hangout for fire and law enforcement officers.
BILLY'S ON GRAND
857 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651.292.9140
For the big game, Billy's is planning specials on mini burgers, tacos, beer buckets, and Miller Lite, plus their regular menu of burgers, ribs, homemade soups, and special sandwiches. And you won't miss a play with 35 TVs, including two 108-inch screens and 14 50-inch sets.
600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.767.2960
Downtown's cavernous sports cathedral gets its happy hour under way at 4:00 p.m., with half-price drinks on everything behind the bar till 7:00, plus appetizers all night from two to five bucks, $2 Bud and Bud Lite specials, and $4 bombs made with Monster energy drink. Besides their regular salads, sandwiches, and pastas, get $5 pizzas after 10:00 p.m. See the game on 35 HD flat-screen TVs.
GRUMPYS BAR & GRILL
2801 Snelling Ave., Roseville; 651.379.1180
Grumpy's Tailgate Platter could last you most of the game: On one big plate you get an array of appetizers such as mini burgers, queso rolls, mini corn dogs, and your choice of taters (such as Tots or fries) for $8.95. Or pig out on potato skins with BBQ pork, chipotle mayo, cheese, and onions for another $8.95. Drinks are set at happy-hour prices: $2.50 for rail drinks and domestic taps, plus a 20-ounce Miller Lite stadium cup for $3.50. Sign up for $25 in drink tickets in the numbers pool, and watch the game on 15 52-inch plasma TVs and two giant projector screens.