We’re officially deep into football season, which means tailgating has taken over. If you’re a loyal, die-hard, born-a-Longhorn fan, you already have season tickets. But even if you’re not going to be at DKR every weekend this fall, you can’t avoid UT football mania in Austin, and why would you want to? Football season is your excuse for all-day drinking and hanging - you just have to know where to take advantage of it properly.
This is your back pocket guide to Austin’s best sports bars for posting up and taking in all the burnt orange. And just remember: the TV can’t hear you.
With an awesome backyard, corn hole, big leather couches, and more than enough TVs to go around - Parlor and Yard is definitely making some power plays when it comes to ideal gameday situations. Also great about this place: tons of seating, drinking, and drunk-eating options. Swing by on any Saturday or Sunday and you’re guaranteed to see at least three friends from college and make a whole lot more by the end of the night.
If you’re reuniting with a few old friends for the game, and hoping for the chance to actually catch up a bit (i.e. hear each other talk), between its front patio and huge indoor bar, J. Black’s is a solid move. The food here is also exactly what you want to eat when watching a football game - our go-to’s are the chicken and ranch or the spicy BBQ pulled pork.
A West 6th staple, you can’t go wrong with a drink in hand and a solid crew at Dogwood. Whether you’re wearing burnt orange on a Saturday or rooting for your NFL ride or die on a Sunday, this is a great place to post up with a never-ending basket of chips and queso. Hang outside and watch the game, or go straight to the dance floor to prematurely celebrate your team's win - we encourage both.
Gameday has many meanings at Kung Fu. Yes, you’re there to watch your favorite team do their thing, but you can also play a round of skee ball during halftime, or make your rounds through the arcade games during commercial breaks, or if things get really weird ask the bartender (his name’s Gio) if you can bang the gong when your team makes a touchdown.
If you bleed burnt orange and graduated from UT anytime between 2010 and 2015, then welcome to your college reunion. Roll through Woodrow's for the game, the company, and most importantly, the taco truck in the back. This tends to be the one-stop-shop for all things gameday for young Longhorn alums, but anyone looking to relive their college days should feel free to join in.
A Rainey street staple when it comes to sports, there’s enough going on at Bar 96 on gameday that you’ll be happy even if football isn’t your thing. Get there early and post up at one of the outdoor tables to a great view of the TV, or sit in the backyard under the covered tent for a glance at the big screen projector. Corn hole, tacos, and the ring game are all available should the game get boring (or should you be the kind of person who still doesn’t know what “rushing” means). Or just sit back with a glass of frosé and watch while everyone else loses their mind over who fumbled what.
If you’re looking to eat a real meal while watching the game, Cover 3 is one of your best bets. With two locations around the outskirts of town, this is the ideal spot for avoiding the madness of gameday while still feeling like you’re tuned into the action - Cover 3 is definitely geared towards the more serious (i.e. less focused on getting sh*tfaced) game watchers. But don’t get us wrong - it’s definitely a good time.
Another longtime gameday staple and UT favorite is Cain and Abel’s. (Abel’s on the Lake has great food, but is definitely nowhere near the West Campus location’s level when it comes to football watching.) If it’s not gameday, this might be a questionable choice for anyone over the age of 24, but then again after a few Texas Teas no one cares. If you’re a UT alum, this place will always be a gameday go-to, and will also probably always bring back the memories you hoped you’d eventually forget. Texas forever.
Known best for their delicious fish tacos, Lavaca Street Bar’s gameday special ($15 buckets of beer) also makes them an excellent under-the-radar option for sports watching. A more laid-back scene than most, Lavaca Street is a great place to go when you want to watch the game but you’re also ready to take a break from the Little Woodrows/Cain and Abel’s scene.