Now that March Madness is upon us, where oh where shall you do your viewing? Surely not your living room. If your team loses, you're going to need a shoulder to cry on! And if your team wins, you're going to have some bets to collect -- if you're doing March Madness the right way. Here are a handful of winning sports bars here in town.
Free bacon on Thursdays. Really, that's about all I should have to say, but if you need more convincing: Lavaca Street Bar is a surprisingly calm oasis in the middle of downtown Austin, with a games room in the back (pool, shuffle board, ping pong) that you can hit up between games on the television.
A cozy, old Austin bar with an upstairs/downstairs split: Useful when it's trivia night, and they sequester those folks upstairs, while you curl up with your Tarheels down. Remember to get a burger, which is served these days on warm, sweet, Hawaiian bread buns.
You laugh, but how many times have you gone to Pluckers for legitimately greasy, crunchy chicken wings? Exactly. This 20 year-old, Austin-born wing chain was started by sports fans (two UT grads with a taste for Southern cooking), and it still caters to sports fans -- both via Super Bowl-appropriate eats, and abundant suspended TV's.
Communal eating and drinking is the order of the day at Doc's MotorWorks, which feels like it was carved out of an old mechanic's shop. Tall tables and several TV's populate the interior, and damned if I haven't wanted to become an avid sports fan every time I've gone.
Started by a San Antonio native with a passion for both guacamole and professional football, Cuatro's doesn't disappoint in either department. The open patio makes this a choice place for March Madness viewing, in case someone rooting for the losing team forgets his, shall we say, inside voice.
My husband and I lovingly call Cover 3 a "frat boy country club," because that's precisely what it is: a high-ceiling, wooden, vaguely commercialy sports bar with enormous TV's and enormous serving portions. We happily watched the 2012 Olympics here, and dare I say I wouldn't watch live sports anywhere else.
What you have to love about Mister Tramps is that it's a place where geek trivia and sports viewing elicits roughly the same shouting volume. This is dive bar-ness at its most authentic, people, so you might not expect their food to be that great -- but their brie pizza? Shockingly out of this world.
Clientele-wise, Black Sheep is a little like the Lustre Pearl of South Lamar, attracting hipsters and frat guys in equal measure. Stereotypes aside they all love to watch sports, and the huge selection of beers help these two populations get along swimmingly. Black Sheep Lodge also serves pub food that is head-and-shoulders in quality above what we normally mean when we say "pub food."