Thick branches of 140-year-old oak trees stretch above Live Oak Bar and Grill, shrouding its wooden outdoor patio in a gentle blanket of leafy shade. The patio stands behind the restaurant itself, a home built in 1876 that is still decorated with photos of its original occupants and recent shots of their poltergeists.
And while the building itself is steep in century old history, the grill's cooks prefer to use ingredients whose age doesn’t match Live Oak's historic surrounds. Instead, they source fresh, natural ingredients from local farms to create their homestyle versions of classic bar dishes, from half-pound burgers to fish tacos smothered with jalapeno ranch dressing. Feasts unfold amidst rounds of billiards, sports flashing on flat-screen TVs, and weekly karaoke, while outside, live musicians occasionally take to the stage to serenade diners.
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.
Lucky's Pub may not be a skyscraper, but it still manages to live up to the grand scale of its downtown surroundings. For starters, there's the 21-foot HDTV, which––along with the 50 other TVs interspersed throughout the bar––ensures an un-restricted view of pro and college games from every seat. Likewise the beer list clocks in at a staggering 280-brews strong and counting, yielding almost limitless pairings when combined with pub fare such as pizzas, wings, and sandwiches like the Lucky Cubano with pork, honey ham, and swiss cheese. Add in games such as pool, shuffleboard, and darts, and Lucky's Pub is the perfect place to settle in, kick back, and stay until the games are long over and the players have all crawled back into their gym bags.
As soon as you open the door to T-Bones Sports Pub, you're surrounded by the sights, smells, and sound of game day. Crowds cheer and groan while watching the restaurant's multiple TVs, each broadcasting the day's best games so guests can keep up with multiple sports without training a carrier pigeon to update scoreboards. To complement its beer list, T-Bones offers classic pub appetizers such as hot wings, chili cheese fries, and grand-slam chicken nachos. When guests get hungrier during overtime, they can order a house entree, which range from BLTs to 8-ounce burgers topped with chili cheese or bacon.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
Christian’s Tailgate Bar & Grill has been wetting Houston’s collective whistle for more than 70 years. A prime spot for cold beer and sports, guests can turn to one of the many TVs and watch their favorite teams take the field, the court, or the witness stand. But the main draw here might be the burgers, which the Houston Press salivated over when they named the joint one of Houston’s top 10 sports bars. Third- and half-pound patties make for a burger that's “fresh and large, and one of the better ones in town.” Try one topped with onion rings, or an open-faced rendition loaded down with chili and cheese.