Fall in Houston can mean any number of things, from the end of the blazing heat to Christmas decorations set out way too early at local home-decor stores. It also means the absolute prime of college-football season.
Houston is a diverse, transient city that is home to a number of folks who once called somewhere else home altogether. Our city features alumni and fans from colleges not only in the state of Texas, but across the nation. And whether you’re a local fan/alumnus or alumna, or just a big college football fan, here are some of the best places in town to spend your Saturday afternoons. (This list is in alphabetical order.)
Atlas is the official watch party location for the Houston-area Texas Exes chapter, which makes sense, considering the venue is owned by a UT grad. While things haven’t exactly gone swimmingly for the Longhorns in recent years, former UH head coach Tom Herman appears to have things on the mend a bit. So come on out and support UT’s turnaround efforts by getting down on shareable apps like basil popcorn chicken and chicken satay, and knocking down any number of craft beers from both local and national breweries. (5102 Washington, atlas.bar)
CHRISTIAN’S TAILGATE MIDTOWN
You can’t really go wrong with any of Christian’s five area locations, including one in West U that just opened, but something about the location in Midtown just screams “college football.” Maybe that’s because it’s in Midtown, where the party is always going on Saturday. Or maybe it’s the lively crowd that fills the joint on Saturday afternoons. Either way, paired with a cold beer, plenty of TVs and one of the best burgers in town, Christian’s in Midtown is the place to be for college football. (2000 Bagby, christianstailgate.com/midtown)
Are you one of those aforementioned UT grads looking to witness Tom Herman's reclamation project with other well-wishers? Um, yeah, look elsewhere; Fuego’s plays host to Oklahoma watch parties. The food menu is fairly standard as bars go – burgers, wings, tacos, and apps aplenty – but when you’re watching college football with friends on a Saturday afternoon, do you really need anything else? (817 Durham, fuegossaloon.com)
KIRBY ICE HOUSE
Kirby Ice House isn’t officially a Texas A&M watch party location, though it may as well be. Anytime the Aggies are on, expect a heavy watch-party contingent at one of the area’s best patio bars. Kirby has a massive outdoor scene with food truck on site, not to mention craft beers, cocktails and TVs for days, making it one of the city’s most ideal spots to watch football on a crisp Saturday in the fall. The site is dog-friendly, though keep in mind you must be at least 23 years of age to enter. (3333 Eastside, facebook.com/kirbyicehouse)
LITTLE WOODROW’S SHEPHERD
Like Christian’s, Woodrow’s features a number of area locations that are perfectly suited to watching college football. However, its Shepherd location stands apart for a few reasons. For starters, it has a kitchen that serves up really good bar food. Second, its massive indoor, air-conditioned TV scene is ideal for fall days that feel a little more like summer. Plus, the place is an absolute madhouse when LSU is on the screen, mostly because no one parties quite like LSU fans. (720 Shepherd, shepherd.littlewoodrows.com)
McIntyre’s is probably the best bar in the greater Heights area, and it’s certainly in the running for the city’s best patio bar as well. It also features TVs at literally every turn, making it a great place to get down on college football in the fall. McIntyre’s features a massive patio, half of which is covered, should heat or rain become an issue. A food truck, and sometimes a pair of food trucks, is always on site. The staff is friendly and quick with a drink order, making McIntyre’s one of the city’s better joints for casual college-football viewing. (1230 West 20th, mcintyreshouston.com)
THE PATIO ON RICHMOND
Texas Tech doesn’t usually get mentioned alongside Texas heavyweights like UT and A&M, but Houston features a sizable portion of Red Raider fans and alumni just the same. Looking to get down and support Tech with those of the same ilk? The Patio on Richmond is the official watch party location of the Texas Tech Alumni Association. Enjoy the watch parties by getting down on $15.50 Lone Star tallboy buckets and $17 domestic beer buckets. (1205 Richmond, thepatioonrichmond.com)
Even if it wasn’t an official Texas A&M watch party location, Pub Fiction would still rank among the city’s best college football viewing spots. The drinks are cold, the food is solid and the renovated (and dog-friendly) patio is absolutely a must-see. Plus, considering Pub Fiction is located in the heart of Midtown, a party is to be expected. Add on the fact that arguably the city’s largest alumni base holds watch parties here, and you have a can’t-miss way to spend your Saturday. (2303 Smith, pubfiction.com)
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REVELRY ON RICHMOND
For those looking to avoid the heat or rain that can last well into the Houston fall, Revelry – with a large indoor space that features TVs galore – is the place to be. It’s also the official watch party location of the Houston Clemson Club. Now, the local Clemson alumni base certainly can’t compare to that of, say, A&M or LSU, but Tiger fans are a passionate lot nonetheless. Plus, DeShaun Watson went to Clemson, and he’s the new face of the Houston Texans, so there’s that too. (1613 Richmond, revelryonrichmond.com)
Wanna know how devoted Revolver is to its Oklahoma State and TCU watch party bases? Personal story – I recently headed over there to catch both Game 2 of the Astros-Yankees series, as well as the annual Texas-Oklahoma college football tilt. Neither was on. Instead, the TVs were split between the TCU and Oklahoma State games as fans and alumni cheered on. That’s dedication to a college-football program. (6502 Washington, revolverhouston.com)