SnakePit Round Table: Diamondbacks Sports Bars

NomNomNom... Wings + beer + baseball = good. [Photo by Tom Varco]

Hey Party People!

Here at the SnakePit we have gotten numerous requests from fans in our area and outside of the area that are looking for sports bars or other places to meet up with other Diamondbackss fans to watch the game, draft or just hang out. We have also found that there are many Diamondbacks related events that happen year round and we want to make sure that we are keeping all of you in the know.

So, for today's purposes, we'd like to get a list of sports bars that you attend when you watch the game and we will use this thread as a directory of sorts for Arizona Diamondbacks sports bars. We have created a form  that you can fill out to easily submit this information or you can leave your comments it in this thread.

We will also repost this information regularly so that the content is fresh. Stay tuned for a cool new directory feature in the coming weeks that's going to take your recommendations, along with other information we gather, and provide some really cool features for connecting Diamondbacks fans with beer each other, anywhere in the world.

After the jump, find out what our writers and editors look for in a good sports bar, and where they like to hangout. Global Sports Domination begins now...

How often do you watch Diamondbacks games somewhere other than your house?

Kishi: Other than my house? Is that allowed? There’s Socofest once a year, but other than that and occasionally catching it on the TV at a restaurant I’m getting lunch at, I’m usually either watching at home or at the park. Though MrsKishi and I have been talking about not bothering to get cable when we move- and since MLB’s ridiculous blackout rules still exist, that may change in the foreseeable future.

Azreous: With my new job, comprised mostly of night shifts, that percentage has risen significantly. Probably more than half the time now I’m stuck watching the game on our tiny little 13-inch TV at work, and that’s from across the room to boot. Otherwise, I’ll take in the occasional game at a sports bar or something, but the 50-inch plasma at home keeps me there a lot.

IHSB: Quite often last year, hopefully that repeats itself this year.  Then again, I also do enjoy the occasional tv broadcast on an old, worn-down, comfy couch.  It’ll also be interesting to go to a game once I’m 21 years old, for obvious reasons.

soco: Like kishi, I watch the games almost exclusively at home on my TV, or at the park.  I do listen to games on the radio, maybe a 1/3rd of the season, so that might count.

snakecharmer: When am I not at home?? ;P Working at home has its pluses and minuses, a plus being I can watch the day games. If I’m on a trip, I usually don’t have the time or bandwidth to watch online...

Jim: Not actually that often these days. When we helped at IZW, that meant a lot of scurrying back and forth at The Sets in Tempe, between the room where the wrestling was, and the one with the TVs! Now, it’s almost only if, we’re going out for dinner and there’s a game on, we’ll pick somewhere showing the game.

Sprankton: Rarely. I either watch the game at home or at the stadium. I can’t ever recall purposely going to a bar or another venue to watch a baseball game. I’m a sports-social loner.

DbacksSkins: Um... well, um... lesse... watch Dbacks games at the socos’, at home, at  the ballpark, um... once watched a Dbacks game at the Mountainaire Tavern outside Flagstaff; once watched ‘em in a bar in Tucson with the Snakepits, um... think that’s about it.

Discuss the pluses and minuses of watching a game in a sports bar?

Kishi: Plus: Much better screen than I’ve got at home, usually. Being able to order food and drinks are a definite plus, as well- few things are more annoying than missing a home run because I had to scamper off to the kitchen to make myself some nachos. With the right bar, the atmosphere can be a definite plus, too. I love watching baseball, but it’s always better when you’re watching it with other people who are into the game. Minuses: Having to pay for it doesn’t help, that’s for sure. Also, most sports bars I’ve been to have been pretty noisy, so catching any commentary is right out. However, given the way some people feel about Grace and Sutton, that may be a positive in their book.

Azreous: For me, since I have a pretty good setup at home, heading to a sports bar is more about the atmosphere. A huge part of my memories of the Suns’ playoff run in 2006 is tied to Buffalo Wild Wings here in Flagstaff, where we watched each of the games. That place went crazy during big moments, like Raja Bell’s corner three against the Clippers or Tim Thomas’ tying shot against the Lakers in the first round. I definitely think there’s a positive to being around a big group of fans for important games -- August matchups between the Nationals and Pirates, not so much.

soco: I’ve only watched baseball a few times at a sports bar (at least on purpose; I go to Zipps a lot and it is often on, but I’ll leave before a game is over) and it’s nice to have a little atmosphere.  The food is generally better than anything I could make at home, and I loooooooooooove hot wings.  Like you have no idea.  There just aren’t that many great wings places anymore.  I used to rock Native New Yorker, but the one near me shut down.  Zipps has decent wings, but not great.  Buffalo Wild Wings is okay for chicken strips, but it’s a joke for wings.  

Enough about food though!  I think I prefer games like soccer at a bar, though, since you get the building anticipation, and when it erupts, watch out.  Baseball is a little more laid back.  Some things I dislike about sports bars is the general price.  I’ll pay $30 for some good food once and a while, but it’s definitely a treat and not a tradition.  Also, as cheesy as it might be, I like chatting with the folks at AZSnakepit during the game.  If I could get that at sports bar, I might be more in favor,.

snakecharmer: Obviously, since I don’t live in Diamondbacks territory, nobody cares. In general, I suppose it’d be a plus to go meet new people and enjoy the atmosphere of an event at a bar. But, minuses are paying for food and drinks, it’s loud stuffy and smelly, and you can’t get as close to the tv as you can at home.

Jim: I’d add. designating a driver. Some poor schlep has to spent three hours drinking horrifically-overpriced soda - why are people not queuing up for that role? If we lived within walking distance of a bar, that’d be ideal - but this is Phoenix, and nowhere is within walking distance of anywhere else! Still, looks like Gus’s NY Pizza Lounge is opening one that might be within range, if we go into training...

The plus side is all about atmosphere and the shared experience. Misery loves company, in the case of the 2010 Diamondbacks, though my most miserable experiences have taken place in the seclusion of my own home e.g. Game 5 of the 2001 World Series. The social side of things is fun too, but as soco mentioned, there’s the ‘Pit for that.

soco: It seems soda is now $2-3 (with free refills) at most restaurants, if a 16 ounces of soda is normally $1.50 or so, then you only need to drink 3 glasses in a game to get ahead as the DD.  If you drink as much as soda as I do, it actually becomes the most cost effective way to drink soda.

Sprankton: It’s not really my scene so I can’t say much. I don’t go to bars to watch sports or to lounge and relax. I go to bars to sip on absinthe and take shots of whiskey. In theory though, I’d imagine that it would probably be a lot of fun if you were with a cool group.

DbacksSkins: Pros: Um... other people watching (in theory, but in practice, nobody really watches the Diamondbacks), bigger TVs, HD. Cons: Gotta pay to play?

What do you look for in a venue?

Kishi: Big TVs. None of this "24-inch screen mounted in a corner" nonsense, I want to see the game as close to life-size as I can get. Multiple screens, too- let’s be honest, our boys haven’t done much to make me want to devote my full attention to them in the past few seasons, so it never hurts to have something else to look at when my mind wanders.

Azreous: Yeah, projector screens are nice. Lots of TVs with good lines of sight. Good food is important -- if I’m going to be paying 20-30 bucks to take in a game, I’m damn sure going to enjoy what I’m eating. And for a tall guy with a bad back, comfortable seats are an added bonus.

soco: Unfortunately, most ‘big screen’ places have awful picture quality.  I’m thoroughly spoiled by HD, so I don’t need to go back to the stone ages, thank you.  I look for food first.  If the food is great, then the rest will follow.  I want it to be a place where I can meet with people, sit around a big table, and shoot the shit during a game while eating and drinking.  Preferably some place that is actually pro-Arizona teams.  

snakecharmer: Some place that’s not in a skeezy part of town, filled with crazy drunks and such. And if I can’t sit close enough to see/hear the TV (it has to be HD) well, then what’s the point?

Jim: A good selection of beers on tap. Miller, Budweiser, Coors and their derivatives do not count. Really, don’t even mention then when I ask. Comfy seating, and enough well-located TVs that no-one in the party needs to miss out. Adequate service. Free wi-fi, so I can start work on the recap and hang out in the GDT. Seriously, when Denny’s is offering it, it’s time for more bars to get in on the action. Decent parking.

DbacksSkins: I don’t?

Food ‘n’ drink: your selections to accompany baseball.

Jim: It’s important to pace yourself. I grew up watching football - no, the other kind - in Britain, where a game will last only an hour and forty minutes, so can be crammed into a lunch-hour [Douglas Adams must have been thinking of banks in the City of London, when he wrote: "Time is an illusion. Lunch-time, doubly so."] For baseball, you would be easily be looking at an hour longer, possibly more. So it’s best to have "grazing food" that can sit at your table for the whole game, without becoming a cold, greasy lump.

Similarly, three hours drinking shots = bad idea, so beer is the order of the day, even if this requires the bladder-control of a Shaolin monk. However, last year was more of a "drink to numb the pain" experience, especially when the bullpen got into the game. Jagermeister is a quick route to oblivion, I’ve found.

Azreous: I’m a wings guy. Plenty of sports-bar-type food goes good with sports, so there are plenty of solid options out there, and I’m also partial to a good burger, but wings are where it’s at. Granny’s Closet up in Flagstaff is a solid choice, for anyone who makes the mistake of travelling to Flagstaff to watch a game -- they might have the best wings in town and they’re reasonably priced.

Kishi: Wings are good and all, but nachos are pretty much my first choice, almost always. But the key is always smaller options are better, in my mind. Burgers are good for lunch, but two hands and you’ve got to pick them up and keep an eye out to make sure they don’t make a mess? Nope, no good. That’s why hot dogs are the top, um, dog at the ballpark. Plus things like nachos, wings, or potato skins are also something you can share- if you’re going to go out to watch a game instead of at home, do it with friends. Be social.

soco: I think that peanuts and sunflower seeds are the ultimate baseball foods.  Like Jim said, it’s important to have grazing food for the 3 hours you’ll likely need to watch a game.  Both of these ‘nuts’ are great cos they’re easy, not very filling, and require a little bit of activity so it passes the time.  

Otherwise wings and soda or beer are my go-to favorites at sports bars.  Burgers are also good.

snakecharmer: Depends on the place... I’m not really a fan of hot dogs, so a burger and fries are fine, or some good tacos.

DbacksSkins: No particular preferences. Bar food is bar food.

Had any memorable experiences watching a game?

Jim: I saw Games 6 + 7 of the 2001 World Series at Farrelli’s Cinema Supper Club in Scottsdale, who’d suspended their usual schedule of date movies and family fare to show the series on the very big screen. Certainly a unique venue for the event, and I suspect the place hasn’t seen such whoopin’ and hollerin’ since [much though I’m sure their current offerings, e.g. Burlesque and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are fine movies...]

Kishi: Geez, Jim, way to start with the knock-out punch. I’m pretty sure whatever we follow up with will lack the same effect.         The only memorable game I’ve watched somewhere was one of Brandon Webb’s games in his scoreless inning streak. It was pretty fun, but most of the other people watching weren’t really as into the game as I was, so a little disappointing.

Azreous: As far as baseball goes, I watched game one of the ‘01 World Series at a party, which was pretty fun considering how much we rocked. And my game seven story has been told before, when I was working at Bashas and the place was dead except for one customer who came in during the seventh and didn’t leave until about 20 minutes after the game. But in bar/lounge type places, I haven’t really seen much that was exciting.

soco: I’m assuming we’re talking out of the house and away from Chase Field?  If so, then it would have to be Randy Johnson’s perfecto.  I went out for Mexican food with my best friend from high school and his mom, and the game happened to be on.  We didn’t go to the place expecting it to be, but it was and we just happened to see it.  

snakecharmer: Hmm.....nope, not really...

Sprankton: I wasn’t watching, but sitting in my office at work during the Edwin Jackson no-hitter. I checked the boxscore in the sixth inning and immediately scoped out a radio feed after I noticed what was happening. I sat in my car for the next 40 minutes clapping and yelling at my dashboard.

Kishi: Must have been something with cars for that one. I had to leave to go pick up Mrs. Kishi from work and to go get dinner, and I sat in the parking lot to hear the last inning and a half.

DbacksSkins: Sat on my couch and threw things at the TV during the first 2 or 3 innings of E-Jack’s no-hitter, with Frodo in my lap. (I was puppysitting) Stuck with it, though, and celebrated by giving the puppy a hot dog or two after the 27th out. (Don’t tell my sister!)

Watching Game 7 of the World Series with the fam, and (in retrospect, anyway) hearing Dad say, "I don’t like having to face Rivera down in the 9th inning".

Have you ever watched a D-backs game while in another city? If so, how was that and how did you locate the venue?

Azreous: I’ve seen a handful of Diamondbacks at Coors Field, since I spend probably a month on average each year in Colorado. Originally, we relied on directions from the locals (i.e. my family), but I’m pretty familiar with the surrounding area by this point. The ballpark is solid considering it’s going on 20 years old now, and having the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop certainly doesn’t hurt. I particularly like the bullpen areas that look like they’re in the middle of a forest. Now if we could just do something about the crappy team that calls it home...

IHSB: Once, a long time ago when I wasn’t a die-hard D-backs fan yet, but merely a casual, occasional follower, I saw a game at Wrigley.  It went into extra-innings and I was hardly paying attention when the darn thing ended.  It was decent.  I was young enough to not be completely annoyed by the Cubs fans.

soco: Only in hotel rooms.  I don’t have much opportunity to vacation, so when I do, it’s generally to see family or friends.  At that point I’m probably spending all my time with them, not with baseball.

snakecharmer: Um... nearly all of them??? :) Well, I did go to a Diamondbacks game at Coors Field. It was the day before Luis Gonzalez had his shoulder surgery in 2004 and the day Koyie Hill was called up. I got right-behind-home-plate tickets for my parents and grandmother and I, and I was able to get Gonzo’s attention and he came over and met my family. However, we lost pretty badly. (It was 2004, so it was expected.)

Jim: I’ve been to Denver and San Francisco, looking for the D-backs, but I don’t do any research for bars, etc. It’s usually just wandering around, find somewhere that looks appealing (criteria listed above) and then go in. One of the things about being a Diamondbacks fan is there isn’t much of an expat fan community: if we go anywhere else, I expect us to be the only ones there. So I can’t really demand they change the channel, especially from a local team, and the best bet is usually simply the one with the most TVs, e.g. in Denver, it was the ESPN Zone on 16th St.

DbacksSkins: Does Tucson count? When I was in DC, I was able to catch a few games on TV every once in awhile.

What are your personal recommendations for good places - or ones to avoid! - to see Diamondbacks games?

Azreous: Even though I spent 18 years in Phoenix, I’ll stick to the last few in Flagstaff for my recommendations on the off chance you’re up here. The Phoenix/Tucson folks will have a more current idea of what’s good down there. In Flag, Granny’s is always solid. A local instituation with good food, good prices and a couple different viewing options -- the bar area has 10+ TVs tuned to a variety of games, and there’s also a dozen booths that come with their own TV (and remote). Fratelli Pizza has the best pizza in town and a handful of new HDTVs to watch games on. Buffalo Wild Wings is a somewhat overrated chain, but it has by far the most TVs in town. There’s always a spot downtown for the biggest games come playoff time, like Collins, Beaver Street Brews and Cues, or the Green Room.

soco: Zipp’s is my go-to, as I’ve said.  The food is good, they have lots of TV’s (and locations), and they’re pretty pro-Arizona.  I’ve seen baseball, hockey, and playoff basketball (as well as World Cup matches) at Zipp’s and it’s always been great.

Jim: We have a horrible habit of cursing places: as soon as we decide we like somewhere, it closes. So I’d best not say! Actually, having just moved house, we have still to find anywhere in the local area, and our previous neighborhood was largely devoid of such things - Garcia’s [the original location, not one of the franchises] on 35th Avenue and McDowell had a big TV in the bar, and the food there was great.

Kishi: They may not be the best, but I love how many TVs Buffalo Wild Wings has, and there’s something addictive in their potato wedges.

DbacksSkins: I must confess, I can’t tell you any great places in Tucson, simply because I always watch at home. I’ve watched playoff baseball and NCAA football at The Auld Dubliner on University (before they changed ownership and the place went to Hell). Expanding our reach a bit, jinnah and I walked to Trident on Speedway on Sundays in the fall to watch NFL football, but that’s mostly because they’re a Redskins bar, and they’re within walking distance of our house. Elsewhere, I’ve watched UA football at Bob Dobbs on Tucson Blvd, UA basketball at The Depot on Fort Lowell, NCAA football at Hangovers on Alvernon with Clefo and jinnah (between vintage base ball games), etc.

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