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.
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.
More than 40 years ago, Charlie and Mary Garcia founded El Chaparral Mexican Restaurant to share their culinary heritage with the local community. Though the business has now been passed down to the next generation of the family, the restaurant adheres to the made-fresh recipes of its early days, delighting diners with hearty enchiladas, fresh seafood dishes, and its signature bean soup.