Football, hockey, soccer, baseball, basketball — no matter which sport you support, it's way more fun to watch your favorite teams play when you're surrounded by other cheering fans.
But where to head for some cold drinks, hot food, and big sports action? In the spirit of CultureMap's newest signature event, The Tailgate, we're celebrating a season of sports with insider intel on all the ways you can enjoy it. (P.S. Tickets are on sale now).
Though by no means exhaustive, this list highlights sports bars in Austin that are definitely worth your overtime.
Shoal Creek Saloon
Feeling "Austintacious"? Known as the Austin home of New Orleans Saints fans, there are 31 TVs broadcasting games of all sorts plus Cajun cuisine to fill your belly while you cheer on your favorite team. Sit inside, lounge outside on the covered patio, or play a free game or two of shuffleboard during commercial breaks.
The Tavern originally opened in 1916 as a grocery store before transforming into a restaurant in 1929. The story goes that the upstairs of The Tavern (where football fans gather every Sunday) was once a speakeasy and brothel, and a former employee still haunts the building. But what you need to know about The Tavern today is that it boasts 30-plus TV screens, meaning there's a 100-percent guarantee your game will be showing. The food menu is also stellar and the bar is dog-friendly.
While Haymaker may claim they're "not a sports bar," let's get real — it’s on our list for a reason. With huge screens inside and out, the friendly staff is always willing to accommodate your preferred NFL game, and the family-style tables allow football fanatics to pack in every Thursday night, Sunday, and Monday night. Featuring Midwest- and Northeast-inspired fare such as brats and poutine, Haymaker also serves up a Sunday treat offering $4 mimosas, Bloody Marys and sangrias.
The Park does everything right — reasonable drink prices, an abundance of indoor and outdoor seating, and some of the most dependable bar food in town. Both North and South Austin locations have waitstaff servicing every table, so either spot is perfect for fans looking to focus all of their attention on the games.
Crown & Anchor Pub
Open every day of the week, 365 days a year, this cozy pub serves up comfort grub with more than 30 taps and 100 bottles and cans, plus a great range of ciders and wine. Post up on the dog-friendly patio or head inside where pool tables, plenty of seating, and dartboards await. Five big-screen televisions show all the action.
From Burnet Road to Southpark Meadows, Little Woodrow's is serving cold beverages to sports fans at eight locations around town. Consistently boasting every imaginable channel and upwards of 20 TVs, these locations feature plenty of drink specials so you can post up for a full day (or night) of game-watching.
Fans of all stripes gather at this storied, indoor-outdoor German biergarten, whose history goes all the way back to hosting a celebration for the University of Texas football team’s first undefeated season in 1893 (nearly 30 years after it first opened). Today it hosts the largest UT tailgate party in the city, and serves up German fare and plenty of brews.
Pluckers Wing Bar
Nothing says game time quite like buffalo-battered wings and a side of ranch dressing. The original campus location, opened by two UT Longhorns, is our chosen spot, but the Lakeline, The Linc, Oak Hill, Research Boulevard, Round Rock, and South Lamar Boulevard are also great backup locations.
Seeking something a bit more upscale? This elegant yet unpretentious eatery claims that watching a game here feels like being in a private stadium box, with menu options like an iceberg wedge salad, filet mignon, and Hong Kong salmon. Don't overlook the weekend brunch, which also features the option of a mimosa and Bloody Mary bar.
Aussie Grill & Beach Bar
Even if you don't spike a few balls on the sand volleyball courts, this laidback spot is still welcoming with its breezy Aussie attitude and 14 high-definition, flat-panel screens (six in the bar, six in the dining room, and two on the patio). They also have all — and we mean all — the DIRECTV sports packages and other sports networks.
Black Sheep Lodge
If the fried cheese curds don't grab your attention, we're not sure what will. But Black Sheep isn’t just for cheeseheads. With one of the best bar menus in town, 20 big screen TVs, and a dog-friendly sports-watching patio, this South Austin neighborhood destination is a must for fans. Black Sheep is locally owned and operated with over 120 bottle and tap beer offerings.