NYC’s Best Bars For Watching March Madness

For sports fans, March is arguably the best month on the calendar. Besides baseball’s spring training and NBA and NHL teams’ push for the playoffs, the college basketball season culminates with a massive 68-team tournament beginning March 19th. It’s pretty much all the excitement of a full season compressed into three weeks, providing a sobering reminder that all those games you sat through the previous four months were virtually meaningless.

Seasoned fans know that getting the full March Madness experience involves two key elements: betting on the games and drinking. The two are closely related. The NCAA tournament comprises dozens of games, the outcomes of which can turn in a few tenths of a second. If you have money on the line, watching your team’s fortunes change that quickly will require something stiff to calm you down. And as the tournament progresses, inevitably you will find yourself knocked out of the running in your office pool when Norfolk State improbably upsets Kansas. That makes it even more crucial to find the right bar in which to lament your lost entry fee, cheer on your alma mater, and endure the rest of the marathon-like event with fellow fans.

There’s no shortage of venues showing the games, but many involve navigating through crowds of drunken alums and lists of watered-down beers that smell like an old pair of Chuck Taylors. Fortunately some hoops-friendly bars have plenty to offer even for those who don’t care to stay glued to the flat screens – like inventive pub fare, unusual cocktails, and a soundtrack that goes beyond Jock Jams Volume IV. Here are enough to sustain you to the Final Four. 

For Overall Atmosphere

Snap adds some sporting flair to an otherwise forgettable stretch of West 14th Street. With wallpaper depicting bare-knuckle boxers and mustachioed baseball players, the vibe harks back to a time long before the NCAA tournament’s birth. For those who prefer modern touches (or who are just too lazy to look up at the TV screens), Snap’s bar has a 20-foot-long score ticker built into it.

A welcome oasis in the Upper East Side’s bar scene, Bounce Sporting Club offers a lounge atmosphere, while managing to remain all about the basketball. Among other creative concoctions on the extensive cocktail list is the Hot Streak, a riff on a margarita featuring tequila infused with jalapeno.

Billing itself as an “upscale sports restaurant and lounge,” The Royal is a recent addition to Union Square. The idea is to dial up the sophistication beyond what you’d expect in other sports bars or even other kinds of bars in the neighborhood: Along with its 45 TVs, it brings a DJ, bottle service and even a surprisingly wide selection of gluten-free menu items.

For Food and Drinks

Mulholland’s has four other kinds of wings, but there’s no sense in trekking over to the Williamburg spot if you’re not going to try the Scorching Death variety. If you have even greater disdain for your arteries than your mouth and throat, the menu also has chili cheese nachos served on waffle fries and fried pickles. Then cool off with one of 22 tap beers on the patio, which thankfully has a TV.

In the shadow of City Hall stands Manhattan Proper, where you can dine on white truffle lobster ravioli while doing your best to suffer University of Florida fans. Fans of the classics can stick to the Proper Wings and Proper Burger. Just make sure to wash them down with a seasonal cocktail like the Revolver, which somehow seamlessly matches Bulleit rye and Kahlua.

With 40 flat screens, The Ainsworth is the best bet to catch the games in Chelsea. The sports theme makes the bar something of an anomaly in the neighborhood, but with six different kinds of sliders (including lobster and barbecue pulled pork), the menu will stand up well when the Elite 8 rolls around and you can’t take one more buffalo wing.

For Activities Other Than Watching Basketball

Unfortunately there are short periods during the tournament when no games are going on or—gasp—the ones that are being played just aren’t that exciting. If you’re worried about down time, put your name on the list for The Whiskey Brooklyn’s shuffleboard table, which promises stiffer competition than most 1-vs-16 seed matchups. Skee-Ball and video cornhole are also available while you wait for your turn.

Angry Wade’s stays just on the right side of being a traditional ballcap-and-greek letter-filled sports bar. While the Cobble Hill staple features four TVs behind the bar—which runs nearly the entire length of the room—many patrons come to play pool or darts, munch on free popcorn, or hold forth on the provocative, ever-changing artwork on the walls.

If you’re able to round up a critical mass of fellow alumni, Firefly has a party room with a private bar to keep you away from fans of those hateful other 67 teams. The bar also has a DJ spinning three nights a week.

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The Upscale Sportsbar: The Royal, Murray Bar, Sanctuary Ultra Lounge

American stadiums have gone from worn bleachers to luxury boxes. New York sports spots are on a similar game plan. Sticky floors and burnt nachos are giving way to leather banquettes and full-on cocktail programs. The sports bar has evolved into the sports lounge. Joints like The Ainsworth and The Windsor led the way, but The Royal, Murray Bar, and the upcoming Sanctuary Ultra Lounge (pictured) are hot on their heels.

Union Square’s The Royal takes a more regal approach than the sweatpants-fest of New York sports bars of yore. There are nightclub shades in the look, with smooth banquettes and modern lighting. Slabs of rustic wood nod to The Ainsworth and add some character. Sightlines are excellent, even at peak hours, thanks to state-of-the-art TVs posted up high. You’ll find elevation in the kitchen, too, from a Minetta Tavern hand. Grilled cheese upscales with mozzarella and brie wrapped in prosciutto. John Legend and Kris Humphries were among early guests. Many more boldfaced names will follow.

Murray Bar is a cheeky take on the sports lounge, put together by The Cash Bar peeps upstairs. The walls are brick and leather and the ceiling is pressed tin. Mason jars are deployed for a kitschy cocktail program. Yes, they’ve found a way to mix Gatorade and intoxicants. Joe DiMaggio is honored with vodka, Jägermeister, lemon-lime Gatorade, and Red Bull in the Joltin’ Joe. Other New York stars get more dubious recognition. L.T., Roger Clemens, and Darryl Strawberry are among the mug shots hanging in the hall of shame. In back there’s an Astroturf “Field of Dreams” for private parties. If you build it, they will come.

Covering the intimate end of the sports club spectrum is Sanctuary Ultra Lounge, coming soon from the HAVEN crew. The space fills a sleek nook behind the lobby of the Sanctuary Hotel. Leather, walnut, and Terrazzo provide accents, with the bar aglow in butter-yellow onyx. The kitchen does refined takes on comfort food. Sliders use Wagyu beef, while mac ‘n’ cheese upgrades with truffles. A smart cocktail list features drinks like the Smooth Criminal, with Johnny Walker Black, Domaine de Canton, lemon, and grenadine. High-def TVs discreetly morph into mirrors when the final whistle blows. An additional huge screen rolls down on the side. You’ve never really seen Colin Kaepernick kiss his biceps until you’ve seen it in 110” projection. Opening night will be Super Bowl Sunday, with a tailgate on the roof and Russian Standard models (and vodka) in the lounge. Best to make a reservation, because Ainsworth Park it ain’t.

Industry Insiders: Matt Shendell, President of Paige Hospitality Group

Two decades of experience in New York nightlife prepared Matt Shendell, president of Paige Hospitality Group, for the challenges of opening the Ainsworth, an upscale gastropub that has TVs for big games, but keeps them turned off at other times. The concept was a hit, and he’s keeping it going with other Ainsworth locations, as well as 121 Fulton in Tribeca. We chatted with Shendell to get the lowdown on his first job at a legendary nightclub and the delicate balance required to elevate the sports bar concept into something classier.

How did you get started in nightlife?

I got my first job working at Limelight, clicking at the door, in 1990. I started working there to make extra money, but I became enamored of the industry. I started doing some promoting, working doors here and there, then moved on to Danceteria. When I went away to college–I went to University of Delaware–I was supposed to go to law school, but I wanted to open a bar before I did that. So I opened a place called China White on 31st and Madison. It went really well. We blew up from there. We did a place called Shampu and kept going until we are where we are now. I always had an affinity for the business, and it went into the right direction. We winged it at the beginning but we had a nice following. On the opening night of China White in 1997 we had Derek Jeter, Marky Mark, and Cameron Diaz in attendance.

How did you learn how it all worked?

As far as operations go, we learned as we went. I don’t think we had ice when we first opened. Always plug your ice machine in two days before you open. Make sure there’s change in the registers. I learned everything on the fly. From there we opened a club called Nativa on 19th Street, and our first real food endeavor was called Dip, which was on 29th and Third. It was a fondue bar. Fondue had its moment for like a minute back then. The Food Network was there all the time. We turned that into the Hill.

And then you ventured out east?

We purchased Jet East in the Hamptons and made that Dune. For Dune, we partnered up with Noah (Tepperberg) and Jason (Strauss), the guys from Strategic Group who own Tao and Marquee. We made Dune the hottest nightclub in the Hamptons. Dune brought us to another level, and it was great to partner with those guys.

What’s the story behind the Ainsworth?

We decided in 2009 that we wanted to get in the big sports gastropub business. We got a space on 26th Street in Manhattan, which became the Ainsworth. That was when the whole brunch thing really took off. It turned Sunday football into a Sunday football brunch party, and now it’s the hottest party in the city. We made it a real food venue in the vein of the Breslinthe Spotted Pig, and the Dutch. You name it, we do it at the Ainsworth on 26th.

Is it all sports, all the time?

It’s more of an upscale gastropub with sports. The TV’s are only on during games. We turn them off at night. We’re not a regular sports bar. We want to have that dinner vibe that works for dates. Because of that, the Ainsworth has become one of the most successful bar/pubs in the city.

And you expanded from there?

We found a great spot next to the World Trade Center which became The Fulton. The legal name is 121 Fulton. We built a beautiful 6,000 square foot old world gastropub with lanterns and great design. We thought, let’s take the TV dining concept to the next level, let’s make the place beautiful but give it a sports duality. So we covered all our TV’s with antique mirrors and moldings. When you go to the Fulton and there’s not a big game on you don’t realize there are 40 TVs in there.

How did you find yourself in the men’s apparel business?

We decided to do something different. My right hand man and VP of the company, Brian Mazza, is very into fashion and style, and we are both into custom clothes. We realized that we had a very stylish crowd, so we thought, What kind of amenity can we offer them that would be a cool hook to our business? A bespoke, speakeasy-style, appointment-only custom men’s clothing shop. So beneath the Ainsworth we opened up Windsor Custom. Not only can you come to the Ainsworth, have a great dinner, and watch sports, you can also get measured and get bespoke clothes downstairs. It’s become a busy business, with custom suits and shirts. It’s a good amenity for our crowd, and right on brand for our clientele. We hired Ryan Grayson, who was a top guy at Ralph Lauren Made to Measure. Instead of a gimmick, it’s become a real business.

And you’re still active in the Hamptons, right?

After six years we got rid of Dune and opened up Southampton Social Club, a restaurant in Southampton. We partnered with the current owners, Ian Duke and David Hilty. What people really want to do in the Hamptons is sit outside for some alfresco dining and alfresco drinking, so that’s what we offer. Our first summer (summer 2012) was phenomenal. The food was great, there was great weather, and everything clicked.

And the Ainsworth brand keeps growing.

Yes, we wanted to expand the Ainsworth brand, and opened up Ainsworth Park. It’s 7,500 feet, with 65 televisions, all covered with mirrors. We do it classy, with oak molding and high-end details. Then we landed 3,500 feet in the lobby of the Hard Rock in Vegas for Ainsworth Vegas. We opened up Ainsworth Park and Ainsworth Vegas on the same day, September 5, 2012. That was a long day for me.

And you’re not taking a break any time soon.

We’re trying to open up The Chester, which is our newest brand. It’ll be a good brunch spot. But the goal now, in the next year, is to make sure these new places are great. I want to hone what we have.

You’re succeeding in a business where so many have tried and failed. What advice would you offer a young person looking to follow in your footsteps?

Stay calm and only make a move when your heart’s in it. Having a good team around you is important. You’ve got to learn to delegate. Hire great people and trust them.

Do you enjoy going out in New York? Then check out BlackBook’s New York Guide for all the best spots. Raise your nightlife game by downloading the BlackBook City Guides app for iPhone and Android. And to keep up on the hottest openings and events in New York, Miami, Chicago, and LA, sign up for BlackBook Happenings, a fun, informative, non-spammy email newsletter with the latest and greatest goings-on, delivered to your inbox every Monday.

Las Vegas Opening: The Ainsworth

Having conquered NYC from Chelsea to the FiDi, Paige Hospitality is going national with this epic outpost of their Ainsworth sports bar brand. The new Ainsworth is located in Vegas’ perpetually rocking Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and with its not insignificant 2300 square feet of space, big screen monitors practically everywhere you look, and classic gametime munchies like Philly sliders and tuna tartare tacos, it’s primed for massive gatherings of the sports fan tribes.

But here’s the thing that will get the ladies through the door: once the game clock runs out, it effortlessly morphs into a classy late night partying den, with its glittering chandeliers, stylish leather seating, dance tunes and bottle service. Hut!

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A Spirited Selection of Upscale New York Sports Bars to Watch (the Giants Win) the Super Bowl

On Sunday, the most important sporting event in the world will be held, assuming by "world" you mean "United States." This year’s Super Bowl is particularly significant, as it pits the Giants of East Rutherford, New Jersey New York against the Patriots of Foxborough, Massachusetts New England, two of the biggest television advertising markets most historically rich cities in the country. A list of Boston sports bars can be found here. As for my fair city, New York is filled with sports bars, but there are a handful of particularly upscale joints that break the lager-and-wings mold with fancy cocktails and haute cuisine – particularly important if you’re trying to make a date of it. Here are a few of our favorites. 

Bounce Sporting Club – Downtown

This upscale sports lounge attracts fans from far and wide with artisinal cocktails, delicious food, and more TVs than you can shake a thunderstick at.  In honor of the home team, order a Blueberi Bounce cocktail, which is made with Stoli Blueberi vodka, fresh lemon, smashed blueberries, and ginger ale.

Bounce Sporting Club – Uptown

The original location of Bounce strikes the perfect balance between clubhouse and fancy restaurant. If you wanted to watch the game and your better half was counting on date night, this is your spot. 


The sports bar reimagined as a nightclub. Clubby feel, football-leather banquettes, and sophisticated sips abound. 

The Ainsworth

This posh Chelsea sports bar has 40 flat screen TVs, along with miso duck spring rolls and 100-ounce beer tubes.

Warren 77

Sean Avery and Beatrice bloodlines make this about as trendy as sports bars get. Plenty of fun even if the Giants lose, not that there’s any chance of that happening. 

The Windsor

British-accented sports pub has Guinness-battered fish and chips and porn star martinis. Also, sports. 

The Fulton

Sophisticated sports bar way downtown goes the gastropub route with a killer menu and craft beers from here to eternity. 


Proving that fancy sports bar is not an oxymoron. Big screens and quality burgers will make you cheer. 


Party like a rap star while watching sports stars at Jay-Z’s super club. 

Village Pourhouse

This East Village sports mecca gets rowdy, but that’s to be expected when you’ve got 50 bottles and 24 draft beers going at any given time. A nice, comfy hang. 


Suit Up: Windsor Custom Opens Beneath the Ainsworth

For the modern man, the perfect suit is the holy grail. It reflects style without being garish, and embraces craftsmanship while still being affordable (hopefully). That’s basically the mission statement behind Windsor Custom, the new clubhouse-turned-tailor beneath The Ainsworth sports bar in Mahattan. Helmed by Florence-trained Brian Mazza (who has also worked with fellow menswear pros Generra), Ralph Lauren alum Ryan Grayson, and nightclub guru Matt Shendell, the custom suit spot opened its doors last night.

Housed in a studio that resembles a New England hunting lodge and designed by Grayson, guys are invited to visit, get fitted, have some whiskey, and play pool, all while creating their own made-to-measure suit, shirting, tie, pocket square, and jacket (clients already include chef Todd English, Ranger’s player Brandon Prust and Steelers’ lineman Willie Colon). The kicker is the bespoke details: embroidered initials, in-sewn personalized labels, and hundreds of fabrics to select from to ensure each jacket is tailored uniquely for its owner. We caught up with Mazza and Grayson to talk about how the suit-curious can score their own custom pieces, the art of the lapel, and the one mistake every guy makes when it comes to his suit.

So who can come down here? How do you get an appointment?
Grayson: We are by appointment only, and you get an hour to come down, relax and have a drink. It only takes me five minutes to measure you up, so you can come down and do some work or bring some friends down here to hang out or get fitted, too. We take all your measurements and then discuss the fit you want. You have a different collar and cuff option.

Let’s say we just wanted to come for a really great work shirt. Is that cool?
Grayson: Absolutely. We don’t have a minimum. We don’t mind if a guy wants to just come down here and try it out. We talk about how your current style is, and how we can help to add to it. 
Mazza: We take into consideration what your profession is, whether you like to wear your shirt in or out, what colors you like. There are a lot of clients that already understand fashion, and a lot of clients that don’t. And we want to cater to both.
Grayson: And we really like to upgrade your wardrobe. Push some boundaries and encourage guys to get away from the blue shirt. 

So the idea is that you can get stuff here that you can’t get anywhere else?
Mazza: All of these fabrics are unique. Our prices start at $120 for shirts. Everything is specifically made for the client: monograms, cuffs, inseams. You can even design the music here, if you want to bring your iPod. 
Grayson: The suits we are each wearing are in the same price range. But I chose a wide lapel and Brian chose a narrow lapel. 
Mazza: I’m a little Simon Spurr, he’s a little Tom Ford.

Would you say there is an element of education here?
Mazza: For sure. I wanted to create an experience for the man who felt insecure shopping the racks at Barney’s, and for the guy who knows what he wants. In every guy there is style, and we just need to find it. And we hope to bring it out by ordering food, putting on the game, and serving drinks. Before you know it, they come out of their shell.

OK, it’s the season, so we’ve got to ask: What are some good holiday dressing tips?
Mazza: A dark plum shirt with a white collar and a grey tie and you’re golden. I go against tips, because I will wear any color in any season because I feel comfortable.
Grayson: Though, some guys, I have noticed, overly clean their suits. You shouldn’t dry-clean suits too much. It really wears down the fabric.
Mazza: Hunter rain boots under suits. Never wear your shoes outside in the winter, just carry them in your shoe bag. Also, for our banker types, we like to mix blue with a gingham to make shirting more interesting, and then they can dumb it down a little with a straightforward tie.

Bounce Sporting Club’s Cole Bernard on Gaming Season

With football season in full swing and the World Series starting tonight, nightlife people are pondering where to watch the game. Three venues standout as places where women will be comfortable and therefore plentiful: The Ainsworth, Snap, and Bounce are not your dad’s sports bars. More amenities, fewer beer bellies. My marching orders when designing Snap were to make a joint where guys could feel right about taking or making a date.

These places charge more for a drink than the traditional joints and have menus which have strayed far from classic bar menus. Burgers and fries can be had but expect things like truffle oil and words like sliders. If you are of the “real men don’t use truffle oil” variety, then these joints aren’t for you, and you probably aren’t reading this anyway. I caught up with Cole Bernard who, along with Yosi Benvenisti and Benny Silman, owns Bounce Restaurant & Sports Lounge.

SL) This place is a hit. Everybody’s talking about it. How the hell did you get into the sports bar business from what you were doing?

CB: Prior to Bounce I was doing a couple venues. The last couple years, I had this place where Bounce Sporting Club is currently. it was called Porky’s, and I transformed it into The Lot. Seven years ago, this Block — 21st Street between fifth and sixth — was completely different. It was commercial; it was nightlife driven. There wasn’t a lot going on around here before 9 or 10pm. Over the last couple years, as the city changed, a lot of residential came into the neighborhood, a lot of big businesses, so I had to kind of change with the times. Over the last couple years, the city has taken a big step in terms of sport’s bars. They’re becoming extremely popular. This neighborhood was lacking a great sports bar with a good menu for lunch and dinner, so that was one of my main goals, to put one here. After The Lot, I opened a space called The Eldridge, on the Lower East Side, with Matt Levine, and after that, in 2008, as you know, Steve you did a project for me on Rivington between Attorney and Clinton called Red Velvet, which was a small little cocktail lounge on the Lower East Side, and now I’m focusing on this big boy on 21St.

SL: I like the space. As you know I designed the Snap sports bar on 14th St. That was the first sports bar I designed. It has its own set of rules the spacing’s very different in a sports bar than it is in a regular bar or club. You need more distance and more… well you’re dealing with much bigger groups. Sightlines and of course TV locations also dictate the layout. The thing that I did there, and what I see around me here at Bounce, is that this is an extremely woman-friendly sports bar, without being too feminine… I mean, it’s a sports bar, but it’s very woman-friendly. What are the specific things done to make girls like it? To make them feel comfortable here?

CB: The lay out of the room… well, sports bars are known for being packed on Saturdays and Sundays for football, and the layout of the room, it makes it very friendly and comfortable. You know, when you’re eating, it was something that we were going for. The design and the layout, making it very comfortable for when you’re coming in for lunch, dinner, sitting here all day long, for Saturday and Sunday football, the room is not overwhelming, it’s a very soft and comfortable space.

SL: You have a DJ booth.

CB: DJ booth, as well.

SL: Talk to me about that horrible P-word, a word that you will never own up to: promoter. You were actually a promoter.

CB: In my day…

SL: But you did your time, and they let you out. CB: Yep.

SL: But tell me about promoters, is this going to be promoter driven on nights?

CB: Definitely not. It’s going to be geared towards post 10pm, 11 pm. I mean, for the month of September, I went with all 4AM DJs.

SL: I’m a 4AM DJ.

CB: There ya go! Well, big shout-out to Adam Alpert. I gave 4AM the month of September: Brooklyn Don, Theory, Ani Quinn.

SL: How do you know what to play when you have multiple events going on?

CB: That’s always difficult. Example: Sunday football. You always want to play the primetime game. So, if there’s a Jets game going on, or there’s an Eagles game going on, or a Dolphins game going on, primarily we’re always going to be playing a Giants game or a Jets game. We don’t favor really either team, we’re both. We’re both a Jets bar and a Giants bar.

SL: Hmmm, did you actually talk about the place being women-friendly?

CB: No, I didn’t.

SL: How did you make this place woman-friendly?

CB: That’s a great question…

SL: Let’s ask this anonymous woman sitting near us. Why do you feel more comfortable here than at a typical sports bar

AW: Well, I think with typical sports bars, you loose your attention and get bored of watching the game. At Bounce they place music during commercials, they play music over the game sometimes, and it’s still entertaining. You can sit at a table and talk to someone, and then get up and dance.

SL: Is it less frat boy?

AW: It’s more upscale. It’s less fratty. It’s more sophisticated, but it doubles as a nightclub, so it’s not so boring for girls who aren’t that into sports.

SL: And there’s enough women here so you don’t feel like it’s a male-dominated environment.

AW: Right. It’s a great mix.

SL: It’s not as bottle driven as many of your other ventures. It’s drinks, it’s beer, it’s the pairing of beers with food… CB: 100%.

SL: So the revenue streams are different. You’re also game-dependent to a large degree. Baseball season is certainly not as lucrative as football season.

CB: 100%.

SL: How have you switched your mentality from promotion to having the patience to deal with a sports bar?

CB: Well, if you come in here on Sunday for football, you kind of see the difference between the Bounce atmosphere and another typical sports bar atmosphere. The bounce concept has a little bit more of a party atmosphere mixed in with the sports, so for example on Sundays, we’re not playing the sound with the game unless it’s a primetime game. I have a DJ going on commercials, half-time.

SL: I’m looking at a menu that would take me about fifteen minutes to read, but it’s a really good menu. You’ve got some of my favorite things here. I mean, deviled eggs trio with lobster jalapeno, bacon, and eggs… that’s pretty hot. It’s not your typical burger/fries sports joint.

CB: Definitely isn’t.

SL: Talk to me about the menu, and how you merged a traditional sports bar menu with the needs of your crowd. You’ve got roasted organic chicken, soup and sandwichs, flatbreads, salads…

CB: The menu was put together by Sean Olnowich, he’s our executive chef. He designed the menu at our sister location, Vero, and he’s the executive chef and partner at The House, which is in Gramercy, on Irving. With this space, we needed to create a menu that was, as you said, woman-friendly and neighborhood friendly. A typical sports bar is known for having fried, greasy foods, so we wanted to stay away from that. There’s a lot of sharing items on the menu.

SL: There’s Matt Shendell over at the Ainsworth, there’s Matt Isaacs at Snap. Do you ever feel that you should change your name to Matt? What I’m really asking is, you’ve got these people that come from clubs, who’ve turned to sports bars, and I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg. You’ve got guys who are traditionally not into this now getting into it and the revenues are… well these places are doing very well. Snap’s packed, Ainsworth slammed, you’re packed. Do you see sports being part of regular clubs and more of the club owner types getting going into this?

CB: 100%. With this space, we wanted to create a hybrid. Number one it’s restaurant, number two sports bar, and number three, nightlife. We wanted to create a space that’s capable of doing multiple things. I do see the city starting to turn towards sports bars. They’re more maintainable, manageable, and everyone loves sports, so they’re easier to cater to.

SL: You’re talking to someone who has never seen a football game.

CB: Really. Can I take you to your first Jets game?

SL: I’ve never desired to. I used to entertain all these guys at my clubs, I’d get free tickets all the time, but I spend my Sundays at flea markets, museums, and antique stores

CB: Well Bounce is gonna have to take you to your first football game.

SL: Eh, I dunno. It’s tough. I just don’t get it. I mean, I understand the game… I actually watch highlights sometimes, but I couldn’t name ten football players. I don’t know who the quarterback of the NY Giants is.

CB: Eli Manning.

SL: See, I did know that. And I know who Mark Sanchez is, because he does a lot of commercials. But after that, I don’ t think I could name another football player in the National Football League, and I’m kind of happy about that. Can a person like me have fun at Bounce?

CB: 100%, for a sports bar. Like I said earlier, it’s not your typical sports bar. There’s more of a party atmosphere going on, and a great menu.

Industry Insiders: Matt Shendell, Club Creator

At 33 years of age, Matt Shendell is a veteran by nightlife standards. The club and restaurant owner began his impressive career at 17 as a promoter and doorman, and has since tried his hand at multiple stations in the fluctuating business. From his first venue, Chinawhite, which opened in New York in 1998, to Southampton mecca Dune, to his new DUMBO outpost, Pub One, Shendell has used his experience to create hyper-current and markedly New York-centric hotspots. Here, he gives a brief rundown of his rise to the top and his predictions for the next wave of nightlife trends.

On his main draw to nightlife: Nightlife is something I’ve been involved in since I was 17. I’ve always been intrigued by it and I’ve worked as a doorman, bartender, and pretty much every other position in the industry. After opening up our first place in 1998, everything we did — including Dip and our sports bar The Hill — became bigger and better. We were good at it, and kept being successful, so we kept going. It’s an interesting and exciting business, and we’ve been lucky to always have a great team to help us.

On New York nightlife, as it was and as it will be: The big clubs have had their day, but I don’t think they’re in anymore. New York City is oversaturated with touristy, bridge-and-tunnel places. Gastro-pubs like The Breslin and The Spotted Pig are the next wave. For example, what we did with The Ainsworth – the comfort food and British pub style — that’s what you’re going to see in the next five, ten years.

On the most challenging part of the job: There are two things that stand out. One is dealing with the staffing, personalities, and finding the right people. There’s a high turnover in my business, so dealing with that can be a little crazy. Secondly, loss prevention, theft, and watching the money is another big battle.

On Dune and the Hamptons: Originally it was called Jet East and then Cain the first year we bought it, but it’s been Dune ever since. We came up with Axe Lounge one summer — a marketing partnership with Axe Body Spray – with the help of our marketing partners, Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss of Strategic Group. We’ve kicked around Dune for expansion, but it’s more Hamptons-specific. I don’t know if it’s a brand you can just place anywhere. I don’t think you could put a Dune in Chicago and have it be a hit just because it was Dune in the Hamptons.

On his latest, Pub One: We opened up Pub One in DUMBO three weeks ago. It’s going to be a relaxed sports bar – a smaller version of The Ainsworth, which is 6,000 square feet with 25 foot ceilings. It’s going to be a real neighborhood haunt, a comfortable spot with antique lighting, wood paneled walls, and over ten specialty burgers. We want it to be a real neighborhood staple where you can watch the game and have great food and great drinks. We’re also looking to open one in Manhattan, to expand the Pub One brand. Maybe we’ll do something big with The Ainsworth in a casino destination like Atlantic City or Las Vegas, but Pub One is a newer entity that we really want to get behind. We’re also looking at a place in Nolita, which we should close on soon.

New York: The Best Places to Watch Tiger Tee-Off

It’s time to strategically plan your lunch breaks, people! Tomorrow, at precisely 1:42 p.m. Tiger Woods will try to put the past behind him with a single swing of his golf club. CBS president Sean McManus compared Tiger’s return to the Obama inauguration in terms of media coverage and audiences, and while he might be overshooting a little, we get his point. The Tiger Woods scandal has engulfed the national psyche for the last four months, and tomorrow serves as a climax of sorts. After this weekend, it’ll be business as usual for the world’s best golfer. You could easily stream tomorrow’s event from your desk, but this is a sporting event, and tradition states that they should be watched from establishments with liquor licenses. If you’re in New York, and frankly who isn’t, here’s where you should be watching the festivities.

Rick’s Cabaret: With as many flatscreens as there are strippers, this is the perfect mix of sports in sex. In other words, it’s Tiger Woods in strip club form. (The food ain’t bad either.) 40/40: The perfect mix of sports bar and the same kind of bottle service sleaze that got Tiger in this mess in the first place. The Ainsworth: For those of you whose offices are located in Chelsea or Flatiron, there is enough space and enough flatscreens to leave all views unobstructed. ESPN Zone: If it weren’t for ESPN, you wouldn’t even be watching, so pay them back by buying a beer and basket of potato skins, just to show your gratitude.