Our readers—through our annual Best Restaurants ballot—voted for their six favorite places to watch the big game. (And then we visited them all, because someone’s got to do the dirty work.)
Here they are, in no particular order.
Dooley’s Pub and Restaurant
255 First Ave. SW
Can I really watch the game I want to watch? Yes. With 34 TVs (ranging from a dozen 55-inchers to two 90-inchers), Dooley’s promises to show every game that’s requested.
But I can’t hear my own game! Yes, you can. Dooley’s offers on-table speakers—with bluetooth—so you can tune into your game’s announcers.
Won’t I miss some of the game when I have to go to the bathroom? No. They have TVs in there.
But, really, why should I go there? “We have the best Buffalo wings in Rochester,” says Jack Murphy. “Besides the wings, the slider platter (a dozen sliders for $32) and the nachos are popular during game days. We’ve also got half-price appetizers, beer buckets, and an outstanding Bloody Mary bar for game specials. All set in an upscale atmosphere.”
Buffalo Wild Wings
3458 55th St. NW
They do have a lot of TVs, right? Yes. A lot of TVs. More than 40, in fact, including seven big screens and one really, really big screen, at 140 inches. That’s almost 12 feet.
Is this a wing place? Um, yes.
What’s the most popular order during game days? Um, wings (see above). Their traditional wings come with 15 different sauce options (from Mild to Blazin’, which is made with ghost pepper). Though we’re partial to the Medium and the Buffalo Dry Rub. The Ultimate Nachos (warm corn tortilla chips loaded with chili, house-made pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, fresh jalapeños, queso and salsa) is a distant second when it comes to game-day food orders.
But, really, why should I go there? “We pride ourselves on delivering a great experience with any sports event,” says GM Tom Wroblewski. “With our seven large-screen TVs and additional 35 TVs, we are able to give every sports fan the game they are looking for and the sound to hear the big game as well. We can accommodate large parties with ease, have great wings, 24 different beers on tap, a friendly staff, and your favorite games each and every day.”
Whistle Binkies South
247 Woodlake Dr. SE
Are they really that football friendly? Yes. With 18 well-placed TVs at the South location, WB takes great advantage of its open spaces and—to add to it—cranks up the Sunday game day specials to cover just about anyone’s tastes ($3 Bloody Mary bar, $3.50 mimosas, $2 Rusty Truck pints).
What about food? An annual favorite in our Best Restaurants bar food categories, WB South offers the Sampler Platter (egg rolls, potato skins, chicken fingers, Scotch eggs) for game day groups, though the most popular order is the nachos.
But, really, why should I go there? “I think people like the specials and atmosphere we provide,” says GM Craig Kangas. “During Viking games, we have our ‘Pick the Score’ game which provides an opportunity for people to win gift cards or money. In addition, we have a trumpet player who gets the crowd going with Skol Vikings before, during, and after each game. (We bring in a bit larger musical group for the two Green Bay games.)”
Wicked Moose Bar and Grill
1201 Eastgate Dr. SE
Do they carry all of the games? They do (through the NFL Sunday Ticket), and they often have specific, die-hard groups of fans who stake out their regular spots in front of the 40 TVs and four big screens (we’re looking at you, Pittsburgh Steelers fans).
What about specials? In addition to 16-ounce aluminum bottles of beer ($3), the Moose also offers various specials, including chicken strips and fries and free shots for everyone when the Vikings score a touchdown.
But, really, why should I go there? “What makes the Moose so unique is the atmosphere,” says the Wicked Moose’s Scott Schneider. “We have fans from all over the country that dress in their hometown team’s jersey and gather in numbers to cheer on their team. We also have DJ Jay Walker here during Viking games giving away items through trivia and drawings during every commercial break.”
Wildwood Sports Bar and Grill
1517 16th St. SW
If I can only order one thing for the big game, what would they recommend? Totchos.
Follow up question. What are totchos? Crispy fried tots topped with homemade cheese sauce, melted cheddar-jack cheese, cowboy sauce, chopped bacon, sour cream and green onions.
Can I see the games from anywhere? Yes. With a big open space, and 20 TVs, there’s not a bad seat in the house.
But, really, why should I go there? Well, the service, for one. Wildwood won Best Waitstaff in last year’s Best Restaurants voting. But for owner Jim Nicholas, it comes down to the basics: “Fun, giveaways, and great food.” And our readers can vouch for the last one—Wildwood was a finalist in the recent Rochester Magazine Best Restaurants for Best Burger, Best Vegetarian Meal (Portabello Melt), Best Sandwich (Red Lake Reuben), Best Appetizer (nachos), and Best Bar Food.
Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon
300 17th Ave. NW
Will I be able to see a TV? Um, yes. Wild Bill’s features 50 TVs (literally, wall-to-wall) ranging in size from 40-inch to 70-inch.
I want to fit in. What’s everyone else ordering? Wings are the biggest seller during game days, though cheese curds are making a run.
Are there game day specials? Too many to mention, but here’s a sampling. For Thursday night games: All-You-Can-Eat Fajitas for $9.99, and $3.50 margaritas or $5.50 coronaritas.
Sundays: Check out the 11 a.m.-noon Power Hour, with $2 burgers, wings, or pork sandwiches. Mondays: $5 Original Burger with fries.
But, really, why should I go there? “Every year we try to build our Sunday Fundays to truly make it a fun spot to be,” says Velinda Nienow, director of advertising and marketing. “We have DJs that host the football game and play music to keep the momentum going. Every time the Vikes score we play the Skol song along with the horns, and spin the shot wheel for $3 shots for 15 minutes. We have quarterly prizes for Vikes specials, NFL apparel including jerseys, Sunday Funday shirts, and half time games with prizes!”