Saturday, May 25, 2024

You Don’t Have to Go to a Sports Bar to Celebrate Super Bowl Sunday

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If you want to see the Super Bowl but don’t like sports bars, there are other places to catch the action with friends—and eat real food—without a guy with a painted face screaming next to you. The Chap and The Den are great choices for Super Bowl Sunday… and beyond.

THe Den's dip
Try The Den’s posh creme fraiche and caviar dip with chips. (Photo courtesy The Den)

The Den, a Neighborhood Favorite, Pivots for the Better

“This is definitely not a sports bar,” says owner Brett Latteri, emphatically. That doesn’t mean that the games are not on tap. As Latteri assures his guests: “You can watch sports here, but we’re a neighborhood place meant for everyone.”

In a century-old building on Sunset, The Den has had a strong group of regulars for years, but Latteri pivoted after the pandemic, overhauling the interior, hiring a serious chef and a bar consultant. “I knew it could be more than just a bar,” says Latteri, who, as a teenager cruising Sunset, dreamed of having a place on the Strip.

True to its name, The Den is a welcome respite from the noise of Sunset. The barroom is dimly lit and lined with bookshelves and comfortable booths. A newly added lush patio, a DJ booth and room for late night dancing makes for a versatile gathering spot. They’ve added a happy hour and brunch, upping the ante for customers who want a solid cocktail, along with snacks or a full meal. The must-haves for casual dining: a great burger, wings and shrimp are available. But Latteri takes the usual a bit further. A perfectionist, he uses only the finest meats from the legendary San Francisco butcher, Flannery Beef, as well as Neiman Ranch meat.

They get a little fancier than “just bar food” with Steak Frites ($40), charred Spanish Octopus ($24) and a lux chips and dips plate with crème fraiche and caviar dip (starting at $14). The special Super Bowl LVII menu is short, including shrimp tacos ($16) sliders ($20), an outstanding Bacon Blue Burger ($26), and of course wings—Roasted Garlic Wings ($16). Want something to share? Try the Pretzel Bites and Mini Sausages ($15) or Loaded Hummus ($16).

If you haven’t been for a while, or not at all, drop in.

THE DEN

8226 Sunset Blvd

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 5 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Saturday: 3 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Sunday Brunch: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Super Bowl Hours: Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Super Bowl menu from 3 p.m. through the evening.

The Chaplin Room is comfortable for everyone, whether watching the game or not. Have a drink, dinner and take a peek at the scoreboard. (Photo by Richard Stowe)

The Chap, An English Pub

Opened in time for the World Cup, The Chap was quickly discovered by the music crowd who office in the Vinyl Neighborhood and homesick Brits looking for authentic food, and a chance to see international sports on the telly. Named for Charlie Chaplin, the designers got the ambiance right with dark green walls, sporting prints and plaid carpet. There’s even caricatures of famous English celebrities on a wall above the booths. It’s fun to pick out Lady Di and Amy Winehouse. Where’s Elton?

As you enter, the bar is to the right, adjacent to the central dining room, with a glorious English garden out back, complete with wrought iron furniture and masses of greenery. The garden and dining room can be combined to accommodate private parties, as they did recently for Atlantic Records. Lots of English and Aussi accents in this crowd; “Hey Mate” is a common greeting between guys wearing wearing trucker hats on a recent Sunday afternoon.

The menu is simple, carefully curated and most importantly authentic. The local chefs worked hard to get it right. “We have the sausages for Bangers and Mash [$21] made for us,” says Fausto, one of the cooks. Americans often assume sausages will be spicy, and may be surprised by the blandness of the bangers. It’s an acquired taste. They did, however, add fresh peas to the plate instead of British mushy peas.

Fish and Chips ($28), by which all pub food is judged, has been a hit. “A lot of people tell us it’s the best they’ve had outside of England,” says manager Kristin Kimiya Ige. The pièce de résistance is the Sunday Roast ($35 per serving) with the traditional sides of potatoes, veg and Yorkshire pudding and gravy. The English are all about family Sunday roast and nearly every table had a least one serving of the tender beef and roasted potatoes. After all, how many breakfast burritos can you eat on the Lord’s Day?

Followed by Sticky Toffee Pudding ($12) or Eton Mess ($12) this is a Brit’s heaven. The one complaint: weak coffee. But it was served in a flowered tea cup, so points for charm.

Of course, the playlist is a standout. According to a musician, who’s a regular, it has a great mix of indie classic rock with the Kinks and Rod Stewart keeping the energy high but not frenetic. Speaking of music, they have their own band, Fiddlers &The Chaps from 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. What’s a pub without games? The PubQuiz starts at 7:30 every other Wednesday and Bloody Bingo starts at 7:30 on alternate Wedndsays.

It’s new, but it feels so comfortable you’d think it had been here forever.

THE CHAP

1607 N. Cahuenga Blvd.

Wednesday through Thursday 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Friday and Saturday 6 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

*Super Bowl Sunday  will run through the evening.


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