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Where to go for superior sports-bar fare

Over several recent weeks, we checked out dozens of gastropubs, lounges, bar-cafes and sushi sports bars. (Some, of course, don’t have TVs; some that have screens, including the Bowery in Hollywood, won’t be open until halftime Sunday; others, such as the Village Idiot in West Hollywood, only have televisions in private rooms.) Here are some recommendations, in alphabetical order, of spots with interesting selections of beer and better-than-your-usual-sports-bar food. They’re all open for Super Bowl XLII -- see individual listing for details.

BottleRock. Small, lively wine and beer bar with two large flat screens over the bar. Eight microbrews on draft (mainly from California) and more than 50 international beers in bottles. Best dishes: roasted dates stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts and wrapped in prosciutto, Marcona almonds tossed in olive oil and sea salt, truffle grilled cheese. Open this Sunday from 1 to 11 p.m., serving the evening menu beginning at 2:30 p.m. 3847 Main St., Culver City, (310) 836-9463; www.bottlerock.net.

Crow Bar and Kitchen. Neighborhood bistro with a 10-seat bar and one TV, no standing room. Good selection of two dozen international beers and California microbrews on draft, and 19 bottled beers. Best dishes: meatballs with red pepper aioli, blue crab deviled eggs, burger with house-made tomato marmalade, duck fat fries. Open from 11 a.m. to midnight this Sunday, serving bar snacks from 2 to 4 p.m., full evening menu after 4. 2325 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar, (949) 675-0070; www.thecrowbarcdm.com.

The Del. Beach-town restaurant opening in phases whose central bar-lounge has several booths and tables. Full bar with small draft beer selection and several microbrews in bottles. Best dishes: kabocha squash tempura, Ipswich fried clams, shrimp and chips. Open this Sunday from 1 p.m. until the game ends. 119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey, (310) 823-6800; thedelrestaurant.com.

Kai Sushi Sports Bar. Bright, contemporary family- and group-friendly sushi sports bar with a dozen plasma-screen TVs lining the restaurant. Variety of sakes and a small selection of Japanese and American bottled beer. Best dishes: tuna with “crunch mix,” Asian beef ribs, tempura fried vegetables. Open this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; table reservations recommended for groups. 24215 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, (310) 325-7979; www.kaisportsbar.com.

The Library Alehouse. Neighborhood pub with two TVs in the small bar area and half a dozen two-person tables. Rotating selection of 20 Belgian ales, ciders and microbrews by the pint and pitcher, and 15 bottled beers, mainly from Belgium. Best dishes: fried calamari with house-made cocktail and tartar sauces, bison burger, classic fried chicken. Open this Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. 2911 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 314-4855; www.libraryalehouse.com.

Muldoon’s Dublin Pub. Irish sports bar with TVs in the outdoor courtyard and an indoor wood-paneled bar. Eight British beers on draft and 12 whiskeys. Best dishes: whiskey-marinated wings, house-made potato chips, lamb stew, banger bites with mustard sauce, currant-caraway and Irish soda breads. Open this Sunday with food service from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., bar open until 1 a.m. 202 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, (949) 640-4110; www.muldoonspub.com.

Rudy’s Pub & Grill. Sports bar with dozens of flat screens lining the walls, a bar area in back with small tables and several communal tables in front beneath a retractable roof. A dozen beers on draft, mainly standard Americans, with a few interesting bottled microbrews. Best dishes: Carolina-style pork sliders, fried calamari in spicy soy ginger sauce, house potato salad. Open this Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. 3110 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 723-0293; or www.rudyspubandgrill.com.

The 3rd Stop. Beer-focused upscale neighborhood pub with several flat screens in the bar area and small bar tables. Good selection of more than 30 international beers and microbrews on draft and more in bottles. Best dishes: lamb and vegetable skewers in chipotle sauce, moules frites, dessert pizza with Nutella and mascarpone. Open this Sunday from noon to 1 a.m. 8636 W. 3rd St., West Hollywood, (310) 273-3605.

-- Jenn Garbee


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