A good sports bar serves as a getaway for guys, maybe a day to escape from a stressful job or a taxing relationship, and surely a day to immerse yourself in a game no one will pay to see you play.
But what, exactly, are the finer details of a solid sports bar?
These are the most common requirements of the friends I surveyed:
1. A place that can show a variety of sports, with enough televisions so everyone in the bar can watch.
2. Hot women, no matter if they are customers or employees, and a combination of both is always best.
3. Food and drink specials.
4. An atmosphere in which sports is the dominant topic of discussion.
We figured we’d better get this post done now because Colombia just qualified for the World Cup, and before you know it, it’ll be Super Bowl Sunday, and March Madness will follow, and so on, and did you see the Boston Red Sox win the 2013 World Series?
Well let’s talk about the best sports bars in Medellín.
Not only does Mahalo Action Sports Café have all four of the qualities I listed above, it’s got a huge bonus: it’s part of a park where you can play paintball, skateboard on a small halfpipe, or ride a bike on some nearby trails in the eastern hills of Envigado.
I haven’t done any of those things. In fact, I haven’t even watched a game there yet. I was so late to see the Barcelona-Real Madrid match, it was over when I got there.
I did eat some great food, though. I had the parma, a dish supposedly popular in Australia, breaded chicken topped with cheese and other things. I ordered mine with ham and spinach and mushrooms.
I talked a lot with Xavi, the owner, when I was there and found out that he is a surfing enthusiast who has done so all over the world, hence the name, “Mahalo,” Hawaiian for “thank you.”
I later went back for the Halloween party, which you will read about soon enough, but I think I’ve made my point: don’t let the distance deter you; this is a great place.
You’ll notice that there are a lot of places in Laureles today that offer wings and show sports, mainly fútbol, what the folks in the states call soccer.
I’ve tried them all and the one I like the best, hands down, is Vértigo.
The wings are great, the specials are better and the overall experience will bring you back again and again.
If you go with a buddy, get the 18-wing special, which comes with three sauces and a saucer full of potatoes, celery and carrots, plus two 3 Cordilleras beers on the site. For 44,900 pesos (about $23), it’s a great deal.
If you’re looking to continue the party into the late night hours, check El Grifo next door. It’s the only club I know that is known for a combo of rock and salsa music.
I always thought this place would be No. 1, especially after I had such a good time watching football here when my sister was visiting from Los Angeles. But there’s no shame in being a close second, and subsequently, the best sports bar near Parque Lleras, the city’s biggest tourist hub.
Another stop on my 2013 Halloween adventure, I also went there to watch an Australian Rules Football game with some of my Aussie friends.
I don’t remember the game. I was too busy getting to know my new friends.
I only remember a festive atmosphere, friendly staff and filling nachos. It sufficed.
I had walked past this place about two dozen times before deciding to go, and only because some new friends really wanted to on one of their last nights going out in Parque Lleras.
I learned a few things that night.
Hooters in the United States: maybe one or two pretty waitresses, average to terrible food, way overpriced.
Hooters in Medellín: mostly pretty waitresses, above average to good food, justly priced.
But my favorite memory of this place will be the one that I captured digitally, the one with Patrick grinning like he won the lottery and Scott letting some of his shyness slip away.
5. Wing Zone
There are three other wing restaurants within a half-mile radius of Wing Zone so I think it’s pretty obvious which one I like best.
My roommate convinced me to go with him one day, and I thought it was only because he was happy that several of the pretty waitresses invited him to go out.
Turns out the food is good too. I love the boneless wings. And the atmosphere is great for watching sports.
On those days that I want to go somewhere to watch sports but don’t feel like going too far from my Laureles apartment, this will be my go-to spot.