Because all you really want to know is where to go watch your team play
Place to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers
Two words: Iron City. That should tell Steelers faithful all they need to know. The tables have built-in buckets to better accommodate the $1 bottles shipped from Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. The menu is Cajun, but a wall of framed photos with names like Bettis, Bradshaw, and Harris help create a 'Burgh-like vibe—along with the regulars who fill the bar with black and gold on NFL Sundays.
301 E. Seventh St., 704-374-1700
Place to watch the Buffalo Bills
Tavern on the Tracks
Grab yourself a beef on weck, or some haddock. Buffalo natives flock here to take in the few comforts of their former cold home. Half the patrons might leave after a Sabres loss on a weekday night, but the real attraction is Buffalo's number two export: the Bills. On game day, the exposed brick walls and naked beams and pipes overhead create an unfinished-basement or garage-party ambience, only with $2.75 Molsons and $5.50 Bloody Mary's.
1411 S. Tryon St. 704-372-0782
Place to watch Davidson basketball
When Coach Bob McKillop and his of-age players want a place to celebrate a Belk Arena win, they have but one choice: the only bar in town. Located just across from the campus's main entrance on North Main Street, the comfortable and perfectly lit tavern, with its hearty menu and endless array of beers on tap, has been the go-to stop for students dating back to the days when the place was called the Depot. Accordingly, it is the favorite haunt for alumni back in town. Find bartender Jessie for a shot of Clown Shoes, but don't bother inquiring about the recipe.
208 Delburg St., 704-987-2022
Place to watch a pay-per-view fight
Fox and Hound Uptown
If you don't have any friends, or want to enjoy fight night on the town, a $5 or $10 cover (depending on the matchup) will get you access to a big crowd and plenty of television screens. Ultimate Fighting is a staple, and big-time boxing has finally started to receive some love. It is well worth arriving early and claiming a spot in the classy basement, which has “man” written all over its two leather living room sets, three big-screen televisions, and full wooden bar with fourteen beers on tap.
330 N. Tryon St., 704-333-4113
Place to watch UNC basketball
The walls are decked with signs and banners for every team around, but there's no question where the loyalties lie when “Tar Heel born, Tar Heel bred” blasts from the speakers before Carolina basketball games. It's usually standing room only by tip-off, but the twenty-three TVs spread around the bar and seating area ensure that everyone can see. Like any good sports bar, there are almost as many beers on tap as television screens and daily drink specials.
1301 East Blvd., 704-331-0133
Place to watch UNC play Duke in basketball
The Charlotte Carolina Club rents out the theater, kick-starts the bar, and broadcasts the game on a giant projection screen at center stage. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a 9 p.m. game, and the line starts to form by 5 p.m., because the 500 spots fill up fast. On the inside, authentic blue cups combine with the sea of blue jerseys to provide that special Franklin Street feel. That's Carolina blue, by the way. Duke fans are allowed, but it's decidedly enemy turf.
1615 Elizabeth Ave., 704-358-9200
Place to watch the Carolina Panthers
Do not make the mistake of arriving on time. Black-and-blue jerseys fill the place down to the last bar stool at least thirty minutes before kickoff, and nobody's leaving until the final whistle—unless it's another one of those days. With televisions packed into every available space, including an impressive collage of flat screens on the back wall, it's easy to keep tabs on all your fantasy players. There's always a special involving domestic bottles and a bucket of ice—delivered by an army of amazing waitresses clad in game-day apparel.
9609 N. Tryon St., 704-510-3999
Place to tailgate for Carolina Panthers game
Hartigan's Irish Pub
This old-fashioned pub with a faded brick exterior sits right in the shadow of Bank of America Stadium. The doors open at 11 a.m. on game day, and the place is usually packed by the time the taps start flowing
at noon. So is the parking lot outside, where you can bring your own or grab a $2 can of beer or $1 Jell-O shot. The pregame menu includes staples like nachos, burgers, and wings. At 4 p.m. the DJ arrives, and the party picks up again.
601 S. Cedar St., 704-347-1841