Ask AOA: best bars to watch sports

hockey night in canadaE.J. emails:

My Canadian friend and I are interested in watching the season opener Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens game Thursday night, but we can't figure out what sports bars actually show hockey in the Albany area. Before I go ahead and call every sports bar in Albany is there anyone who knows of a hockey-friendly bar in the area?

We hope someone has ideas for E.J.'s hockey question -- but we're also going to widen this one a bit and ask about the best bars/restaurants to catch a game.

A suggestion to start: While we're not exactly a fan of the food, the Recovery Room in Albany has an absurd number of TVs.


Hill Street Cafe.

There's the sports bar at the Hilton Garden Inn on Hoosick Street in Troy. I think it's basically the same as the Recovery Room.

Haven't been there myself but I figured I'd throw it out there as a possibility.

Legends on Lark is a decent bar. The food is terrible though.

I've been wondering about this, too--it would be so fun to be surrounded by other hockey fans cheering, instead of shouting obscenities at my tiny tv alone in my living room!

Across the Street Pub on Western Ave - like most sports bars, they have multiple televisions - one is sure to be tuned into hockey.

BlackBear in Watervliet has decent food and a dozen plasmas
Oleary's in Troy just remodeled and put in 10+ plasmas and a 100" lcd.

Black Bear's food is pretty good, too. The bearclaw fries will feed a table well!

@Joe: bearclaw fries?

Tailgaters in Clifton Park is good they have a lot of TVs and decent food. Ravenswood is also a good place in Clifton Park though they have less TVs but better food.

Wolff's is the place for futbol in Albany hands down and I intend to be there for every match that the US plays in next Summer's world cup.

I have watched Canadiens games at the Recovery Room, they get the NHL package on tv!

Hockey is still a professional sport?! Huh. Elbow Room gets my vote.

Thanks for all the advice folks.

We ended up at Graney's on New Scotland, they don't get the NHL package but they had this one game on a preview.

I've been to Legends before, it's alright. But I have to check out Hill Street Cafe if LoseCanadiensLose is the vibe there! Leafs are going 81-0-1 this year!! woo!

Let's not all forget Sutters! Great burgers and Wings. The problem with places like the recovery room is that the food ... well ... it sucks.

if you're looking to catch more games, you could check Junior's on Madison next to Mahar's. They have a bunch of TVs, and if they have the NHL package and you're lucky and ask very nicely, you might be able to convince them to project it onto the big screen.

I agree with Erik... Legends is ok, but the food sucks. 9 bucks for nachos covered in movie theater nacho sauce? Really?

I had a bad experience last night at Justin's too. Same owner, no?

I watch games at Red's (formerly Ralph's). It's under new management and it is nice in there now. They got a bunch of new T.V.s, and even managed to get that permanent vomit spell out.

I always found that you're never going to convince places that are showing baseball or football to show hockey, regardless of who's playing. Invest in the Center Ice package at home. Then you get the local broadcasts. Plus, the food is better.

Legend's is good, but if you go during evening games the place can be too mobbed. Depending on what you order the food is OK (the salads and soups are actually pretty great). I wouldn't call it terrible- just basic (and maybe a little overpriced) pub food.

The Recovery Room is good, even though it has a bit of a TGI Fridays feel to it. There are flat screen TV's all over the place, and there's a little box at each table that lets you choose which TVs you want to hear the sound from. Decent menu too.

@Emily: Wait just one second.

You mean there's another Leafs fan in the Capital Region? Someone, who like I, loves the beloved Buds? I thought the nearest Leafs fans to here were somewhere in Peterborough, Ontario.

To answer the question, there used to be a place in Watervliet called the Arc that had individual televisions at each table. My friends and I used to go to watch Leafs playoff games there when I didn't have cable.

This problem is especially vexing to fans of Canadian teams. The big hockey network, Versus, generally only shows games between two U.S. teams to get a greater viewing share. The networks that have contracts with specific teams (e.g., MSG for the Rangers) will show these games, but you're then at the mercy of their schedule.

Go Leafs!

Oh, and thanks... now I've had the Hockey Night In Canada theme in my head for the past half hour.

Smokey Bones

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