Football season again. It may be easy for Longhorns, Texans and Cowboys fans to find a place to watch the big game in Austin, but what about those who aren’t believers? Where can they find like-minded fans to whoop and holler with? Though I may be stoned for it, I have a few suggestions.
Black Sheep Lodge
If any location in this article is aptly named, it’s Black Sheep Lodge. This south Austin venue has been hosting the games of NFL’s black sheep team, The Washington Redskins, for years.
When I visited the bar, located at 2808 S Lamar, just south of Oltorf, the place was packed with Auskins (Austin Redskins fans). If you’re rocking Redskins colors, you will be privy to drink specials and the comraderie of the fans of The Dallas Cowboys’ most reviled rival.
Be sure to show up early. Parking can be tricky in the surrounding neighborhood.
I’m sure you’re thinking there’s no way a swamp exists in Austin. We barely have lakes. You’re wrong. Florida Gator fans call their watch party locales “swamps,” and Blackfinn Ameripub is the offical swamp of the Lone Star Gator Club’s Austin chapter.
Located in The Domain, Blackfinn Ameripub welcomes the Lone Star Gator Club with open arms and a special menu on game day, with food and drink specials. Alumni and fans of all ages mix, mingle and participate in special drawings.
Bikini’s Sports Bar and Grill
Bikini’s steps it up and hosts watch parties for not one, but two teams: The Pittsburgh Steelers and Ohio State University. Located between Hwy 290 E and St. Johns on northbound I-35, Bikini’s is easy to find.
Steelers and Buckeye fans will be happy to know that Bikini’s wait staff, bedecked in the garb of the sponsored teams, will happily serve them shot specials and anything else available on their full menu.
Third Base: South Park Meadows
Even though the Texas A&M Fighting Aggies are no longer in the Big 12 or playing the Longhorns on Thanksgiving Day, it doesn’t mean the rivalry is over. With Austin being the hub of politics in the state, it’s little wonder you see an Aggie faction lurking about, defiantly wearing those maroon shirts and gear. In fact, I will be marrying an Aggie soon.
Third Base in South Park Meadows has stepped up to host the Capitol City Aggie Club and their watch parties. The down south location is located between I-35 and Congress on Slaughter Lane. Like the Lone Star Gator Club, the Aggie fans have door prizes, drawings and contests for Austin Aggies.
Shoal Creek Saloon
What would this list be without the ultimate Austin football bunker, Shoal Creek Saloon? If the giant Saints helmet made out of a Volkswagen Beetle carcass didn’t tip you off, then I don’t know what I can do for you.
Shoal Creek has been a supporter of the Saints since they opened their doors, and the fans will let you know who they’re with. Of all the bunkers I’ve covered, Shoal Creek probably has the most hardcore fans. They carefully set up mini shrines to Sean Payton as they chow down on Cajun cuisine…and everyone is cheering.
Tip of the Iceberg
This is in no way a complete list of the best places to watch football in Austin, for those who need a safety bunker. There’s something unique about joining fellow fans to cheer on whatever team you love. The experience breaks down political, economic and ethnic walls. All that matters is whether you’re rocking team colors and screaming your head off at every first down.
There are many other bars and restaurants in town hosting college and pro football watch parties. If you know of a team and location I didn’t mention, feel free to let me know in the comment section below.
Who’s your team?
Cover photo by Matthew C. Wright via Flickr CC.