Yes, Maroon 5 was a dull choice for the halftime show and no Texas teams have any skin in the game, but you are probably going to watch Super Bowl LII anyway. So, why not make it an event? Sideline ordering chain pizza this year and head to one of these favorites instead. With gourmet fare, specialty cocktails, and craft beer, these eight bars and restaurants are your playbook for game day fun.
The two Austin locations of this sports bar mini chain breaks out of the huddle with an upscale entrée menu that includes dishes like a filet mignon served with gorgonzola or bacon jam goat cheese butter; blackened snapper with fresh lump crab and heirloom tomato and spinach salad; and tinga chicken enchiladas with poblano peppers, onions, and roasted garlic-chipotle sauce. For those who prefer a mountain of apps, there are plenty of those, too. Try the brick chicken sliders for a new take on a game day stand-by.
Let’s face it, many football games are lackluster. Luckily, this East Austin bar has fun scheduled for when the action on the field lags. For the fourth year in a row, Craftsman has invited local breweries to battle in out in a SOUPer Bowl chili cook-off. Each competitor has to use one of their beers as an ingredient, but anything goes from there. Guest votes determine who gets to go into the hall of fame.
This roomy Domain Northside hangout has TVs in practically every corner, so guests won’t miss a moment of the game (or this year’s crop of commercials). The menu is crowd-pleasing without being boring. Try the Midtown Burger topped with Swiss cheese, caramelized red wine mushrooms, horseradish cream, bacon jam, and Cajun onion crisps, and save some room for a boozy adult root beer float.
Edwin’s Sports Bar
One of the newest arrivals on the sports bar scene, this Sixth Street joint comes from the owners of nearby Waller Creek Pub. Like that concept, it features an outstanding draft beer selection and approachable fare like quesadillas, juicy burgers, and chicken tenders. Its greatest creation, however, might just be the Asian tots slathered with sriracha, lime mayo, and hoisin, then topped with peanuts and cilantro. Order two for the table so you can corner one basket for yourself.
Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon
There’s no rule that you have to watch the big game at a sports bar. The South First Street location of Fresa’s is making a play for Super Bowl fans with their annual party, featuring a huge LED video wall outside and several screens inside. The regular menu of tacos, guacamole, and classic margaritas is a great score any day, but the neighborhood hot spot also promises a few surprises in store. Stay tuned to the eatery’s Facebook page for more updates.
Soccer may be the main focus of this Manor Road favorite, but it’s just as winning for that other football. The beer selection, many from local and Texas brewers, is huge. And the food menu includes unexpected dishes like croque monsieurs and poutine. For vegan sports fans, it is also one of a handful of Austin places to offer the plant-based Impossible Burger.
An Austin icon for more than 85 years, this long-running pub received a refresh in August 2018 when Esther’s Follies cofounders Shannon Sedwick and Micheal Shelton purchased the place. It’s still the place to be on Super Bowl Sunday with an upstairs patio and a beer-friendly menu of plates like spaetzle mac ’n’ cheese, Bavarian pretzel sticks with house beer cheese, and Beef Stroganoff. One warning: The Tavern is rumored to be haunted, but we’re sure any spirits will be scared away by the cheers.
This East Austin cocktail mecca is bringing back its wildly popular Super Bowl watch party, complete with screens at both the inside and outside bars. The no cover event will also feature a spread of chips, dips, and grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. Order a mascot-themed cocktail for maximum social media swag.