When Jim Kiest of the San Antonio Express-News visited Hooligan’s Bar & Grill, he left with one important takeaway: “It is a great place to hang out when you’re not quite sure what you want to do. You’ll figure it out when you get there.” Kiest hit the nail on the head, given Hooligan’s eclectic collection of events and games. On any given night, a DJ might spin current hits for patrons to tap dance to or a cover band might storm the stage and pump out jams from the 1970s, ‘80s, or ‘90s. The music supplies a lively soundtrack for free rounds of poker, coin-operated pool games, an arsenal of darts and video games, and even dodge-ball matches.
Regardless of the ever-changing events schedule, patrons will always find three staples at Hooligan’s—food, drinks, and plenty of TVs. While watching Monday-night football or a UFC fight, bar-goers can munch mild to extra-hot wings, classic 8-ounce burgers, and individual pizzas, all washed down by domestic beers or fun cocktails such as cherry bombs and washington apples.
The interiors of The Lion & Rose pubs emulate the convivial atmosphere of British and Irish settings, with each corner of the restaurant ornamented with vintage wall sconces and handmade wood decor. The draught list overflows with imported pints such as Boddingtons and Smithwick's, while the menu includes unusual specialties such as chips and curry alongside shepherd's pie and bangers, mash, and beans. As befits a sports bar, locations boast plasma TVs tuned to the biggest games as well as dartboards where friends can challenge one another.
Rivercenter Comedy Club hosts well-established laugh conjurers and undiscovered comedic masterminds capable of leaving the 350-seat showroom doubled over in harmonized chuckles. Past Rivercenter audience-slayers include Carlos Mencia, Tommy Chong, Chris Rock, and Engelbert Humperdinck. This Groupon is good for a ticket to any show, so check the calendar for a show that sates your comedic taste buds. Once you’re settled into your seat or hammock, use the $5 food voucher toward any non-alcoholic menu item, each of which is specially prepared to fit precisely into a smiling mouth.
Amid GameTown Pizza's mélange of arcade consoles and analog challenges, chefs sculpt dough for New York–style pizzas and ensconce zesty ingredients within calzones and strombolis before baking them golden on sizzling pizza stones. The bustling game room challenges competitors to bouts of air hockey, basketball, and invigorating redemption games, whose ribbons of tickets garner well-earned trips to the prize counter. Party planners can host savory shindigs within the arcade's private party room, whose whimsical yellow walls display flat-screen TVs ideal for celebratory slideshows and virtual-reality birthday cakes alike.
Since 1987, Fatso's Sports Garden’s roster of chefs have been slow cooking meats with passion and precision–they mesquite-smoke their brisket for 12 hours and dish out racks of savory baby-back ribs that slide off the bone. Housemade sides and sauces are crafted fresh daily, and 22 beers on tap fill frosty glasses that frequently clink after touchdowns, homeruns, and slam dunks flicker across satellite-equipped TVs lining the restaurant's walls. Outside, a playground beckons youngsters, while grains of sand and old blueprints for Victorian-era sand mansions kick up across six outdoor volleyball courts.
Malibu Shack makes a splash in the San Antonio culinary waters with a California-inspired menu brimming with fresh half-pound, handmade 100 percent Angus beef burgers on buns of choice, taco plates, and battered seafood. The SoCal-inspired eatery welcomes neighbors and far-flung wanderers into its surfboard-festooned dining room, which is painted in bright green and orange. Patrons sip fountain drinks amid potted fronds, lounge on the outdoor patio, or saunter over to the 45-foot bar made of bamboo and spritzed with panda-repelling perfume.