I would like to share with you an article I had the privaledge of writing for my dear friend. He runs a Fantasy sports blog that occasionally touches on food topics. He guest blogged a post for me recently and now it’s my chance to return the favor. I hope you enjoy.
The article originally was posted at DavidGonos.com
For all your soon to be Fantasy Football needs, I advise you give his site a look for valueable information.
How many more years do you think it will take for the Hallmark people, or if you’re a rich dude, the Papyrus people, to figure out that a Fantasy Football draft is actually a holiday? And where do you celebrate such a holiday? Where does one go for the best Fantasy Football Draft party?
As my draft looms right around the corner, my wife is becoming more and more cognizant of how important this is to me. She knows I won’t be useful in the weeks that lead up to my Sept. 2 draft. As the commissioner of my long running Memorial League, (A Memorial League is a league that pays tribute to a fallen soldier from the sports, entertainment or music Industries. Past examples include Michael Jackson, Randy the “Macho Man” Savage, Manute Bol, etc.) And much time is needed for preparations regarding Draft Day festivities.
I have to:
- Get verbal and monetary confirmations of participation.
- Study the rules and make any necessary changes, as well as make a spreadsheet for owners.
- Ask for time off work to recuperate.
- Think up cool team names that are appropriate to the theme.
- Make a draft board –
but most importantly …
- Reserve a location for the festivities.
Having fun is probably the only reason my friends come back each year. It sure isn’t for the money. That’s why it’s so important to pick a spot that is conducive for an ideal draft. Over the years I’ve tried many sports bars in the area I live in and none have really stuck.
There are some amazing places that you can go for your Fantasy Football Draft Party this year, depending on where you live. All you have to do is make sure that wherever you choose, the establishment provides amazing food, adequate beer selection, enough space for everyone and their paraphernalia, and a good atmosphere to make things memorable.
I’ve looked high and low, then east to west, searching out America’s best locations. Without further delay I present my:
2012 Best Fantasy Football Draft Party Locations Mock Draft
1. Lagasse’s Stadium – Las Vegas
I doubt Emeril spends much time keeping up on all the latest Fantasy Football trends. However, the people that run his empire sure know how to welcome us degenerates. Much like NYC, Las Vegas has no football team. But who wants to sit exposed to the elements at a live football game when you can bet on all of them from a comfy arm chair with a free adult beverage in your hand? This is the sports bar of your dreams, with more televisions than you can imagine, a great Emerilized menu and the ability to place a bet right inside the restaurant. But wait there’s more! You can even reserve a private skybox so you can use as much coarse language as necessary when your “friend” tries to offer up a less than savory trade proposal.
2. Foley’s – New York City
To me, New York City is Mecca. If I were to plan a trip specifically for me and my friends to hold a live draft, it would be here. And while technically, the city itself has no professional football franchise inside its island’s borders, it makes no difference to me or the other 3 billion residents of the five boroughs. To find the best location all you need to do is point your finger directly toward the Empire State Building. Then walk across the street and you’ll find Foley’s. Good food, great beer, tons of amazing memorabilia, old-timey urinals, big space in the back for a draft — and you can’t beat that it’s in the center of the universe.
3. Hottie Hawgs – Atlanta
BBQ must be considered when it comes to seeking out a possible ultimate Fantasy Football Draft Party location. And in this case, you have to weigh two factors. First off, Atlanta is super fun. It’s where the playas play. And we ride on them things like every day. Big beats, hit streets, see gangsta’s roamin. ‘And parties don’t stop til’ eight in the mornin’. And second, HottieHawgs has ridiculously incredible BBQ. Just about the best you’ll ever have. They also have a nice little private seating area with a tequila bar on the side that will make anyone passing by jealous that they didn’t think of the Hawg for their yearly pilgrimage.
4. Slaters 50/50 – San Diego
No, I’m not going to describe to you how amazing a 50/50 soda pop is. Although it is quite delicious, it’s not the same 50/50. And no, I’m not talking about the club Jose Canseco should be in if he took better steroids. The 50/50 I’m trying to talk about is the king burger joint of Saint Diego or as the German’s call it … you know the Anchorman reference right? It has won numerous accolades year after year and is definitely worthy of our praise. Their mission is to serve the best burger known to man. What do you think 50/50 means? If you guessed 50% beef and 50% bacon, you would be correct and probably be booking your tickets to SoCal on Priceline right now. They even encourage creativity in the form of toppings by inviting you to create your own burger with the help of their 75 or so condiments. I don’t know math, but that seems to be quite a lot of choices.
5. Senate – Cincinnati
You don’t have to commit strictly to hosting your Fantasy Football Draft at a sports bar per se. If you have a small level of sophistication, a gastropub might be a goldmine for you and your crew. Senate Pub is probably the best thing Cincinnati has going for it, other than drafting that red-headed freak from TCU last year. The food menu is impressive with selections ranging from the Lindsey Lohandog with goat cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula and balsamic, to a Lobster BLT with bourbon smoked bacon, basil aioli, paired with duck-fat fries. For dessert? Foie gras crème brûlée and brandied cherries, of course!
[Editor’s note: … It just moved.]
6. Public House – San Francisco
What you will first notice about Public House is the immense wall of kegs that separate the bar from the dining area. It really is quite impressive. To any beer lover, the quality of beers made available is one for the ages. Specializing in local brews, they have dozens on tap and even more in the bottle. They even have a special brew all their own: The Public House Billy Sunday Bitter. And the food matches the care put into the beer selection with a little help from Managing Chef Traci De Jardins, a multiple James Beard Award winner. (Winning a James Beard award is like winning the Cy Young Award for food.)
7. The Brickhouse Tavern and Tap – Tampa
How many other sports bars offer draft beer in so many different sizes? Pint, 20, 36, and 72 oz!?! Literally, you can get towers of beer! They even have 40s, micro- and mini-kegs. They offer quality brews — and lots of them. Everything you could ever want in a tavern is right in front of your eyes. The food is a cut above traditional pub food as well. With Kobe beef burgers, and fried chicken and waffles to boot. The atmosphere is very welcoming. Even my wife likes this place! If you go, ask your waitress for her baseball card. You might go home with a souvenir. They have various locations around the country, so this place might actually be near you!
8. Chickie’s and Pete’s – Philadelphia
Crab Fries! I don’t really know technically what they’re made of, but I want some right now! This place is kind of an anomaly to me since they tout themselves as a sports bar specializing in seafood. The two don’t usually mesh well. I think as Fantasy sports fans, one of our 10 commandments goes along the lines of “Thou shalt not have gross fingers when selecting Doug Martin in the third round.” Most of us, no doubt, need to have easy access to our iPhones or laptops when the draft gets heated. It’s kind of difficult when you’re reaching for a wet nap every 5 minutes. But combine great seafood, with something called a Lobster Cheesesteak, along with those world famous Crab fries, and you’ve earned yourself an exemption.
[Editor’s note: I actually had Chickie’s and Pete’s Crab Fries at Citizens Bank Park in Philly in 2009. They were pretty awesome! Basically, they are just regular French fries that have been dusted liberally with Old Bay seasoning, which is the main seasoning mix dumped into most crab boils. Oh, and I got the cheese sauce to dip the Crab fries in. I didn’t get fat on accident.]
9. Anchor Bar – Buffalo
You have to include the birthplace of Buffalo Wings in any sort of sports bar/food eating draft. Without the invention of the chicken and then the subsequent hot sauce bathed Drummy/Flapper discovery of 1964, most of these places on this list wouldn’t exist. Instead, you would have to hold your Fantasy Football Draft Party at a place like Stuckey’s or Perkins. So get this, not only did some old Italian lady invent — by accident — the most famous of bar foods, she also accidently created the perfect paring of blue cheese dressing and celery. Was she a genius or just an idiot savant?
10. Melt Bar and Grilled – Cleveland
Melt puts a new spin on the same old bar food and the often predictable selection of brews. It does so in a setting perfect for your Fantasy Drafting needs. If you think about it, isn’t grilled-cheese sandwiching a perfect activity during those tense moments in the war room? For the most part, they are neat and tidy in their own little package, filled with cheese, and most importantly, they have the ability to soak up all the alcohol you’re drinking too much of.
11. Mallies – Detroit
Maybe you are a hardcore Fantasy Football aficionado and enjoy punishing yourself with an occasional 24-team manly man super league. You say that’s impossible due to the fact that there aren’t enough QBs for every team to have a backup? Not my problem. The problem you’ll have is trying to find that one single menu item that can feed such a hungry group of obvious winners. Look no further. At Mallies, you can order what, as of right now, is the biggest hamburger in the world. Coming in at a William “The Refrigerator” Perry-like weight, the 338-lb. Guinness Burger can be yours for a modest $2,000. Don’t forget, Mallies delivers!!!
1.12 Auto Battery – Seattle
In a city like Seattle, there are so many other great things to do other than watch everyone’s favorite neon green sea bird stumble and bumble their way to mediocrity. You have got to have something special to pique the interest of Seattle sports fans. The food is really what is so inviting at Auto Battery. For starters, who would try and resist scarfing down some deep fried cheese curds, Cordon Bleu bites, or Wasabi Hot Dog Eggrolls? Or who would resist a deep fried Danger dog wrapped in bacon, fried onions and hot chili sauce? Not me. I won’t resist.
If you know somewhere that might be a better spot for a Fantasy Football Draft Party than any of these, we can go toe-to-toe on this most important of topics. Or maybe you’ve got a funny story involving drunken revelry at a past live draft. What say you?
Don’t forget to check out Davidgonos.com for all your hilarious yet informative Fantasy sports banter.