The second reason is that the sports bar became redundant. These days, every giant, glowing LED TV is its own sports bar. We have the NFL Sunday Ticket—the NFL “package,” as it is gonadally known—and niche channels like the Longhorn Network. Jimmy Cannon, the most famous sportswriter of his day, snooped for material at Shor’s bar; Bill Simmons, the most famous sportswriter of his day, snoops for it on his satellite. “What a man cave night,” Simmons tweeted in April. “3 NBA games, Bs-Habs, Hawks-Canucks, Sox going for .500 + 6 of my League of Dorks starters pitching. TV smorgasbord!”
Staying home and declaring, “I’m totally OK with that!” produces its own peculiar macho code. At its simplest level, a man cave, like a saloon, represents an escape hatch. “I feel like when I shut the door, I’m isolated from all the frustrations of being a dad and a husband,” one man caver told the Nashville Tennessean. Another told the Calgary Herald, “It’s almost like you walk down the steep stairs and everything else is forgotten.” James B. Twitchell, author of the book Where Men Hide, compared this downstairs walk with ones that lead to other illicit male redoubts—strip clubs, opium dens—where there are no windows, where the outside world can’t see in.