Our Houston Astros have made quite a turnaround this season, as they currently hold one of the best records in baseball. The last few seasons, however, the team had become a source of embarrassment for the city as one of the worst teams in baseball and an easy target and punchline for late-night talk-show hosts and others. Whether you are a loyal, diehard Astros fan or a newbie jumping on the bandwagon after the team’s recent success, here are some great establishments to go visit and take in an Astros game when you can’t make it out to Minute Maid Park, or when the team is playing a game out of town. Of course you could stay home and watch the games by yourself, but it is fun to get out and watch them with a group of enthusiastic fans and should get even better if the Astros keep it up and make a run for the World Series. (Note: This list is in alphabetical order.)
BEER MARKET CO.
Beer Market Co. is a kitchen and bar, with 30 TVs spread out across the place including several outside on the spacious wraparound patio to watch the Astros on; you can even bring you dog along to cheer for the home team as well out on this patio. Beer Market has thrown down the gauntlet to beer bars across Houston by offering up more than 365 different brews; customers can drop in and have a different beer here every day of the year. Besides the jaw-dropping beer selection, the food here has also been a hit, with the “Mac ‘N Cheese Burger” and the “Brew Pretzels with Real Ale 'Hans Pi ls' Cheese Dip” among the favorites. (920 Studemont, beermarketco.com)
CENTER COURT PIZZA & BREW
Okay, technically this Center Court Pizza & Brew location is in Pearland, not Houston (and elsewhere in Missouri City, South Shore, and Cinco Ranch), but Pearland has always had a large sports-fan population; the city has had teams that have advanced to the Little League World Series, and the Pearland High School Oilers football team won the Class 5A Division I state championship in 2010. Center Court is known for its great pizza, which has been known to impress even native New Yorkers who are notoriously critical of any pizza not originating from the Big Apple; the place also has a very decent selection of craft beers. You can even take your kids here for a meal as the place is family friendly; the Astros fans at Center Court can get rowdy but not so much where you will have to cover your kid’s ears up or anything. (9721 Broadway, centercourtpizza.com)
CHRISTIAN'S TAILGATE GRILL & BAR (HEIGHTS)
Many people consider the burgers served at Christian’s Tailgate to be the best in Houston, and the onion rings are raved about as well; the extensive beer menu and the fact that this location is right down the street from Fitzgerald’s, where you can take a short walk and catch some live music after you are done watching an early game is another added bonus. Customers order at the counter here and they call you when your food is ready to come pick it up; the place is laid-back and casual and just a little bit divey. It’s a fun spot to come out and watch the Astros with some old friends or new friendly strangers you might meet. (2820 White Oak, christianstailgate.com)
A Montrose institution for 50 years now, Griff’s Irish Pub is the oldest sports bar in the city; the place has 22 TVs, including five big-screens, to show all of the Astros games on; Griff's Army of sports fans is sure to be out in full force throwing back some brews, cheering on the team and screaming at the umpires through the TV screens during all of the games. Unless you are on a diet, try some of Griff's bar food, like the "World Famous Griff's Burger"; throw in an extra buck to add a fried egg and make it a "Heart Attack Burger." This is what old-school sports bars are all about. (3416 Roseland, griffshouston.net)
Hefley’s in Midtown is a Texas-themed bar and restaurant inspired by the Lone Star State’s Hill Country; unlike the Hill Country, though, Hefley’s provides a nice view of the downtown skyline from the upstairs patio, where you can gaze out in between innings when coming out to watch the Astros. With a bar upstairs and downstairs you have many options on where to sit and watch a game, and if the Astros keep up their winning ways and head to the playoffs, Hefley’s just might extend the viewing party into their parking lots by setting up more TVs out there as well as some tents as they have in the past for big sporting events. Wash down some burgers, sandwiches and appetizers at Hefley’s with some Texas craft beers and play some pool, darts, pinball machines or tunes on the jukebox upstairs after the Astros are done playing. (138 W. Gray, hefleysbar.com)
LITTLE WOODROW'S (MIDTOWN)
The Little Woodrow’s location in Midtown was one of the early bars in the area and has been going strong for over a decade now, sticking to a simple formula of 50 craft beers on tap and above-average bar food to keep the patrons coming back. In addition to the flatscreen and large plasma TVs covering the walls, Little Woodrow’s has a nice and loud surround-sound system to listen to the games on; if you want to get together with a large group of your friends or co-workers for an Astros viewing party here, you can even book a space in advance. It’s nice to watch the games out on the spacious outdoor seating area and patio at this location this time of year during night games when the sun has gone down and it has cooled a bit. (2306 Brazos, littlewoodrows.com)
LUCKY'S PUB (EADO)
Lucky’s Pub in East Downtown is always a fun spot to watch an Astros game; it's probably a good idea to arrive a little earlier than the game's starting time to ensure you and your friends get to sit together as it can get crowded on game days, especially on the weekends. Lucky’s proximity to Warehouse Live makes it another location on our list where you can go catch an early ballgame and then head over to see a concert afterwards if you like. There are more than enough TVs available here to watch the games on including some large projection screens, and the bar food here is pretty good; try the pizza or a Lucky Burger and wash it down with one of the beers from the bar's large selection of draft and bottled brews. (801 St. Emanuel, luckyspub.com)
NICK'S PLACE ITALIAN SPORTS BAR & PIZZERIA
Nick’s is an authentic neighborhood sports bar that has been open for more than 20 years now, and it is the kind of place where you can find real Astros fans who have attained a vast wealth of knowledge about Major League Baseball and the home team from years of viewing. Another great thing about Nick’s is that the Italian food here, particularly the pizza, is outstanding and rises above the usual generic food you find in most sports bars. Don’t be surprised if you find a few fans of other baseball teams here as well, and you’ll hear some good-natured trash-talking going on between different teams' fans, as the patrons here are not shy and can be quite vocal. (2713 Rockyridge, nicksplacehouston.com)
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PJ'S SPORTS BAR
This friendly neighborhood dive bar is located in what looks to be an old two-story house and if you are looking for wall to wall high-definition TVs to watch the Astros on you will be disappointed at PJ’s; what you will find is easygoing people and an environment that is a throwback to how sports used to be watched at bars back before the evolution that has led to the development of the soulless modern corporate sports bar. There are only a few TVs here and one projection screen upstairs, but if you come out for an Astros game here the people who frequent PJ's make up a fun crowd to share the experience with, even if you happen to come on a slow night when the place is not super-crowded. (614 W. Gray, pjssportsbar.com)
REVELRY ON RICHMOND
Revelry on Richmond is an upscale craft-beer and sports bar, as well as a full restaurant; the food is upscale bar food such as appetizers like nachos or fresh-baked pretzels to share with a friend; burgers that are available with beef patties, boneless chicken breasts, ground turkey or black bean patties; or a Pork Porterhouse steak with mashed potatoes, among other items. Revelry offers specials on Houston brewed craft drafts during all Astros games; the place is kind of a beer lover's paradise, with 40 rotating local and craft brews on tap. Revelry is also dog friendly and has TVs outside on their back patio; overall the bar has 27 TVs so it is never hard to find a place to sit and watch a game with friends. (1613 Richmond, revelryonrichmond.com)