The watching league

Win or lose, best bars to watch the big Texans-Patriots game (food, drinks & big-screen TVs)

Win or lose, best bars to watch the big Texans-Patriots game (food, drinks & big-screen TVs)

sports bars, Blue Fish 02, January 2013
Blue Fish is all about game-watching and fun. Photo by Amy Chien
sports bars, Philippe Restaurant, Phil's, French Cowboy cocktail, January 2013
At Phil's, try the French Cowboy Cocktail. Photo by Amy Chien
sports bars, Cafe 101, 02, January 2013
Big screens await you at Cafe 101. Photo by Amy Chien
sports bars, Bar Bites, four dishes, Triniti
Bar bites at Triniti Photo by Amy Chien
sports bars, Blue Fish 02, January 2013
sports bars, Philippe Restaurant, Phil's, French Cowboy cocktail, January 2013
sports bars, Cafe 101, 02, January 2013
sports bars, Bar Bites, four dishes, Triniti

With the spread being 9.5 points this week, the likelihood of the Texans winning the big game is looking a little grim. But you never know, J.J. Watt can force Tom Brady into some uncomfortable throws and earn us a win.

The best bar to watch the big game depends on if you're a glass-half-empty or mug-half-full kind of fan.

For those of you betting on a big Texans victory, here are the best bars with great screens and drinks.

For those of you who think the Texans might lose but you're still a big enough fan to watch the game, here are some bars with great TV, food, and additional distraction in case the game doesn't go our way.

Bars if we win

Mongoose versus Cobra
The staff at Mongoose versus Cobra sacrificed a cask of Karbach Hopadillo to the football gods for a Texan victory last time, and the Texan won!

This time the bar is offering up another sacrificial Texas cask on game day, so you better get over there to watch the game on their secret 70-inch super screen.

Leon's Lounge and Mongoose's sister bar, 13 Celsius, are nearby so you can make an entire night of celebration.

As soon as Cottonwood opened, the bigger, better version of Liberty Station plus food earned my love. The quirky atmosphere, vast open outdoor area, craft cocktails and beer are to die for. Screens dominate every corner and the food is for the most part above par (yes on the moist and tender fish tacos with fresh slaw, no on the dry yet greasy, over-fried pork belly corndogs).

Very family friendly and a great place celebrate our win with the entire clan.

This saloon portion of this multi-campus bar/restaurant was built as a sports bar so it goes without saying that TVs are everywhere.

The icing on the cake is the DJ who plays music during the commercials so you don’t have to listen to Peyton Manning endorse Papa Johns 50 million times.

The crowd matches the friendliness of the staff and you often end up make friends with strangers here. After the Texans win, you can mosey on to The Grille Room (the fancy social bar at Blackfinn) and splurge on a fancy winner’s scotch.

Bars if we lose

Twin Peaks
With three locations to choose from, you can’t lose at this breastaurant — until you remember even Gary Kubiak admits to New England tight end Rob Gronkowski’s returning prowess.

Drink your tears away with one of their crazy shots like the Rumple Minze, described as a “100 proof breath mint” before attempting to plant one on a waitress.

Hay Merchant
This pseudo sports bar for hipsters has a large projection screen in addition to the smaller screens sprinkled throughout the bar. Their beer selection is hands down one of the best in town, although their food can be a mixed bag.

If we lose you can drown your sorrows noshing at any of the nearby notable restaurants such as Underbelly, Uchi, or El Real.

Flying Saucer
This Southern institution is almost always packed. Love the downtown old school atmosphere with 240 beers offerings.

The Rocket Tots are greasy goodness, and the giant pretzels (TWO per order) rival the bigger-than-your-face ones at Mongoose versus Cobra.

The drawback is the lack of empty seats on game days and the less-than-friendly service. 

Consider yourself warned: if we lose, don't take your anger out on the wait staff. Culture Map doesn't pay me enough to bail you out of jail.

Other places

If you want to beat the crowds, consider some non-traditional places to watch the game.

The Blue Fish Heights location has a great dining area where you can suck down hot sakes and edamame while watching the game on their big screen TVs.

Cheer on the Texans with fellow sports fans at Cafe 101, a hip Taiwanese sports bar/restaurant while snacking on bacon fries and downing Tsingtao beers.

For a really civilized way to watch the game, head to Triniti. The restaurant opens Sunday at 3 p.m., and the happy hour specials last all afternoon and evening until closing. Triniti's delicious cocktails are half off; select wines are $5 and Texas beers are $3.

I was at the restaurant recently and enjoyed their rich "Devils on Horseback" (roasted fig wrapped in candied bacon). The kitchen also offers fried chicken meatballs, tuna poke, and grilled oysters for Happy Hours.

You can also lounge at the ever-swanky Philippe Restaurant, which is celebrating the playoffs with a Saturday happy hour that starts at 5 p.m. All American cabernets are half price, and French Cowboy (Jim Beam, Lilett, and agave) cocktails are a mere $6.

Go Texans!

Do you have a favorite bar to watch the game that we didn't mention? If so, let us know in the Comments section.