Before we get to the starting line-up, here’s how I define greatness in a place to watch sports:
- People: The place needs to have fans that know their sports and show their spirit, even if their team isn’t winning.
- Food: The menu should have the food that makes Texas unique: BBQ, Tex-Mex, Margaritas (it’s a food in DFW since it was invented here). And the chefs better do it well.
- TV/Video: Great sports places must have HD screens. Big ones. Lots of them.
- Ambiance: It doesn’t have to be adorned in sports memorabilia but it needs to have an authentic sports vibe that embraces cheering and makes fans feel comfortable making a mess.
- Outside the box: It doesn’t have to be a “sports bar” to be a great place to watch sports.
Here’s my big game starting line-up:
Frankie’s Bar: Located in the heart of downtown, Frankie’s combines the best of a sports bar and a cool music vibe speakeasy in a brownstone ambiance. Lots of screens. Great of fans to hang with. Its comfortable and the food makes you feel like you’re hanging out at someone’s media room.
DJ’s Bar & Grill: If you find yourself in north Dallas, this is the place to catch-up on your sports. As sports bars go, DJ’s has amazing food. It’s almost too good. I mean, when was the last time you had a truly amazing baloney sandwich? This is your chance. 44 HD screens provide great screen coverage. Its also a great place to bring your Team post-competition.
Milo Butterfingers: Equal parts boomer, modern hipster and college fan, Milo Butterfingers calls itself “the most eclectic bar in Dallas”. While not explicitly a sports bar, this is a great place to hang out and be a fan of whatever game turns you on. It is also the terminus of Dallas’ St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Tap-In Grill and Pub: If you want to hang out with main street Texas sports fans, this is the place. Literally. Located on historic Main Street in Grapevine, Tap-In has the best of Texas bar faire (burgers, chicken) and has local music most evenings. Looking for a cigar? You get one next door to finish off your evening.
Texas Station: You’ve heard about the 70-yard wide screen at AT&T Stadium, here you’ll find a 52-foot wide version. Located in the Gaylord Texan resort, this is an armchair athlete’s mecca…complete with comfy recliners ($50 F&B minimum). There is no shortage of screens showing multiple sports and the food is full-on Texan (burgers, meat and Tex-Mex). Because its in a resort, the clientele are less likely to be locals but its a great place to meet visitors from around the world. During NFL football season you’ll find current Dallas Cowboys players and legends hosting a local evening radio show.
The Stadium Club: No sports fan’s trip to DFW is complete without a trip to AT&T Stadium – the pearly gates of professional football. And even if the Cowboys aren’t playing at home, the Stadium Club is top shelf when it comes to enjoying sports. This is as close to Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones’ man cave as you’ll ever get. Suggestion: Have a meal here before a Texas Rangers’ home game and take the free shuttle to/from the Ballpark.
The Drunken Donkey: The DFW area was a late-comer to the whole craft beer scene, but like most things in Texas, we do it bigger and better. The Drunken Donkey has combined that spirit, a scratch kitchen and our DFW sport DNA to create a truly local authentic Texas sports fan experience. The staff are awesome and as knowledgeable about their beer selection – Denton (137) Lewisville (69) – as they are about their sports.
UPPER 90: Who says DFW doesn’t do soccer? Upper 90 in Fort Worth is an awesome place to get your international football on. It’s located in the hipster trendy South Fort Worth Magnolia street area which gives it a nice youth vibe. There are screens everywhere, including a wall projector. Wicked Happy Hour specials are not to be missed. The food is authentic Tex-Mex provided by Tina’s Cocina next door. When there’s a World Cup event on, the place goes off.
RESERVOIR: This is Sports Bar 2.0. It’s a trendy tavern with amazing unique food (any place that serves Captain Crunch coated chicken tenders is worth a visit). It also has a great social scene that includes a “see and be seen patio”. Inside it’s very comfortable with lots of screens and viewing areas. The staff do a great job at taking care of all patrons, including families. Look for great local music on weekends.
Katy Outpost: The Outpost and its older sibling, The Katy Trail Ice House, are legendary gathering places in DFW for fans of all ages and stages. Their establishments are designed around the Texas patio lifestyle which means big screens and awesome food, Both Katy establishments serve iconic Texas food and have a deep selection of craft beers. This is the place to go on a sunny weekend (even when it hits triple digits) to connect with the locals.
Featured Image Courtesy: Dallas Cowboys Stadium Club