Whether you’re Longhorn burnt orange until you die or Cameron Crazy for Duke, a convivial sports bar adds extra fun to game day. A really good sports bar has several qualities: to start, many large televisions.
Ideally you should be able to see a television from any seat in the house. Extra points if they show more than one game at a time — especially during the busy college sports seasons. Friendly waitstaff and a welcoming vibe are important; you want to feel like you’re cheering in your own “Cheers.” An extensive beer selection helps, as does tasty bar food. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just make it good.
Here are some San Antonio bars that do sports right.
Opened in 1942 as Café America, this institution changed its name and focus — from café to bar — and spiffed up the 80-year-old building while keeping the original bar.
Now the spacious, exposed-brick space remains a welcoming hangout with plenty of TVs, lots of local craft brews on tap and satisfying straight-up bar food — burgers, wings and things fried. When a DJ spins tunes on Friday and Saturday nights, the scene is as much nightclub as sports bar.
The wait staff wears kilts, and the menu includes fish and chips, cottage pie and bangers and mash at this popular Riverwalk pub. In addition to a terrace right on the river for outstanding people-watching, Mad Dogs has 16 HD screens and two jumbo screens for full sports immersion.
Look for the wall of photos of celebs — especially from sports and media — who have visited. Monthly theme parties and entertainment of some sort (karaoke, DJs, live music, etc.) every night keep the place bustling.
The only Texas outpost of the New York bar that originated the game-day staple, the Anchor can legitimately lay claim to being “Home of the Original Buffalo Wing.”
Opened in a shopping center not far from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2017, it’s a family-friendly hangout with 36 screens, including seven on the patio; three separate audio zones (for different games); all the major sports packages; 16 beers on tap, including lots of local brews; and, of course, wings.
This is a sports bar with a dining difference. With locations in Austin and San Antonio, Cover 3 is a classier-than-average sports bar, stylishly sleek and woody.
An executive chef creates a menu that includes wings, of course, and fried pickles and great burgers, but also salmon with shiitake mushrooms, filet mignon, rib-eye-steak tacos and more.
Twenty-seven TVs show pro and college sports; arrive early for games if you want a seat on the pleasant patio. In fact, early can be better — the website San Antonio Current cited Cover 3 for best brunch in town.
A few blocks from the bustle of the Riverwalk, in a little 1876 house, this charming dive is a favorite among locals for its chill vibe, friendly service, plentiful TVs and cozy patio.
The caveat here: No food, although they do set up a grill outside on days when there are big events at the nearby Alamodome.