Feb 26, 2024 - Food and Drink

Phoenix is a (sports) bar town

Sports bars per capita by metro area
Data: Yelp; Note: Among 112 metro areas with at least 500k residents; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Valley has a sports bar scene befitting a metro that's home to professional franchises, a large university with a popular athletics program and major sporting events.

Zoom in: The Phoenix area has 8.1 sports bars per 100,000 residents, ranking us 44th and putting us above the national average of 7.3, according to data from Yelp.

  • "Sports bars" were defined as establishments with that tag on Yelp.

Phoenix ranks ahead of most of its counterparts with MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL teams. Only Chicago (9.7), Denver (9) and Detroit (8.2) had more sports bars per 100,000 residents than the Valley.

The big picture: The presence of major franchises or events seems to bear little relation to the size of a city's sports bar scene.

  • The top city on the list was Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, whose 18.8 sports bars per 100,000 residents far outpaced second-place Las Vegas, with 15.1.
  • Omaha, Nebraska; Reno, Nevada; Milwaukee; and Madison, Wisconsin rounded out the other top slots.

The other side: You have to search extra hard for a good place to watch a game and grab a drink in Provo, Utah, which was at the bottom of the pack with just 1.4 per 100,000 residents.

  • Sports bars are also pretty thin on the ground in Ogden, Utah (2.7); Fresno, California (2.9) and Winston-Salem, North Carolina (3.3).

Between the lines: Yelp reviews dubbed north Scottsdale's Longshots Bar and Grill as the Valley's best sports bar.

Jeremy's thought bubble: I know this is an ASU town first and foremost, but we need more good UofA-centric sports bars in the Valley, especially since Arcadia Tavern closed down.

Editor's note: The headline on this story's bar chart has been corrected to reflect that the Yelp data concerns sports bars per 100,000 residents (not per capita).

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