The formula for a successful sports bar and restaurant is a tricky thing to perfect. Some spots cater too much to die-hards, losing appeal for more casual fans. Others focus mostly on their beer and spirit selections—in order to keep patrons happy even when their teams are losing—while largely ignoring the quality of their food. They stick to your standard (read: boring, or, many times, just plain bad) "pub-grub."
However, Michael's Pizzeria and Tavern in Uptown hits the nail pretty close to the head. It is nothing fancy or pretentious, just your friendly neighborhood joint—an alternative to all the trendy, obnoxious places to go to on big game days. The modest red and green decor has a slight Italian feel, but you should feel welcome here no matter where you're coming from. Michael's claims to air over 4,000 sports events each year, so you should be able to watch your favorite local team while enjoying a beer and a slice of pizza. If you don't have a rooting interest, you can always occupy yourself with the pool table, juke box or video games.
Fans hit up Michael's for classic fried fare like onion rings, chicken wings and mozzarella sticks as well as gyros, pasta, salads and sandwiches. But people really come for the pizza, made with a "well-kept original family recipe." Order the classic variety, or try the Pizza Bianco (no tomato sauce). Michael's Special Taco Pizza, made with salsa, refried beans, cheddar cheese and ground beef and topped with black olives and sour cream, is a menu favorite. For one person, you are not likely to spend more than $10 on food, and a group can split an 18-inch pizza for approximately $20. Michael's also delivers seven days a week, catering to those who prefer sports enjoyment in the comfort of their own homes.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Paige Gray