Choosing a place to watch the Miami Dolphins, Florida Gators or any of your other favorite teams, all depends on the priorities. Are you a hard core fan? Looking for a place to go with the guys or somewhere to entertain the kids? Or what about a place nice enough for a date? Here are three Broward locations that offer dramatically different experiences. Select your favorite depending on who is joining you and whether your idea of game day food is burgers and chicken wings or ceviche.
- For the classiest game-watching experience, head to the new Yard House at Village of Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. On Monday nights, take advantage of Happy Hour specials all game long. With its dark woods and sleek interior, the atmosphere is such that even a date that doesn’t like football will enjoy the night out. But a warning for the serious football watcher, it can be challenging to hear the game over Yard House’s classic rock music. There are plenty of flat screen televisions, just be sure to grab a table near the game you’re trying to watch. Yard House’s signature is its selection of more than 100 beers. Plus, there’s a full bar. Can’t make up your mind? Try the six-pack beer sampler of the day or design your own sampler with tastes that cost a buck or two each.The food clearly outpaces the typical sports bar with a much more adventurous flavor profile. Think upscale comfort food with a gourmet touch. It’s a wide-ranging menu that offers everything from pizza and burgers to seafood, steaks and pastas. Vegetarians have a wide selection featuring Gardein, a soy protein. Truffle oil, parmesan cheese and parsley turn basic shoestring french fries into a decadent munchable. Shrimp ceviche spoons with mango papaya salsa offer a lighter, flavorful combination. The BBQ Bacon Cheddar burger skews upscale with applewood smoked bacon, rum-flavored barbecue sauce and roasted garlic aioli. The parmesan-crusted chicken covered with a sun-dried tomato and three-mushroom sauce is hearty and decadent.
- If you’re trying to catch a game on a weekend afternoon with the kids in tow, J.P. Mulligans in Pembroke Pines might be a good choice. There’s enough to keep them engaged so you can try to watch the action on the field. J.P. Mulligans’ diners get a full view of the Pembroke Pines ice arena. For a real break, let the kids skate while you enjoy the game. But there’s also a game room and pool table to keep older kids entertained. Each table includes small television screens that could be used for cartoons to keep the younger set busy. The place is small enough that you can see a number of televisions from one seat and the entire restaurant, so the kids can’t get far away. The menu focuses on the basics like burgers and wings, but there is also a selection of Irish and Mexican favorites. The burgers got a thumbs-up from our crew, who found them juicy and not too greasy. The chicken quesadilla included a good mix of peppers and onions. A light eater can make do with the half order, but anyone with a hearty appetite will need the double, which was pricey at $16.95 with chicken or steak. To make the night last a little longer, order a brownie sundae with four scoops of vanilla ice cream, brownie and chocolate fudge –more than enough for an entire table to share.
- This Hollywood institution is one of the rare places that have stood the test of time. Open since 1955, Rickey’s Restaurant and Lounge’s original Hollywood location is particularly popular among fans looking to watch the game. Over the years, Rickey’s has expanded and the two Pembroke Pines locations cater to a slightly more family-oriented crowd. The Hollywood location is definitely a no-frills operation that’s dark and not much on atmosphere. But it has affordable prices and a consistently solid execution on the basics. Rickey’s is known for its twin Maine lobster special and the chicken wings served with “world famous” sauce that packs just enough spice without setting your mouth on fire. They’ve freshened up the menu with pizza, a wider selection of burgers, more seafood options and sampler platters for sharing. The wings, burgers, ribs and steamed clams we tried were all solid fare. While we weren’t overwhelmed by the culinary creations, we didn’t leave disappointed.