We love nachos, wings, and sliders, but sometimes we yearn for more elevated fare when we’re hanging out at the bar. Thankfully, chefs are coming to the rescue by putting high-end spins on some of our favorite sports bar foods. Here are 12 restaurants for bar snacks that are next-level. Need to watch the big game while you nosh? Don’t miss our round-up of restaurants for sports lovers. And, even if you’re not near any of these spots, you can always find the right restaurant on OpenTable.com for any occasion or craving.
The Smith–U Street, Washington, D.C.
What could possibly make a mound of freshly fried potato chips taste even better? Dousing them with blue cheese fondue, of course! Betcha can’t eat just one. Make a reservation at The Smith–U Street.
Bud & Marilyn’s, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nashville hot buns taste as sassy as they sound. Fried hot chicken is dressed up with ranch, pickles, and pickle brine slaw. All that’s missing is the honky-tonk soundtrack. Make a reservation at Bud & Marilyn’s.
BeetleCat, Atlanta Georgia
Double deep-frying chicken wings keeps them crispy and light. They’re tossed in chili sauce to add a punch of pepper. Sesame buttermilk dressing arrives on the side for dunking. Make a reservation at BeetleCat.
Azabu, Miami Beach, Florida
Generous chunks of slipper lobster get tempura battered and frizzled golden. Dip the savory orbs into spicy mayo and roll them in tiny rice cracker pearls. Guaranteed to be the bite of the night. Make a reservation at Azabu.
Merriman’s Fish House, Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii
You’ve never had a quesadilla like this. That’s because it’s packed with Kalua pig and sweet onions. Plunge a triangle into the memorable kimchi mango sweet chili sauce. Make a reservation at Merriman’s Fish House.
Del Frisco’s Grille, Rockville, Maryland
This reminds us of the fancy baked brie mom used to make for her book club back in the day. In this modernized iteration, a round of warm goat cheese is topped with pomegranate seeds, roasted dates, apricot jam, and crushed pistachios. Mom would surely approve. Make a reservation at Del Frisco’s Grille.
Mirabelle, Washington, D.C.
These aren’t your average tacos. The shells are made from dried bananas and then filled with foie gras parfait and gooseberry preserves. Guaranteed to elevate your #TacoTuesday game. Make a reservation at Mirabelle.
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
American Wagyu is the foundation of this hot dog inspired by Korean galbi barbecue. The ballpark play features pickled vegetables and chili paste instead of the usual mustard and relish. It’s a home run! Make a reservation at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar.
Westlight, Brooklyn, New York
Potato skins get kicked up a notch – or two. They’re topped off with Kaluga caviar and a dollop of yuzu-accented Hollandaise. Talk about ova the top! Make a reservation at Westlight.
Circa–Chinatown, Washington, D.C.
The poke trend knows no cultural boundaries. Case in point: these tuna poke nachos dressed up with sesame ginger marinade, wasabi avocado cream, tobiko, pickled ginger aioli, wonton chips, roasted nori, and sesame seeds. Please don’t try to eat them with chopsticks. Make a reservation at Circa–Chinatown.
Culinary Dropout, Austin, Texas
This is our go-to app when we cancel the day and wallow in carbs. Sea-salted pretzel balls are baked to perfection and served with provolone fondue. Suddenly, things don’t seem so bad after all. Make a reservation at Culinary Dropout.
Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Las Vegas, Nevada
Don’t pass on this pu pu platter. The epic spread includes sesame shrimp skewers, chicken kebabs, spare ribs, barbecue chicken wings, fried oysters, and Chinese duck egg rolls. Better call a friend! Make a reservation at Blue Ribbon Brasserie.
Have you been to any of these restaurants for bar snacks that are next-level? Let us know in the comments or over on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Ryan Scott (Bud & Marilyn’s); Andrew Isabella (BeetleCat); Noah Fecks (Westlight).