Toggle Hero

The History of Sports Bars

Sports bars are a staple of American life, but they are a relatively new phenomenon. Although there is some disagreement about what exactly counts as the first sports bar in America, there is no argument about the fact that these bars are beloved across the country by sports addicts and non-fans alike. Here is a look at the brief history of the sports bar.


St. Louis’ Palermo family was known for their stores and restaurants. In a location across from Sportsman’s Park—which used to be the home of the Cardinals and the Browns—the Palermo family had a hot dog stand, a confectionary, and an Italian restaurant. In 1933, on the day the Volstead Act that established Prohibition was repealed, the family opened Palermo’s, a tavern. The tavern marked a return to the family’s roots, as patriarch Paul Palermo had owned multiple bars across the city before Prohibition.

Palermo’s wasn’t founded to be a sports bar, but it naturally morphed into one, thanks to its location. Game attendees spent time there, and the tavern began playing radio broadcasts of the matches for those who couldn’t get tickets. Eventually, the Browns gifted the tavern with several photos of the team, which were hung on the walls, and the bar embraced its sports theme. Once TVs were more readily available, it became a favorite place to watch games.


Legends was founded in Long Beach, CA in 1979, long after Palermo’s, but it still holds an important place in history. The bar was launched by Dennis Harrah, a retired LA Raiders player, who built the establishment around a collection of sports memorabilia and televisions.

Legends’ claim to fame is that it was the first sports bar to use satellites to bring patrons sports events from across the world. This was a game-changer for sports fans, since it let them watch out-of-market matches for the first time. This feature helped establish Legends as the first sports bar of the modern era.

Keep the sports bar tradition alive at Rumors Sports Bar, Grill & Casino in Grand Forks, ND. Home of the beer tower, Rumors is the place to catch all of your favorite teams. For more information, call (701) 772-5222.

Related Content

College or Pro Football? Taking Sides in the Debate Over Who Has the Better Game
If you’re a [football fan]( ,...
Planning Your Fantasy Football Draft Party
As football season approaches, you’ll notice a tried and true tradition going on in [sports...
3 Drinks to Keep You Warm This Fall
3 Drinks to Keep You Warm This Fall Fall is slowly turning into winter, which means the weather is cold and only getting...
The Science of Being a Sports Fan
Most people enjoy sports to a certain extent, but there is a small portion of the population that seem to live and die by...