Football season is in full swing and fans are looking for places to enjoy the game with a few friends. There are dozens of well-known sports bars in town, some even dedicated to hosting a specific college or team, but this month we’re changing things up. Here are six out-of-the-ordinary options to get your game day grub on.
backYARD at Waller Creek
This outdoor hangout at the Sheraton Austin at the Capitol is now an official partner of the Texas Exes Austin Chapter, hosting a lively tailgate party for every game as the official game watching venue for the Longhorns this season. Fans can rev up pre-game with a Bloody Mary bar, themed cocktails, craft brews, and signature tacos from the adorable onsite airstream. The game will be live-streamed on a big screen for those who do not have home game tickets, and outdoorsy games like cornhole and giant beer pong add to the festive atmosphere. If the Horns win, fans can stay and celebrate post-game with live music by a rotating lineup of local bands in all genres. The Texas Exes Austin Chapter will also be on hand with raffle tickets for prizes, Longhorn swag, and information on how to become a member.
Pizza and football go together like … well, pizza and football. But why not try a different approach from the usual delivery chains? Cane Rosso is offering a special catering pick-up menu, served in disposable containers perfect for tailgating, to complement their authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. Fans can order pizza rolls (30 pieces stuffed with cheese, pepperoni, or mushroom with a side of marinara); wood-fired wings by the dozen (with your choice of “dry and spicy” rub or "sauced" with caramelized onion dressing); popcorn-fried cheese curds with spicy mayo; meatballs by the dozen with barbecue or tomato sauce; and more. Don’t forget to grab one of their dessert pizzas to satisfy your sweet tooth.
These Austin-born spots are sports bars, but they make our list for going above and beyond. The food here is far from being an afterthought, with hearty brunch options that range from classic egg and meat breakfasts to stuffed brioche French toast and chilaquiles. And who can beat the stand-alone bubbles and Bloody Mary bars? Available Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm, the bubbles bar allows you to mix your own mimosa with fresh juice options like cranberry, orange, grapefruit, peach nectar, and pomegranate for only $4. At the Bloody Mary station, pick your vodka (Tito’s is $4); your choice of flavored mixes; season with a variety of hot sauces and spices; and garnish with condiments like applewood-smoked bacon, celery, jalapeños, various stuffed olives, and house-pickled veggies. Cover 3 also hosts a happy hour from 4 pm to 10 pm on Mondays, perfect for watching pro games.
LeRoy and Lewis
Rapidly becoming the barbecue buzz of the town, LeRoy and Lewis is offering an Ultimate Tailgating BBQ Package that might make your guests (momentarily) forget about the game. The package serves 15-25 guests and includes 60 smoky, falling-off-the-bone chicken wings, 30 brisket and cream cheese stuffed jalapeño poppers, 10 pounds of brisket, 5 pounds of house-made sausage, a seasonal side, their signature smoked beet barbecue sauce, house-made pickles, and bread. Price is $500 plus tax, with additional meats available for $12-14 and additional sides at $5 per person. The package is available Saturday and Sunday throughout football season. You can swing by the South Austin trailer for pick-up or get it delivered in the Central Austin area, but you must order one week in advance. Get everyone to chip in and be the envy of the neighborhood.
The Rickhouse at Treaty Oak Ranch
Is there anything an Austinite cannot do at this lovely spot in Dripping Springs? Apparently not, since football-watching is now available at The Rickhouse, the property’s rustic cocktail bar. Enjoy college and NFL action on two big flat-screen TVs while sipping house-crafted libations and nibbling on Hill Country-inspired noshes from chef Chris Andrews’ onsite Ghost Hill Restaurant. Snacks range from simple bites like Cajun-spiced party mix and kettle chips to green chile pimento cheese; cheese and charcuterie platters; and house-made brisket rillettes served with pickles, whole grain mustard, and water crackers. If you want something more filling, you can carry whatever you desire from the Ghost Hill menu back to the bar. Draft cocktails with the whole line of Treaty Oak spirits are available, and beer lovers will certainly enjoy the fresh offerings from Treaty Oak Brewing, light in alcohol content but big in flavor. Check out the Fitzhugh British Mild Ale, a quaffable brew at just 3.5% ABV.
Soursop/St. Elmo Brewing
Southeast Asian fare does not immediately come to mind as football food, but it’s time to expand your horizons. Pair chef Teddy Bricker’s innovative fare with St. Elmo’s excellent brews and you have a party. St Elmo will be showing all UT games, so you can toast or drown your sorrows accordingly with $2 pours of Carl kolsch. Meanwhile, Soursop is serving the O.G. and Hot Gai chicken sandwiches for $6 during the games. The O.G. features green curry spiced fried chicken, fermented green tomato relish, burnt scallion aioli, and Thai herbs; the Hot Gai is seasoned with massaman curry, doused with chili oil, pickles, and “Swiss cheese food product.” The happening trailer serves other football-friendly shareable dishes like an amazing Thai-spiced queso with airy shrimp chips, fiery yet addicting curry wings, and pimento cheese served on special crab chips with pickled Thai chili, shallot, and cilantro.