There is nothing quite like the camaraderie of game night. The deafening cheers, the nail-biting suspense, the shared anticipation, and most importantly, the food. Yes, the food. This article aims to take you on a journey through the history of popular bar foods, their evolution, and the best bar food options for your next sports viewing party.

The Early Days of Bar Food

The history of bar food is as rich and varied as the dishes themselves. In the 1800s, complimentary bar snacks were commonplace, with the likes of peanuts, pretzels, and even hard-boiled eggs available to saloon-goers. The UK began producing packaged peanuts in 1952, and in the US, Beer Nuts, with added sugar, were trademarked.

The Prohibition era saw the rise of speakeasies and finger foods, with hosts serving culinary delights like lobster canapés, caviar rolls, and shrimp patties. These bites were easy to eat while socializing and sipping on a clandestine cocktail.

Super Bowl and Wings

Fast forward to the 1960s, one of the most famous Super Bowl finger foods, the buffalo wing, made its debut. According to The Oxford Companion to Food, Teressa Bellissimo first served them at her family’s bar, the Anchor Bar, in Buffalo, New York.

Best Bar Food in Modern Times

Today, bar food has evolved far beyond just peanuts and pretzels. It’s no longer just a lineup of fried foods and nachos. The sky is the limit. Let’s explore some of the most popular modern bar foods perfect for game night.

Chicken Wings

Still reigning supreme are chicken wings as the best bar food. Visit our brewery for Jerry’s wings, which feature either 6 wings or 18 wings based on your hunger.


Next to chicken wings, one of the most popular game day foods include pizza-style flatbreads. We have a pepperoni flatbreads, buffalo chicken flatbreads, and chicken spinach flatbreads to munch on while you’re watching the game.


At Bad Tom Smith, we also offer a wide variety of paninis on our menu. From our shredded chicken panini to our veggie stuffed grilled panini, we have something for everyone’s tastes.


Interested in something a little different? Try the tacos from Bad Tom Smith Brewing! The tacos feature seasoned chicken, pico de gallo, sour cream, and queso fresco, and you’ll get three tacos per order.

Fries and Kettle Chips

Main entrees are great, but it’s also important to have good side options as well. At Bad Tom Smith Brewing, we serve fries and kettle chips that perfectly complement any of our main menu items from our brewery.

So, whether you’re cheering on your team at a sports bar or from your living room, make sure you’re well-equipped with the best bar foods. From the timeless chicken wings to fries or kettle chips, there’s something for everyone. Just remember, it’s not just about the game, it’s about the shared experience, and of course, the food.

At Bad Tom Smith Brewing, we want to give you the best bar food when it comes to game day. From craft beers and seltzers to bourbon and everything in between, we have the best drinks to go with delicious food. Visit our Cincinnati taproom to see how we can take your game day viewing from good to great.