Maria Fonseca, center, and Luz Martin, center, white, Jorge Martin, Ericka Gonzales and Martin ElCamp celebrate the Texans season opener at Houston Texans Grille.: Todd Spoth photo
If the roads and grocery stores seemed a little less crowded Sunday from noon-3 p.m., you can thank the Houston Texans. The first regular-season game couldn’t come soon enough for most fans.
Across the city, Houston’s sports bars filled with the faithful.
At CityCentre, fans began gathering at 7 a.m. outside the doors of the second-floor Houston Texans Grille. The sports bar, which debuted in late November of last year, opens at 8 a.m. when the Texans play at noon.
Part of the G.R.E.A.T. Grille Group that includes the Indianapolis Colts Grille in Indianapolis, the restaurant offers a short breakfast menu as well its extensive regular menu. With its football-shaped bar and more than 65 high-def big screens, there may be no better place to catch the game.
Scott Eastman cheers on the Nebraska Cornhuskers while watching the game at SRO.: Michael Paulson : 29-95
It’s also become a hot spot for college football fans. It hosts the official parties for Oklahoma and Notre Dame alumni, and is the unofficial clubhouse for Arizona Wildcats.
Of course, it may never usurp the venerable SRO, which hosts the watch parties for more than a dozen alumni organizations including Nebraska, Iowa and Florida.
Watch parties aren’t as critical for fans of Texas collegiate teams such as the Longhorns or the Aggies. There’s such critical mass of Texas and A&M fans that every sports bar is an impromptu watch party.
That doesn’t stop the Houston Howdy Club from calling its fans together on big game days. Greg Eppes, the director of marketing for the Houston Howdy Club, a service organization comprised of A&M alumni, students and staff, says Pub Fiction in Midtown is the Aggie fans’ go-to spot.
“They go out of their way to accommodate us,” Eppes said. The sports bar even adds big screens in the parking lot for the Aggie crowds, which often number more than 400.
Located in Northwest Mall, SRO also goes the extra step for the college-game crowds, including designating team “rooms” of the sprawling sports bar for alumni. General manager Greg Smith said the kitchen has even come up with some dishes favored by the alums.
For example, the Husker fans lament leaving behind a sandwich offered at a Nebraska burger spot called Runza. SRO has developed its version of the Runza: a roll filled with seasoned ground beef and cabbage.
Of course, many sports bars go long to entice football fans. Pub Fiction, Champps Americana and Texas Mesquite Bar & Grill all are boasting of upgraded high-def televisions installed just in time for the new football season.
The Houston Texans Grille in CityCentre is busy on game day.: Todd Spoth photo
Here are some of the football-related deals and events we found. If you know of a really great game-day promotion, please pass it along.
- Washington Ave. Drinkery: During all NFL games, feast on $3 cheeseburgers, $4 chicken sandwiches and 50-cent wings.
4115 Washington, 713-426-3617
- Champps Americana: On Monday nights, get a cheeseburger, five wings and fries for $9.99. Wash all it down with a Tailgate Tea.
1121 Uptown Park, 713-627-2333
- Mezzanine: Open at 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays, this sports bar offers $5.50 burgers and $2 Bud Lite or Lone Star until 6 p.m. Doors open at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Get $2 Lite drafts and mimosas (until 7 p.m.) and $3.50 pints. And it’s $14 for a steak dinner and a pint.
2200 Southwest Freeway, 713-528-6399
- The West End: Every Monday night during the NFL season, get a Straight Up Burger and any Texas-brewed beer for $10.
5320 Westheimer, 713-590-0616
BLOODY GOOD TIME
- Hefley’s: Game-day drink specials include $15 buckets on Saturdays; Sunday deals include $2.50 long necks and $5 Bloody Marys.
138 W. Gray, 713-527-8100
- Pub Fiction: On Sundays, it’s $4 Bloody Marys off the Bloody Mary Bar menu, as well as $4 25-ounce domestic drafts and $5 25-ounce import drafts.
2303 Smith, 713-400-8400
- Hendricks Pub: Bloody Marys are $5, and the pub offers a flashy Bloody Mary bar.
3320 Kirby, 713-489-0860
- Coaches-Katy: Game days mean $15 domestic buckets, $10 domestic pitchers and $5 Bloody Marys.
17754 Katy Freeway, 281-492-0315
BEER, BEER, BEER
- BlackFinn American Grill: So what’s a tower? It’s 132 ounces of beer at this Midtown spot. From noon-7 p.m. Sundays, it’s $18 when filled with Bud Light/Budweiser or Michelob Ultra. Filled with Stella, it’s $22. Oh, and we should mention, the $1 game-day mimosas served 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
1910 Bagby, 713-651-9550
Bryan Gollins, right, reacts along with Claire Schaeffer, as they watch the University of Central Florida play football at SRO.: Michael Paulson : 29-95
- Texas Mesquite Bar & Grill: This Katy newcomer offers football fans $2.75 domestic pints, $3.50 premium pints, $3.50 wells and $4 house wines from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
20095 Katy Freeway in Katy, 281-829-0444
- The Public House: For Monday night games, enjoy $2 Lonestars and $3 Fireball shots.
22758 Westheimer Parkway in Katy, 281-395-3473
WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY?
- House of Blues and Stadia Sports Grill are hosting Yahoo Sports Radio 1560 for live shows concentrating on Houston Texans football. House of Blues will be the site of the “Antonio Smith Show” 4:30-5:30 p.m. Mondays during the NFL season; the “Duane Brown Show” will be 4:30-6 p.m. each Tuesday at the various Stadia locations. Learn the location of each week’s Stadia show — there are five locations in Katy, Sugar Land, Pearland and the Woodlands — via Facebook.
House of Blues: 1204 Caroline, 888-402-5837
- http://www.29-95.com/restaurants/blu will be the backdrop for ESPN 97.5’s “The Drive Show” live 4-7 p.m. on Mondays throughout the football season. “The Drive” features Carl Dukes and Dave Tepper and will include one hour each week with Houston Texans safety Danieal Manning.
2248 Texas Drive in Sugar Land, 281-903-7324
NEED A RIDE?
The Wave jitney service is offering shuttle service to all the Texans home games. Round-trip service is offered from Pub Fiction, 2320 Smith; Luke’s Ice House, 900 Durham; and Armadillo Palace, 5015 Kirby. The price is $30 and includes pre- and post-game specials at each bar.
Tickets can be purchased at thehouston