Hosted by the happy-hour champs at Lucky’s Pub, Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day douses eight bands and two DJs in green beer to welcome fall Emerald Isle–style. Atlanta duo Dead Rabbits puts a bluesy spin on vintage garage sounds, and local quartet Lost Element rocks crowds with a giant cradle while performing its latest EP, Back Again. Wielding metal riffs as sharp as they are funky, Downfall 2012 cuts grooves deeper than a fortune cookie on the ocean floor. Other highlights include rousing bagpipe jams and a performance by Eddie Peery & the Rattlesnakin’ Daddies, who blankets fans in comforting country covers.
Twenty television screens 42 inches and larger shroud sports fans in a high-definition blanket of live athletic combat at Coaches Pub Midtown, a friendly neighborhood watering hole specially designed to help hungry hominids tackle tasty American pub eats. Nosh fresh menu items such as fried mushrooms ($6.75) or homemade potato skins ($6) before your team's coin toss, then sneak in nibbles of the cheese-slathered half-pound Coaches pub burger ($9/dinner) between snaps of your hometown NFL or jai-alai squad. The 12-ounce grilled rib-eye steak arrives at your gnawing quarters sizzling in homemade steak sauce and neighbored by your choice of side ($15), while a proud culinary squad courteously removes the headset from each champion chicken fried steak before dousing it in creamy gravy ($12).
Platters of traditional bratwursts and kielbasa sausages march across Bar Munich’s menu in a Bavarian brigade of flavors crafted without any preservatives, fillers, hormones, or antibiotics. The juicy, beer-cooked bratwurst ($7.50) adopts the caramel maltiness of Breckenridge Avalanche ale, and the cheddar bratwurst ($7.50) hides its cheesy center beneath a thick coat of meat. Taste buds embark on a continental tour with the Eastern European–style kielbasa ($7.50), whose spices reflect the culinary traditions of countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic. All bratwursts are served on a baked roll with kraut and chips. To supplement their meaty offerings, Bar Munich teams up with a local German baker who twists fresh Bavarian-style pretzels ($5) to dunk into sides of hot or sweet mustard. Though this Groupon is not valid toward alcohol, Bar Munich fills steins and waterproof boots with Hofbräu beers by the liter. This lively nightspot also boasts an events calendar that includes regular movie nights and themed drinking games.
Griff’s has been a neighborhood favorite and prime sports bar since 1965, when the only ideal ways to follow a game were to go to your local bar or invent the internet. The technology may have changed since then, but the welcoming spirit here has not. Just take a look at Griff’s Army, a devoted pack of likeminded sports fanatics who gather at the bar to watch the games on large TVs or board Griff’s party bus to attend one in person. Of course you don’t need be a member of to take advantage of Griff's big TVs, nightly specials, Jagermeister machine, or its menu of classic pub grub fare, which includes buffalo wings and half-pound burgers. Then again, it may be worth joining just for access to toga parties or bus rides to Astros, Rockets, and Aeros games.
For a moment, The Firkin & Phoenix Pub's weathered brick and solid-black panels make the street corner look like a London intersection—but then a motorist drives by on the right side of the street, and the impression fades. No matter, since the decor inside continues the evocation of Englishness, with black booths backed with plush red cushions, a bar built from dark hardwoods, and carpet patterns recalling the Victorian era. The menu includes classic British dishes from scotch eggs to cottage pie along with burgers and other American pub food, including a Meatless Mondays vegetarian menu. The drink menu features popular English and American beers, with barkeeps pouring (512) Brewing Company IPA and Newcastle.
In true pub fashion, The Firkin & Phoenix keeps guests entertained in addition to well-fed. Eight LCD-screen televisions surround patrons with sports, and the staff sets up three projectors for highly anticipated events, such as Saturday-morning cartoons. More diversions include free WiFi, pub games such as darts, billiards, and ping-pong, and video games on a Nintendo Wii or Xbox 360 Kinect. The Firkin & Phoenix Pub also hosts trivia and bingo nights, plus charity events such as dog washes to benefit local animal shelters.
At The Mezzanine Lounge, a sports-oriented upstairs and a lower-level lounge stack atop each other inside the double-decker bar that Citysearch named Best Sports Bar in 2008 and 2009. The kitchen, like the bar, stays open until 2 a.m. daily, grilling chicken tenders and fresh half-pound patties for burgers such as the Twisted Texas burger, slathered in spicy barbecue sauce and topped with jalapeños. DIRECTV and other cable packages wire round the clock sports coverage to the bars’ more than 30 TVs sprinkled artfully throughout the venue, supplying clear sightlines from anywhere, including the restrooms. Between strolls to the covered patio, patrons can aim cues atop red felt pool tables and drop quarters into an internet-capable jukebox, which stocks more than 150 CDs and can download further titles or add fictitious Grammy wins to Percy Sledge’s Wikipedia page.