The Sporting Life

Good sports bars (the real McCoys, the ones people really love) don’t just shove themselves in your face with an onslaught of blaring high-defs and overwrought menus—they connect people to their town with a genuine root-for-the-home-team goodwill. So pull up a chair: The game’s just getting started, and the hot wings are on the way.

 

TOP SHELF

SINNOTT’S LIL COOPERSTOWN PUB
What you’re drinking: Guinness
Like your grandpa’s hobby-room, nothing is out of place here. On the polished paneled walls, 8-by-10 glossies of bygone sports legends like Hall of Fame shortstop Ernie Banks and bruiser fullback Larry Csonka hang in spiffy dark wood frames. The nine TVs don’t waste time beaming in third-rate attractions like snowboarding X Gamers or no-name boxing matches. Instead, a crowd of Elks Clubbers, chain-smoking old ladies and assorted Northeast Portland locals, all of whom appear to make up the joint’s DNA, come nightly to watch the Big Game. Even when Sinnott’s is jumping, the waitress, who also pulls the lever on the bar’s 12 beer taps, takes the time to make everyone feel at home by remembering your name and your poison—and fashioning a clover in the foam head of your Guinness. (5851 NE Halsey St, 503-282-4440)


CHEERFUL TORTOISE
What you’re drinking: Turtle Dew
The staggering volume of beer that spills annually from mugs gripped by a perpetual circus of rookie upperclassmen should be enough to snuff out the life of all other bars on its own. But it’s the sheer diversity of the regulars who frequent this 50-year-old (give or take) joint that help it trump every other sports bar in town. In the shadow of PSU, there’s a certain rah-rah, college-kid vibe here that’s hard to shake—except when all those West Side urbanites walk in, followed by desk jockeys and haggard empty-nesters, all here to shout down the refs with one unified, liquefied voice. (1939 SW Sixth Ave, 503-224-3377) 

 

CLAUDIA’S
What you’re drinking: Terminal Gravity IPA
If you’ve just kicked back in a turquoise, tuck-and-roll captain’s chair at the bar, you’ve lucked into a prime spot for viewing the five flat-screens flickering overhead. During a commercial, however, it’s acceptable to swivel around and soak up the rowdy, clubhouse caterwaul hurtling out of the mouths of pizza-and-beer-slurping blue collars. What was that mother-scratching idiot referee thinking? Kobe, come on, get your head out of your ass! Hey Pete, let’s see that champion beagle! At which point the Westminster Dog Show comes on and everyone orders more Macho Nachos. (3006 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 503-232-1744)