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 taxidermal animals at Trophy Room help to create an ambiance that toes the line between a lodge and a natural-history museum. In addition to a bighorn sheep and a bear, the space includes terrariums with everything from deer to foxes. The bar actually rests on a line of these terrariums, allowing visitors to enjoy their drinks beside posed scenes with pheasants and iconic copies of National Geographic.
The dedication to hunting culture extends to the menu, which features hearty burgers and sliders with buffalo, elk, and venison patties. Familiar finger foods round out the selection and include beer-battered onion rings and hand-cut tortilla chips with roasted-tomato salsa. Bartenders augment meals by siphoning off sudsy pints of domestic and imported microbrews.
Between bites and drinks, Trophy Room invites guests to demonstrate their skills on red-felted pool tables, dartboards, or scattered arcade games. The bar stages free Texas hold’em tournaments throughout the week, and high-definition televisions and a jukebox keep patrons entertained with live sports broadcasts and hidden birdcall tracks.
The home of "increasingly famous burgers," Wild Horse Saloon & Grill spreads out tasty pub fare in a building that previously served as a church and a community theater. After finding a seat, guests can grab a handful of free peanuts, fling the shells to the floor in slow motion, and check the menu for potential edibles. The Stampede burger's hand-pressed, one-pound patty of Angus beef is smothered in a slew of toppings including bacon, four slices of cheese, peppers, and chili and arrives with a heap of hand-cut french fries ($12.45). Diners can also blow their tongues' minds with a "somewhat famous" chicken sandwich ($7.45) or bite into the eatery's "completely obscure" fish entree, the grilled mahi mahi sandwich ($7.95). Thin-crust pizzas ($5.95–$17.95) can be ordered from a selection of signature styles, customized with an array of fresh ingredients, or quickly stacked into a pizza-cake in the event of an impromptu wedding.
With a 2,500-square-foot patio and two bars, The Sparrow's Landing promises lots of room for relaxation. The laid-back drinking hole and grill borrows recipes from both sides of the Atlantic to create its menu, which features a burger called The Irishman with beer-battered potato planks, cheddar cheese, and whiskey barbecue sauce, as well as shrimp po' boys sided with macaroni and cheese. As for entertainment, 10 giant TVs air throughout the space and local bands take the stage to serenade guests as they sip their choice of beer on tap or specialty cocktail.
Voted Best Sports Bar by San Antonio Current in 2010, Ticket Sports Bar & Grill washes away hunger with a monsoon of hearty American fare that fills out an expansive menu. Earnest eaters can get straight to business with an appetizer of Jamaican wings ($7.95), which pop with flavor thanks to a pineapple mango dressing and a marinating session in Caribbean spices. Similar to school musicals at Hamburger University, a troupe of melted colby jack cheese and honey barbecue sauce dances across an all-meat patty stage in the bacon jack double ($9.95). The Cajun chicken linguini ($10.95), meanwhile, tops its zesty pasta with toasted almonds, scallions, and creamy sauce. All corners of the bar are entertained by Ticket Sports Bar & Grill's 11 large HD televisions, handily mounted on the exposed-brick walls. Like most drive-in Olympic Games, a monster 12-foot HD projection screen rests as a centerpiece to air an exciting sporting event. Two floors of seating make the restaurant a bi-level haven for sports fans, and guests can additionally rest their endoskeleton at the outdoor New Orleans–style patio, its covered area welcoming fresh breezes from nearby Central Park.
An official partner of Texas State Athletics, Bobcat Nation Sports Bar & Grill supports the maroon and gold with memorabilia that spans the school's 115-year history. Beneath displays of autographed helmets and game jerseys, people nosh on burgers, wings, fried seafood baskets, and regional hot dogs?including The San Marcos with chili, queso, onion, and jalapenos?while watching the game on 1 of 25 flat-screen TVs.
On the outdoor smoking patio, you can take a seat and sip on craft beers from Goose Island and New Belgium. If you're having a watch party at home, Bobcat Nation can cater your event or at least text you and tell you they miss you.