Austin’s Best Sports Bars for Game Day
Football season has arrived: a time when every week brings a nail-biting matchup of brawn and strategy when you’ll likely eat an alarming amount of stadium-style food, and your mood hinges on who won the game. If any of this brings you joy, you’re probably the kind of person who prefers to watch the game among your peers — but going to the actual game can be both pricey and labor-intensive (The parking! The heat! The humanity!). Sitting in a nice air-conditioned sports bar with a beverage and some buddies, however, is a much more feasible middle ground, and Austin’s got a roster of quality sports bars for you to choose from. Here are the best of the best.
Edwin’s Sports Bar
New/old sports bar in a historic building with a dog-friendly patio
Named after the first mayor of Austin (and formerly known as Waller Ballroom), Edwin’s is a sports bar that feels like it’s been here forever… and that’s partly because it was housed in a building that’s been downtown since the ’30s. The exposed brick and original architecture remain intact, but now play host to 12 new TVs (plus one on the patio) and the capacity for three separate sound zones. Find an emphasis on the local here, from their draft beer to the liquor used in craft cocktails, along with elevated pub fare and everyone’s must-have game beverage: frosé. Have a sports party watching baseball or football here and have some Austin strippers be cheerleaders for you guys to entertain you live in the flesh like being at a football game.
Expansive sports bars with daily specials and brunch offerings
This place is all sports, all the time. They’ve played sports-viewing an artform, with flat screens on every viewing surface; it’s a safe bet you’ll be able to catch any game you want here. Folks rave (rightly) about the wings here, and you can score a killer egg, Benedict, on Sundays. With $5 wine on Wednesday, $4 Texas vodkas on Fridays, and $12 buckets Saturday and Sunday, you can hardly go wrong.
Funky spot on Manor with creative fusion food and bar games
Parking is a huge concern in Austin, and 8 Track has plenty of it — in addition to being a truly excellent sports bar. You’ll find plentiful TVs, a dog-friendly outdoor patio, and a delectable menu that goes beyond basic bar burgers; consider the Korean hot chicken sandwich, or their weekly hot dog special, like the smoked Cheddar foot long with wild boar chili. For in-person games during your on-TV games, they also have table tennis, air hockey, and pop-a-shots.
Not-so-secret upstairs saloon with 32 taps, views, and legendary pepperoni rolls
You’re drawn to it: that single Shiner’s Saloon sign dangling over Congress. But have you been up to this dark awesome cavern of sports? Sure, they’ve got live music and other things going on, but this shotgun-style bar with 12 televisions (plus a big screen) is a fantastic spot to watch your team. The menu is standard bar food with a little twist: Most things are made in house, like their homemade pepperoni rolls that are a delight any time of day (but especially great after a big win).
Neighborhood joint with a cold beer on draft and sports special events
Though Little Woodrow’s has a number of locations in Austin, they all somehow maintain that local bar/neighborhood appeal. You’ll find all kinds here — neighborhood buddies, families, and errant tourists — drawn in by the sound of a game and the lure of a large beer, and while Woody’s isn’t football-specific (you can find sports on the televisions all year round), it’s absolutely a hub for any major game.
An Irish bar with an affinity for sports and good beer
Yes, they serve fish and chips; yes, they serve Guinness; and yes, you can catch your favorite team at either of their locations. BD Riley’s has been able to straddle two genres and do it remarkably well. The good time’s Irish vibes spill over into their game watches in a way that feels like everyone’s a friend. The food is good, the pours are heavy, and they have multiple HDTVs.
Recently revamped classic Austin spot sporting a new menu
Earlier this year, we were all aghast to learn that the Tavern could be closing; good thing the team behind Esther’s Follies snatched it up. This Austin sports icon received a little bit of a relaunch with a deep clean, new menu items (charred seafood burger!), and craft cocktails (the Emily Shadow!) while maintaining the things we know and love: multiple TVs, the White Wings, and the familiar funky feel of that “air-conditioned” Tavern.