Super Bowl XLV: Taste the gridiron culture at your local sports bar

What: Super Bowl XLV, the National Football League’s (NFL) yearly championship game.

Where: Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX — and at your local sports bar!

Who: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers.

When: Sunday, February 6, 2011; Kickoff at 6:25 p.m. ET.

TV: 2 p.m. ET on FOX for entire show, including pre-game festivities.

Note to Aussies still in Aus: The game will broadcast live on One HD.

Insider Scoop:

- Texas’ third Super Bowl; first for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
– Eighth Super Bowl for the Steelers (with six wins — a Super Bowl record).
– Fifth Super Bowl for the Packers (with three wins and nine league titles prior to the Super Bowl-era).
– Underdogs: Steelers
– Packers are favoured to win by 2.5. Just say it — you’ll sound cool.
– In a nice bit of symmetry, the “over/under” — which is basically a bet at how many total points will be scored during the game — is currently at 45, the same number as the Super Bowl itself.
Christina Aguilera will sing American national anthem to open.
Black Eyed Peas will headline the halftime show, and we can only pray Fergie has some sort of wardrobe malfunction.
– And! Fellow Aussie Keith Urban is slated to perform during the pre-game festivities.

This Sunday is the 45th edition of the Super Bowl, a time-honoured tradition of American football,  elaborate music and dance spectacles with astronomically high production values (that would be the hallowed halftime show), greasy bar fare and the top TV commercials of the year. Interestingly, no cheerleaders this year.

The best way to experience this iconic bit of U.S. culture is to watch the game in a sports bar, elbow to elbow with your fellow man, Aussie or otherwise. Pick a team to follow, maybe lay down a bet or two and grab a stool at your neighborhood watering hole with the best flat screens to really soak up the atmosphere.

We asked a few Billabout Swagmen for their recommendations on the best Super Bowl Sunday sports bars in New York, and here’s what they told us:

– Best Steeler’s bar: Reservoir Bar & Grill (Greenwich Village)

– Best Packer’s bar: Kettle of Fish (West Village)

– Best all-around viewing: Ainsworth (Chelsea)

– Best atmosphere: SideBar (Union Square)

– Best drinking: Village Pourhouse (LES, a.k.a. Lower East Side, location best)

– Best¬†dining/watching combo: Brother Jimmy’s (seven locations in Manhattan)

– Best proximity to Aussie establishments: Firefly (NoLita)

– Best BBQ and all-around great spot: Hill Country (Midtown)

What city are you in, and where are you going to watch the big game? Post that and other Super Bowl tips at our Facebook page.

— Melissa Henderson, with NYC sports bar scouting assistance from Andrew Lindsay and Kent Draper

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