Vote for Houston's Ultimate Sports Bar
Houston's Ultimate Sports Bar Showdown: 16 favorites face off for the MVP title
CultureMap and SportsMap are teaming up to celebrate the return of the fall sports season with The Tailgate, our all-out party devoted to everything sports. It’s happening Wednesday, October 25 at Silver Street Studios, and tickets are already on sale.
For The Tailgate’s second year, we’re inviting CultureMap and SportsMap readers to vote for Houston’s best sports bar in our Ultimate Sports Bar Showdown. Our panel of editors and other local experts has compiled a roster of 16 local favorites with an array of different strengths. Some are owned by professional athletes, while others are part of local or national chains.
Some are big enough to accommodate hundreds of people at a time, while others are more intimate. Regardless of the specifics, they all offer a lively atmosphere for rooting on all of our favorite teams.
Rather than a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament, we’re inviting readers to vote for their favorite establishments from the entire field. The top half of all vote getters will advance to the next round as we go from 16 to eight to four to two to a winner. People may vote once per day, and voting will be monitored to ensure every establishment gets a fair shot to win. Vote here for your favorite.
Want to find out who wins? Join us at The Tailgate on Wednesday, October 25 at Silver Street Studios. Favorite restaurants such as FM Kitchen and Bar, Wild Concepts, Leaf & Grain, Ramen Tatsu-ya, and CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Best New Restaurant winner Aiko will serve sports-themed bites alongside many of our Ultimate Sports Bar nominees.
The event also will shine a spotlight on sports-related nonprofits and give you the chance to pitch in and make a difference for the causes they champion. Learn more about Dynamo and Dash Charities, Houston Texans Foundation, and others.
General admission ($50) and VIP ($75) tickets are on sale now. All tickets include bites by participating restaurants, complimentary premium beverages, and access to fun activities throughout the event. VIP tickets offer one-hour early entry, a dedicated VIP bar, and a meet-and-greet with former Houston Texans star Jonathan Joseph. Buy them now.
Not sure who to vote for? Read on for profiles of all 16 nominees. May the best sports bar win.
The first of three sports bar nominees tied to a professional athlete, Biggio’s honors Craig Biggio, the first player to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame wearing an Astros cap. Located inside downtown’s luxurious Marriott Marquis — yes, that’s the one with the Texas-shaped lazy river — Biggio’s features two, 30-foot tall screens that wouldn’t be out of place in a Vegas sportsbook. With an extensive cocktail selection and a wide-ranging menu, it’s an ideal place to celebrate an Astros win.
Originally a legendary burger joint on the I-10 feeder, Christian’s has evolved into a four-location mini-empire of local sports bars. The burger still leads the way, of course, but they’re now joined by tacos, sandwiches, wings, and even salads. Daily specials and a generous reverse happy hour ensure fans stay properly motivated to root for their favorite teams.
This EaDo bar’s proximity to both Minute Maid Park and Shell Energy Stadium has made it a favorite place for Dynamo fans and members of #AstrosTwitter to gather for pre and post-game celebrations. It probably helps that owner Raul Jacobo (aka Cobo) maintains such a fiery presence on the platform, posting in support of the local teams and mocking their rivals. The epic deliciousness of the signature brisket boudin mac and cheese quesadilla helps, too.
George Country Sports Bar
A Montrose favorite for more than 15 years, this gay sports bar subverts stereotypes and affirms that all Houstonians like to root for their favorite teams. When patrons aren’t watching TVs, they gather around the pool table or at the dart boards. Get there early on Thursday nights for the steak special as it routinely sells out.
Kirby Ice House
The lines about “everything is bigger in Texas” are mostly a tired cliche, but it is true at this three-location sports bar empire. Each one that opens debuts with what’s touted as “the longest bar in Texas” (surpassing its predecessor) — all the better to find a space to choose from the dozens of beer, wine, and cocktail options. The massive interiors and spacious patios also mean never having to struggle to find a place to watch one of the dozens of TVs that fill each location.
Given that it has locations all over Texas, including nine in Greater Houston, we probably don’t need to say much about Little Woodrow’s. We celebrate this local institution for its extensive beer selection, lively atmosphere, and hospitable service. No wonder that so many alumni groups make it their game-watching destination of choice.
Maple Leaf Pub
Among sports fans, it’s routinely acknowledged that the NHL playoffs are the most exciting tournament of the four major professional sports. Hockey-loving Houstonians know that the most exciting place to watch the NHL is this Midtown bar. Being surrounded by like-minded fans always creates a festive atmosphere, as does the Molson on tap and the signature poutine.
With its casual, indoor-outdoor space, dog-friendly environment, and signature swings, both the original Shady Acres location and downtown outpost have become popular destinations. TVs everywhere allows fans to follow multiple games at once — perfect at times like the NCAA tournament or when watching the Rangers choke away the division. The formula has proven popular enough to sprout two locations in San Antonio and a new Webster expansion that’s opening soon.
For almost 30 years, this West Houston sports bar has prided itself on showing every major college and pro game — as well as boxing, UFC, and WWE — on its more than 40 TVs. Serving food until 1 am means that fans can get a signature calzone or other Italian American favorite even when the games go into overtime. Weekday happy hour specials keep regulars coming back again and again.
Fans of the Longhorns, Aggies, and LSU Tigers have made this Heights-area patio bar their game day destination. Patterson Park caters to their interests with team-themed drink specials, food trucks, and more than 40 TVs spread throughout its inviting, treehouse-inspired atmosphere. Co-owner Lonnie Schiller, one of the Houston hospitality legends who founded concepts such as Cafe Annie and Cafe Express, ensures that friendly, welcoming service will always be a priority.
Dynamo legend Brian Ching partnered with the owners of the Kirby Group (Heights Bier Garten, Holman Draft Hall, etc.) on this sprawling bar in EaDo. Located blocks from Shell Energy Stadium, it’s become a favorite pre and post-game destination as well as one of the city’s most popular destinations to watch the World Cup and other global tournaments. Those who are feeling particularly athletic can show off their skills on on its indoor pitch.
The Phoenix on Westheimer
This intimate Montrose pub is a favorite of sports fans who appreciate its welcoming atmosphere and elevated pub group that caters to the neighborhood with well-executed plant-based dishes. The 24 TVs mean never missing a critical play. Regular parking lot parties take the fun outside.
At 18,000-square-feet, this massive Midtown bar offers plenty of room for watching the game. A scratch-made kitchen, including Italian-style pizzas made with imported flour, offers a fresh alertnative to typical pub fare. Beer towers, bottle service, and craft cocktails help fans keep their spirits up throughout the night.
Quad Houston Restaurant & Sports Lounge
Our third athlete-owned establishment comes from native Houstonian Michael Brockers, who had a distinguished career at LSU before playing for the Rams and Lions. Newly opened in Third Ward, Quad and its companion cigar lounge The Den feature a menu of elevated, Southern-style fare such as blackened salmon and shrimp and grits. With more than 40 TVs, fans will never miss a pitch, snap, or corner kick.
Rockhouse Southern Kitchen
Among our most recently-opened nominees, this concept from the minds behind Patterson Park and The Warwick features a lively game day atmosphere that’s backed up by a game day Goal Line menu. It features specials such as red and blue frozen cocktails, $15 domestic buckets, and massive platters that combine wings, chicken tenders, and Rockhouse’s signature oxtail egg rolls. On weekends, the restaurant lives up to its name with live music in a variety of genres.
With more than 100 locations across the U.S. and Mexico, Twin Peaks is arguably the country’s most successful sports bar. While the attractive staff gets people in the door the first time, they come back for scratch-made food that includes in-house smoked pork ribs and chicken wings. Cold beers and plenty of TVs further enhance the game day atmosphere.
The Tailgate is sponsored by Bud Light, NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer, Cutwater Spirits, 1800 Tequila, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, and more to be announced.