Friday, December 27, 2013

Where to Watch Football (World) and Drink Beer (Local) in Austin, Texas for the 2014 World Cup

So, um, fuck yeah. 

In less than a week’s time, everybody on the planet will be giving out exactly zero shits to work obligations, and instead, actively seeking out a nice, cozy pub in which to drink their burdensome nerves under the table, all the while, meshing curse words into superlatives and urging his favorite football hero to save this fucking country or else!

Here in The States, the tension is a bit more muted, but only just! 

Lately – at least over the last several years dating back two Cups now – has the broad valley of American ethnocentrism and cultural indifference been bridged by the curious marvel and metered patriotism for The Beautiful Game –  just as the rest of the world does for one month out of every 48.

Further still, this year's tournament is a merciful two hours time difference between where we stand right at this moment, and where the games will be played; a veritable reprieve from the unholy wake up calls when the World Cup was held in South Korea/Japan and South Africa.  

But this year we, and many others like us, will take full advantage of our geographic fortune and proceed to get shitfaced during normal business hours!  And because of this regional advantage, bars (actual fucking bars!) will be in full operation to help us be participant in our personal pursuit to massacre our vital organs and unreasonable stresses with alcohol.  Namely beer.  Good beer. (Because what kind of asshole would drink a gin and tonic during a football match?).

Because of these integral conditions of having world football on the television and good beer for consumption, we cannot entrust just any old bar to meet our (typically low, but for just this once) high standards, now could we?  This is a very rare event after all, and all of the macro american lagers in the country won't do it a lick of justice.  No not at all.

What we are requiring is a pub that will heed the gravity of The World Cup.  Bars with beer choices that compliment the importance of animate art.  But also bars that, while holding the form of good potables, also allow for the pledging of allegiances to the men of Argentina, or Cameroon, or by God, the USA.  And besides, do any of us really need more of reason to say fuck it when it comes to work than sports and beer?

So here are a hand-selected grouping of bars who meet the caveats of maximal World Cup viewing, which are 1) good beer, and 2) sound amplification of the televisions.  And while bar specials are nice, bar specials are merely fluff as long as they meet our first two stipulations.  

The Brew & Brew [500 San Marcos St. | 512.493.0963]

A craft beer bar (and café!) will head this list because it hits on all the proper elements like an upper-90 golazo from the top of the 18.  If that sentence is literally gibberish to you than know this, B&B serves 38 craft beers on draft to make you talk like a cleft-arsed English supporter by the 60th minute.  And if this paragraph still means nothing to you, then go and have yourself a latte, sit in the corner, and watch how the self-loathing Brits do it.  B&B promises projection for all matches with sound, a blackened viewing area for maximal viewing of Wayne Rooney’s poor touch, and Hops & Grain specials for every game!  Smashing!

B.D. Riley's Irish Pub [204 East 6th | 512.494.1335]

B.D. Riley’s also caters to the craft savvy, but functions far more as a sports bar in the rad-est part of downtown.  We won’t hold the fact that they typically operate as a Notre Dame and New England Patriots bar against them, because in doing so, they seem to both love and loathe America at the same time, which is essentially what the whole rest of the world does everyday.  To us, that is very World Cuppish.  B.D.’s promises to show all matches with sound on their big 70” screen.  They will have pint specials on semi-local, sorta-craft Shiner beers and others.

Haymaker [2310 Manor Rd | 512.243-6702]

NEVERMIND.  AVOID AT ALL COST. Mismanagement on crowd control and short pours on pints.  We gave them enough chances.

Hopfields [3110 Guadalupe St | 512) 537-0467

Apart from being one of our favorite every-day pubs, Hopfield's also assured that ...

which is pretty much all the convincing we need to take in a few matches at this campus area joint.  

Holy Mountain [617 E 7th St]

In every World Cup, there is always a breakout star whom sets the place ablaze with flair and aplomb.  My José Mourinho senses are telling me that Holy Mountain is this year’s Diego Forlan.  Just listen to their self-promo from their website:  

World Cup Watch Parties are happening on the Mountain starting on June 12th!  We will be open for all other matches, from those fabled early (long) lunch breaks (11am kickoff) and the “leave work a little before 5” efforts. Special guests will be joining our host Adi Anand to discuss all the action. Trivia before the matches and at halftime with chances to win drink tickets and more! We’ve got drink specials from Jim Beam, Thrilled Cheese food truck to ensure we stay the course, DJ sets & live bands, and plenty more fun and games!”

They’ve done so much of the writing work for me, that I can’t help to give them one of those above-head, post-game hand clap addressed to the supporters section.  Oh, and this:

“Ghana vs USA at 5pm. Happy Hour prices all night AND complimentary Jim Beam shots for everyone (21+) at the bar for EVERY US Goal.”


Mr. Tramps [8565 Research Blvd | 512.837.3500]

If Holy Mountain is the young upstart, then Mr. Tramps is the Zinedine Zidane of Austin soccer pubs; not flashy, but makes those around it better and has an excellent work rate.  A real winner.

They must be so busy being awesome over there that no one answered the phones to update us on their Cup specials.  But does it really matter anyway?  You are going here while your wife shops at SuperTarget.

The Mohawk [912 Red River St | 512.666.0877]

Will the best music venue in Austin become the best place to catch a footy match in Austin?  

We can’t say for sure just yet, but the idea of Mohawk displaying The World Cup in all of its glory to supporters fixed atop their concrete vistas is a supremely romantic and lets face it – engagingly European – way to show the games, what with the backdrop of downtown and plaza-style viewing.  We're in.

Mohawk promises signature cocktails, “bubbles for ladies” (ed: how WAG), IPAs lagers, stouts, and ales in the holy trinity of draft, bottle, and can.
 There will be craft hot dogs by Frank, and of course, multiple screens (indoor and out) with surround sound.  Please note, however, 21+.

Bar 96 [96 Rainey Street | 512.433.6604]

Bar 96 is probably our favorite “dedicated” sports bar in Austin because it is so unapologetically not a sports bar, but your step-father-in-law’s beach bungalow that has been lent out for the summer to his Jaycees frat mates.  Its old and new in many, many ways, with a few dozen TVs and a first rate garden area for lounging in the remorseful summer twilight.  

Bar 96 is also the unofficial (future MLS franchise – we hope) Austin FC World Cup viewing area.  Their beer is craft, but we would be remiss if we didn’t add that their very reasonably priced Lone Star Lite is a sometimes treat for us.

Black Sheep Lodge [2108 S Lamar Blvd | 512.707.2744]

The (older) sister restaurant to Haymaker is not as perky as her sibling, but she gets by very well on congeniality.  There are very ample swaths of viewing areas and a superior food menu to Haymaker, but sometimes Black Sheep slips up when it comes to providing sound for lesser matches.  Still, they do promise sound-on for bigger matches, a wide selection of craft beer, $1 off for wearing a team jersey, and a buck off any beer from the countries of origin who are currently competing on-screen.  For those Amstel Light meatheads, Holland takes the stage on Friday, June 13.
The Tavern [922 W 12th St | 512) 320-8377]

At a time not terribly long ago, The Tavern was a sports-veiwing dinosaur in terms of television quality, but dude, have they upgraded!  The Tavern boasts 55 TVs and promise full sound upstairs.  They report to have "beer bucket specials", which sounds menacingly like macro beer to us, but whatever, they have loads of craft taps and a general electricity that has been privy to all of the greatest sporting moments of the television era.  Oh, and they are also versed in dealing with the boisterous soccer crowd, as they host the Austin Aztex supporters group before every home match.  Good enough for us. 


Dr Clarkus said...

great stuff there. thanks.

elphabaisfae said...


And nice way to show sexism. I, as well as MANY other females, follow footy year round, in multiple countries.

Enjoy your 2 week bandwagon. If you want to talk footy, I'll still be around.

Mo G. said...

Thanks for pointing out my typo. Corrected.

Awesome that you are a year-rounder. Me too. I was especially fanatical when i was playing over in Europe in the 90s as a teen, but I have to say that my roots stem back to the first cup i remember, Italia 90, and rooting on The States as a small boy.

I'd love to talk more football with you after the 4 weeks are through.

Two points: not sure what you mean by "bandwagon" and i'm not sure about the "sexist" comment.

Can you elaborate?

burritospeedo said...

Fado doesn't make the cut? They at least meet your qualifications.

Mo G. said...

They do not. They whiff completely on craft beer options, although perhaps it has improved since I'm a couple of years removed from watching some of Euro '12 there. Apart from that, I find their television set up very awkward. Nice bar for the weekend, but not for match day. Just my opinion.