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Little Woodrow's
Photograph: Courtesy Little Woodrow's

The 12 best sports bars in Austin

Come game day, these are the sports bars Austin sports fans want to be at to watch the football, basketball and more

By John Laird
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Sports! They’re fun to play, but even more fun to watch—instead of sweaty exercise, you get to wolf down chicken wings and the best craft beer in town. At the best sports bars in Austin, big screens, great eats and cheap beer will have you cheering long after the game is over. They may not serve fancy drinks—try our list of the best bars in Austin for that sort of thing—but these sports bars Austin loves have fan-baiting atmosphere to spare. Looking for things to do in Austin come game day? These sports bars are waiting for you.

Best sports bars in Austin

Cover 3
Photograph: Courtesy Cover 3

1. Cover-3

5 out of 5 stars
Restaurants American North Shoal Creek

Austin’s nicest sports bar is also its best. As you’d expect, there are TVs everywhere so that you can see the action no matter where you get seated. Where Cover 3 truly excels, though, is with its food. There isn’t a single thing on the menu that isn’t delicious. From glorious starters like spicy fried pickles, sliders and nachos to wonderful salads to entrees such as their famous brick chicken mac and cheese, it’s all great—careful, the menu may distract from the game. There’s also a full bar to provide whatever you may need on that front. Fair warning though, while Cover 3 isn’t super expensive, it isn’t cheap either. Expect a full bill to match your full stomach and heart (if your team has won, of course).

Pluckers
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Eric W.

2. Pluckers

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants American West University

Pluckers exists in just about in every corner of Austin, and there are plenty of reasons why: their wings are good, they carry a solid selection of beer and there are just enough well placed TVs to slap a smile on the face of any sports fan.  Also, in addition to wings, Pluckers offers a variety of delicious deep-fried treats, such as macaroni and cheese, pickles, Oreos and Twinkies. Just be sure to pair your jersey with stretchy pants and you’ll be good to go.

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Mister Tramps
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Edwin X. Ochoa

3. Mister Tramps Sports Pub & Cafe

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Wooten

If soccer is your main squeeze, then Mister Tramps is definitely the place for you. International flags adorn the walls, and they take their showing of matches so seriously here that they keep a running schedule on their website. Aside from futbol in every corner of the place, Mister Tramps also offers an enormous beer selection and solid food. Pro tip: if you’re aiming to watch something big (i.e. the World Cup), be sure to show up really early if you want a legit shot at a table.

Black Sheep Lodge
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/EatThisBeef

4. Black Sheep Lodge

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Hamburgers Zilker

With an ever-updating list on their site that keeps patrons in the know on exactly what’s currently on tap, Black Sheep Lodge is obviously the place to go if you’re a beer connoisseur. There is, however, also great food (get the cheese curds, then maybe get one more order to go) to be had, plenty of TVs for your ever-wandering eyes, and a layout that’s intimate enough to allow fans of all sorts to dole out high fives or throw shade without too much effort.

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Haymaker
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Courtney W.

5. Haymaker

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants American Blackland

Poutine! Comfort sandwiches! Beer cheese! A ton of craft beer on tap (the list is always changing, so check their site for updates)! Did we mention POUTINE? Haymaker has everything that you need to make sure that your sports-watching experience is just right. Heads up though, this place gets rather crowded in the early evening, and while they do convert pool tables and such into seating for larger sporting events, it’s still very much recommended that you don’t dilly dally when it comes to getting in there and grabbing yourself a spot.

Scoreboard
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/David R.

6. Scoreboard Sports Bar and Grill

4 out of 5 stars
Bars Sports Bars Northwest Austin

Unless you happen to live off of 2222, you’re going to have to head off the beaten path a bit in order to reach Scoreboard. Trust us though when we say it’ll be well worth the effort. Sports are always on their TVs, the menu has a bunch of highlights (burgers, wings, tater tots, a great chicken sandwich and more) and there are plenty of alcoholic beverages for you to take in. Scoreboard just launched a new Sunday brunch menu as well.

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The Tavern
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/The Tavern

7. The Tavern

4 out of 5 stars
Bars Sports Bars West End

The Tavern has been “serving up good times” since 1933, so if you’re wondering why their signage mentions having air conditioning, it’s because at one point long ago that was a legit draw. These days their key appeal comes from having a ton of TVs, a rotating beer menu and an upstairs patio. They also offer different food and drink specials every day so that your bank account doesn’t get hit too hard. Want to pair your cheering with a slice of old Austin? Here's where to do it.

Lavaca Street
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Chad B.

8. Lavaca Street Bar

4 out of 5 stars
Bars Sports Bars Warehouse District

Two words are very important when it comes to Lavaca Street Bar, and they are Turf n’ Surf. The eatery, which is actually located next to Lavaca Street Bar but is accessible through a window, offers up, well, turf and surf items that are so good they’re worth seeking out even if there isn’t a sporting event on your watch list. Go when there’s a game though, as the big ones are always on (and you’ll enjoy your food just that much more). Also, show up between 3pm and 7pm if you want the option to enjoy $2.50 domestics, $3 wells and other drink specials.

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Little Woodrow's
Photograph: Courtesy Little Woodrow's

9. Little Woodrow's

3 out of 5 stars
Bars Sports Bars Brentwood

The Little Woodrow’s logo clearly mentions four particular things: drinks, sports, patio, food. Pretty simple, right? If such a combo of things delights your senses, then any of the Little Woodrow’s locales should make you happy. On another note, they recently brought back a little something known as Steak Night (time and day of the week varies per location). You’re dead inside if you can’t get behind something like that.

The Park at Lamar
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Lewis Y.

10. The Park on South Lamar

3 out of 5 stars
Bars Sports Bars Westgate

With locations conveniently situated in North and South Austin, The Park is essentially wherever you need them to be come game day. Plus, if you happen to stroll in between 4pm and 8pm, Monday to Friday, you can take advantage of their happy hour, which includes $5 appetizers, $2.50 domestic bottles and drafts and other specials. The Park also sports a nice brunch buffet on Sundays from 11am to 3pm. Perhaps its only downside is that it attracts a lot of non-sports junkies, so if you’re looking for a rowdy, tuned-in crowd, you may want to head elsewhere.

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Backspin
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ron U.

11. Backspin

3 out of 5 stars
Restaurants American Dick Nichols

Backspin is a divey place in South Austin that features a bunch of TVs, a tasty Rueben and plenty of cold drinks.  It can get a little tight inside, so if you happen to be in the neighborhood and you want to drop in, be sure you set aside some extra time to show up early or stay later than planned

Kung Fu Saloon
Photograph: Reagan Hackleman/RH PHOTOS

12. Kung Fu Saloon

3 out of 5 stars
Bars Sports Bars Market District

Kung Fu Saloon recently relocated to its new location on West 6th, but the watering hole's vintage arcade theme has remained the same—as has its legit sports bar vibe. Take in a game on one of the mounted TVs, than play Skee Ball, Ms. Pacman, Street Fighter II and Giant Jenga during game breaks. The beer list here is impressive, but there's also a sake bomb menu to continue with the Kung Fu theme. Who knows—maybe your Street Fighter game will get better the more you drink.

Check out Austin's best dive bars, too

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