Want to join friends in cheering on Cam and crew as they lead the Carolina Panthers to another football victory? Or, maybe you need a prime viewing spot as you and your fellow Tar Heel basketball fans gather to goad on friends who wear Duke gear? Have no fear. There's plenty of scoring to be done when it comes to the Charlotte area's sports-bar scene, as these 11 hot spots attest. So grab some friends and come hungry, these are favorite places to watch football, basketball and other sports in Charlotte:
Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse
What began in 2004 as a spot in Mooresville at which to grab a Philly cheesesteak morphed into a bar, and the locally owned and operated concept proved so popular that Duckworth's would open another location, and then another.
A sleek Uptown spot that opened last spring became Duckworth's fifth Charlotte-area location, and its largest, at Seventh and Tryon streets. The three-story, 15,000-square-foot sports sanctuary offers no fewer than 180 TVs and 150 taps for beer lovers, but more important, the cheesesteaks still reign supreme, along with wings, burgers and pizza.
Those wanting something a little more removed from the loud sports crowd can just venture downstairs to The Cellar at Duckworth's, which offers a shared-plates-style menu with such items as smoked-salmon flatbread, char-grilled oysters and espresso-rubbed lamb carpaccio, in addition to classical jazz in the background. 330 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC, 980.939.1166
In the backyard of Bank of America Stadium, and also close to Time Warner Cable Arena where the Charlotte Hornets play, is this restaurant that puts as much emphasis on its upscale food as it does its prominently placed, 60-inch HDTVs , its 40 craft beers on tap and its specialty cocktails that are served in Mason jars.
Instead of washing down wings and pizza here, you'll instead enjoy—with the Charlotte Clemson Club that meets here—coach Dabo Swinney's and team's latest win by chasing a seared tuna, a mahimahi taco, a plate of duck confit or steak on kabobs with a tasty moscow mule. 601 S Cedar St., Charlotte, NC, 704.375.7566
Sports One Bar and Lounge
This is another regarded Uptown sports bar—Charlotte magazine in spring 2015 named it the city's best new bar. Sports One's ownership includes Peter Thomas, of Bravo’s "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" (where he happens to frequent a nightspot known as Bar One). The décor is upscale, and the food here, too, is better than what some might expect at a bar. Think grilled shrimp skewers for "pre-game" (appetizer), or blackened tilapia or a 10-ounce Angus rib-eye for the "main event," followed by warm apple crumble with ice cream for the "post-game" celebration. 521 N. College St., Charlotte, NC, 704.733.9962
Dilworth Neighborhood Grille
This Dilworth hot spot is spacious, providing five areas in which crowds can gather and several dozen big-screen TVs. On college game days, it becomes a melting pot, just like Charlotte, with alumni from such schools as West Virginia, Michigan State, Tennessee, NC State and Auburn gathering to support their teams. Popular menu items include blackened chicken nachos with salsa and queso; for lighter options, try build-your-own salads or The Berkeley, which features Alaska salmon slightly blackened atop fresh spinach. 911 Morehead St., Charlotte, NC, 704.377.3808
Picasso’s Sports Cafe
There's nothing wrong with wings and pizza at a sports bar, you say? So do the readers of Charlotte's traditional newspaper and its weekly alternative magazine, both of which have lauded Picasso's with a "best wings" tag. The restaurant also serves a $7.99 pizza lunch buffet Mon-Fri, plus such bar comfort food as homemade chili, bacon cheese fries and fried mushrooms. In addition to the big games on TV, the University neighborhood bar beams such weekly specials as poker, trivia and karaoke nights. 230 E. WT Harris Blvd., Charlotte, NC, 704.595.9553
Jocks & Jills Sports Grill
This sports bar just southeast of Charlotte Douglas International Airport opened nearly 20 years ago to much acclaim. Maybe 100 HDTVs and plenty of local sports memorabilia indoors, along with a heated and covered patio outdoors, had something to do with that. But wings served nine ways, baby-back ribs, jumbo fried shrimp and a number of healthy salads most likely continue to appeal to the Queen City's jock-and-jill masses, too. 4109 Southstream Blvd., Charlotte, NC, 704.423.0001
Boardwalk Billy's Raw Bar & Ribs
Raise a glass to the flat-screen action and enjoy some classic bar bites, including ribs and a raw bar, at the University Shoppes’ Boardwalk Billy’s, 9005 J.M. Keynes Drive. (There's also a second location in the Matthews area.)
While a full complement of TVs beaming live sports action surround you in the Billy's beach vibe (it does sit beside a small, rustic lake, thank you), order from a varied menu that includes coconut shrimp, fried pickle chips and wings for starters and smoked St. Louis-style ribs, beer-can chicken, crab legs, oysters, burgers and other sandwiches, tacos and wraps for the main course.
A large beer selection includes several regional crafts, such as Olde Mecklenburg's Mecktoberfest and Atlanta's Sweetwater, and bloody mary and mimosa specials are frequent. Entertainment specials include live music, DJs and trivia nights. 9005 J M Keynes Drive, Charlotte, NC (University neighborhood), 704.503.7424; 1636 Sardis Road North, Charlotte, NC, 704.814.7427
Sweetwater Sports Bar & Grill
The name here might have more to do with its proximity to the popular recreational Lake Wylie, but yes, Atlanta's Sweetwater 420 is among a dozen craft beers on tap, all of which are available in take-home growlers, too. Sweetwater serves more than 60 bottled beers in all, including such more widely known brands as Newcastle, along with such unique flavors to try, such as Rouge Mocha Porter from Newport, Oregon. Peel-and-eat shrimp, high-piled nachos and crispy fried pickles are among the appetizers, and such entrées as burgers, wings, sandwiches, wraps and salads come in healthy portions, too. 4582 Charlotte Hwy., Lake Wylie, SC, 803.831.1788
With more than 20 locations in the Southeast, six of them in the Charlotte area, the Hickory offers a huge selection of bar-food favorites and ups things a notch with such "butcher shop specialties" as a 12-ounce Delmonico steak and such "skinny plates" as a 4-ounce Greek chicken breast over yellow rice. The Metropolitan spot just south of Uptown is a favorite for Panther and Charlotte Knights fans alike. 1100 Metropolitan Ave., Charlotte, NC, 704.334.5155
Two friends from Buffalo, New York, started this chain in Atlanta in 1979, along with the expectation that the wings should be good. The wings apparently delivered, as "T.Mac" now sports 30-plus locations across the Southeast, including three in the Charlotte area. Fifty-plus HDTVs and 100-plus kinds of beer at each location have been a part of the winning combination, too. The SouthPark location is the Queen City's largest, boasting 69 TVs and more than 340 beers. And it’s always packed. 4625 Piedmont Row Drive (South Park area), Charlotte, NC, 704.972.0503; 517 University Center Blvd., Charlotte, NC, 704.717.7083; 8700 Sam Furr Road, Huntersville, NC, 704.897.1315