By Kristin Owens

IT’S GAME DAY.

You can either sit on your lumpy couch and eat a stale bag of chips or venture out to a magical place with cheering people, delicious eats and cold drafts on tap, wearing your team colors alongside several dozen like-minded devotees. And whether winning or losing, you don’t have to explain the rules to the person next to you…they get it. We’ve reviewed the rosters and analyzed the stats: here’s where to get your game on.

C.B. & Potts

  • 1441 E. Horsetooth, Fort Collins
  • cbpotts.com

FACTS:

Here’s a traditional gathering point for any CSU sports fan. Alongside a golf course, it has all the trapping of a sports bar: TVs, sound systems, nachos…but C.B. & Potts offers a coach as well. On Mondays at 7 p.m., CSU football coach Steve Addazio hosts a radio show on all things Rams. Arrive early for happy hour pricing and first-come, first-served seating. Owner Kevin Sheesley is also a CSU alum and prior student-athlete, so assume a ton of green.

FOOD:

Chef and partner Scott Manning recommends the BBQ smoked on-site. The pulled pork, brisket and ribs are a huge hit with the patrons. Also ‘shareables’ like nachos, smoked chicken wings and a crispy cauliflower option served with delectable dips are enough to feed a dorm of hungry college students. Consider joining the Mug Club: for $35 get happy hour pricing anytime, $5 off growler fills and fun swag.

FANS:

Expect a strong Iowa State football crowd on Saturdays, and Pittsburgh Steeler fans on Sundays—so many they have their own room. Save October 8 on your calendar for an epic CSU homecoming party complete with fireworks.

Ryan’s Sports Grill

  • 925 E. Harmony, Fort Collins
  • rsport grill.com

FACTS:

Ryan’s has a 230-person capacity, 42 HD TVs, and is one of the busiest sports bars in Fort Collins. General manager Ty Anderson says his seasoned staff are the reason for returning customers. We agree. Their skill at juggling multiple orders, keeping tabs straight and settling everyone’s bill is always a home run. Plus, pool tables and video games for the kids allow parents to keep their eyes on the game.

FOOD:

The menu offers elevated food with healthy options like steak Caesar salads and veggie burgers in addition to their awesome wings and pizzas. Look for the return of the Bloody Mary bar from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the weekends, as well as breakfast all day long. Anderson says he’s “looking forward to normalcy with full seasons and full capacity.”

FANS:

Saturdays see a loyal Bison herd from North Dakota State and on Sundays, Ryan’s is an official Green Bay Packer bar. Anderson recommends arriving early to find a spot for your group and don’t be afraid to cheer.

Pumphouse Brewery

  • 540 Main St., Longmont
  • pumphousebrewery.com

FACTS:

Is it a bar? A brewery? A restaurant? It’s all three plus the Red Zone, a 250+ capacity sports area with 35 TVs. They show every NFL game and are “usually at capacity by 10:30 a.m. Sunday mornings,” says general manager and co-owner Ross Hagen. They’re celebrating 25 years in the biz, so be sure to check their website for special offers.

FOOD:

Hagen tries to cater to many tastes, resulting in an inventive menu including crispy mozzarella wontons and goat cheese bruschetta with humus. The crowd favorite is fish & chips made with their Flashpoint IPA batter. Game day specials include $4 mimosas, $4 Stoli Bloody Marys, $4 Jameson breakfast shots (Jameson whisky and butterscotch schnapps served with o.j. and a bacon strip), and a featured beer at $4/pint.

FANS:

College fans arrive all day Saturday, but on Sunday definitely expect Minnesota Vikings fans. A boatload takes over the Red Zone’s east side, with a smattering of Steeler and Packer fans to break up all the purple.

The G.O.A.T Sports Bar

  • 2514 46th St., Greeley
  • thegoatsportsbar.com

FACTS:

A new option to the NOCO scene, the locally-owned G.O.A.T. opened in February 2021. General manager Alex Larson is excited about the fall’s football lineup. They offer the NFL Ticket, Big 10, PAC 12, SEC…and a 200+ seating capacity. Boasting a 360-degree bar top, 36 HD TV screens afford fans great viewing, no matter where they’re seated. Simply find the TV labeled with your game of choice and settle in for four quarters, three periods or two halves.

FOOD:

Try their famous Wisconsin cheese curds and pretzel bites with homemade cheese dip. Happy hour is typically 1-5 p.m., but on weekends, it’s all day long offering $1 off drafts and wells, $1 off appetizers, $4 Bloody Marys, $3 Fireball shots and their special Red Beers—a light beer with tomato juice.

FANS:

Larson says they welcome all fans but anticipate big Nebraska and Alabama contingents congregating on Saturdays, complete with balloons and festive decorations.

Island Grill

  • 2601 S. Lemay, Fort Collins
  • islandgrillrestaurant.com

FACTS:

Yes, you’re in the right place. This tiki-laden, south sea-influenced, tropical paradise located in an unassuming strip mall is your opportunity to “vacation in the neighborhood,” says owner Kenny Kuk. With 140-seating capacity and 22 TVs, it’s been a sports bar for the last decade and knows its stuff.

FOOD:

An award-winning menu features ahi tuna salads with wasabi dressing, mammoth burgers and their iconic mahi-mahi fish tacos. Kuk calls it “casual cuisine with an island influence.” A gigantic tropical bar meets all your liquid needs. Happy hour is 3-7 p.m. and all-day Sunday. Check their website for creative daily specials like Monday’s buy-a-burger-get-a-beer deal.

FANS:

Look for a large Buckeye presence, because Ohio State followers roll in every Saturday. Expect hopeful Cleveland Browns fans on Sunday. And with no-cover live bands on Saturday night, you may want to spend the weekend.