SUPPORT THE 'STROS

6 best Houston bars and restaurants to cheer on the Astros

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Having finished with the best record in baseball, the Astros are the odds-on favorite to win the World Series. As 2017's run to the team's first title demonstrated, Houstonians go baseball crazy when the 'Stros are in the playoffs.

Frankly, watching sports is more fun in a group. Sweating out every pitch and cheering every home run is just better when surrounded by people who are locked in on every moment.

With that in mind, consider this list of recently opened or significantly renovated options for watching sports (roughly in the last year or so). While the focus is on the Astros, they'll also be handy should the Texans get things figured out or if the Rockets' union of James Harden and Russell Westbrook proves to be as dominant as it has the potential to be.

Electric FeelGood

Yes, the neon signage and slide might lead some to believe Midtown's newest bar is just a party spot, but it's got legit sports bar amenities, including lots of TVs downstairs and a room upstairs with a panel that can display eight different games at once. During Astros games, the bar's specials include beer buckets ($15 for domestics and $20 for imports) and discounts on snacks ($6 potato bombs and $10 flatbreads).

The Dogwood, Electric FeelGood's sister concept, isn't new, but it has specials of its own, including $14 buckets of Miller Lite or Coors Light, $5 pours of Jim Beam, $5 bowls of queso, $6 pulled pork sandwiches, and a dozen wings for $12.

Jack & Ginger’s

The Irish pub will have its TVs tuned in to the 'Stros throughout the playoffs. In addition to its typical happy hour deals on wine, appetizers, and beer flights (Monday through Friday 11 am to 9 pm), the bar will run game day specials of $5 Karbach Crawford Bocks and $5 Irish chips and dip (potato chips with smoked cheddar and French onion dip).

Pitch 25

Sure, this EaDo spot has a soccer theme, but the massive beer garden works for watching more than the beautiful game. They'll open early for Friday's 1 pm start. With 100 taps of beer and wine, finding the perfect pairing for that smoked turkey sandwich is a cinch.

Continue on CultureMap to see three more great spots to watch the Astros.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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