College football is like everything else right now. It’s racked with uncertainty, postponements, and rule changes, but yet there’s still the potential for surprises and late in the game comeback wins. One thing’s for certain, and it’s that UT football is back on, even if the crowd noise is fake and DKR may be at a limited capacity. So whether you miss watching a live game surrounded by friends and fellow Longhorns, or you just really miss seeing that random dude that paints his body burnt orange and gets a little too into the game, here are 13 spots with outdoor seating where you can do that just.
On game day Posse East is usually a pretty crowded and raucous affair (they even bring in portapotties). But due to the pandemic, they’ve got a few restrictions in place - like limited seating only outdoors, everyone must be seated, and max 10 people to a table. They have the full menu available, so you can still get a patty melt alongside pitchers of beer. The queso here is excellent and you should get a large to share with the table. Posse is right by campus, so when there’s a home game at DKR, you can even hear the crowd when the Longhorns score.
If you like to follow rivalries - schools, football teams, even siblings - you’ll probably be familiar with the divide of fans between Crown & Anchor and Posse East. It’s also fine to be a fan of both, and when they’re as close to each other as these two spots are, why not do both? The patio here is mostly under a roofed, open-air space, but it also expands out even further from the bar with tarps, tents, and picnic tables. There are only a few TVs, so get there early if you want to secure a prime-viewing spot, but even if you don’t, you’ll be able to enjoy their great food and daily beer specials. We usually go with one of the cheeseburgers here, but the BLT is excellent.
Scholz Garten isn’t just the oldest bar in Austin, it’s the oldest operating business in Texas, dating back to the 1800s. It’s a huge German beer garden that’s centrally located, right near UT, and it’s long been one of the top tailgating destinations in Austin. Not only do they have some of the best German food in town, they also have the largest selection of German beers on draft you’ll find in Austin. They encourage reservations.
Black Sheep Lodge
You go to Black Sheep Lodge in South Austin to watch sports on the patio with a dozen picnic tables. But you also go to Black Sheep Lodge for its Black Sheep Burger, made with a grilled half-pound patty of ground angus (not sheep like the name implies). We brought this up with management and they said they’d look into it. While the patio’s not enormous, there are four TVs, so there isn’t a bad seat in the place. And with ceiling fans and heat lamps, it’s pretty much a non-stop patio.
Cain & Abel's
Cain & Abel’s in West Campus is a longtime staple for watching UT football games. The food here is your standard Tex-Mex/bar fare with things like burgers, nachos, and barbecue. And while there might be 64 taps of beer, for a lot of people the drink of choice here is a Texas Tea (basically a Long Island iced tea but with tequila). If you’re a UT student or alum, this place is a big game day go-to, featuring a huge patio with fans.
Last Stand Brewing Company
The craft brewery Last Stand Brewing Company out in the Hill Country has been showing UT games in their huge beer garden and taproom. Grab a spot on a picnic table and get a pitcher (if you want to share) or a flight of beers (if you don’t). Make sure to get the fried cheese curds with ranch dressing.
A great way to cheer on the Longhorns is with a $5 Bloody Mary in one hand and a slice of smoked brisket breakfast pizza in the other. And at the pizza spot Toss on South 1st, you can do just that outside on their patio. On weekend mornings and early afternoons, Toss shows football games and runs a brunch menu with breakfast pizzas. You can even build your own breakfast calzone. They take reservations so you can secure a spot without having to get there super early.
Doc's Backyard Bar & Grill
Doc’s in South Austin has multiple TVs inside and out for sports, but it’s the spacious dog-friendly patio where it really shines. There are tons of picnic tables shaded by multiple enormous oak trees and patio umbrellas, and it’s kept cool by misting fans. Do watch out for the very hungry grackles that will try to steal your french fries if you’re not looking. Speaking of fries, the menu at Doc’s leans bar food/Tex-Mex, and you should probably get the cheese fries that includes queso, american cheese, sour cream, and bacon. This is the kind of place that will give you a koozie to keep your tallboy of Lone Star cold.
B.D. Riley's Irish Pub at Mueller
BD Riley’s has everything we want in an Irish pub - proper pours of Guinness, a great selection of local and Irish beers, and really solid pub fare. And to top it all off, they’ll be showing every UT game, with game day specials, like select 20 oz pints (including Smithwicks) for under $5. They’re located in Mueller, with a pretty large patio that spills out into the rest of the shopping development, so there’s a good amount of space.
Cedar Door Patio Bar & Grill
The downtown mainstay Cedar Door has an enormous redwood deck with lots of seating (some covered), tons of beers on tap, and a bunch of TVs. The menu skews Texas bar food, with things like smoked chicken wings, burgers, and brisket tacos. They take credit for having invented the Mexican Martini, so you probably want to get at least one of those.
On the corner of South Lamar and Oltorf is Bouldin Acres, an enormous beer garden in what used to be a two-acre car dealership. It’s basically an adult amusement park with pickleball courts and corn hole, and more importantly there are big TVs inside and out. They’re even taking limited reservations for games. You’ll find drink specials for game day, burgers and wings, as well as a location of one of Austin’s best taco trucks, Pueblo Viejo.
The longtime W 6th spot Star Bar has three patios, including an enormous back patio, and it’s a good if occasionally rowdy place to watch UT games (it’s also a Packers bar). You’ll find big screen TVs everywhere, so there are few bad seats in the place. And lucky for you, there’s also a location of the Detroit-style pizza spot Via 313, maker of some of the best pizza in town.
Haymaker has over 40 beers on draft - and even more available in cans - so you’ll never really run out of options over the course of a game. The food here is hearty and pairs well with football, with things like burgers, open-face sandwiches, and wings. They’re also one of the few places in town serving poutine - a great game day accompaniment and perfect for sharing. And there are enough TVs outside to provide solid views from almost anywhere on the large patio that spills onto Manor Road. Only a portion of the patio is covered, so you may want to get there early if you want to snag one of the coveted up-close and covered tables.