GET YOUR GAME ON

Fred Faour: The top 10 coolest sports bars to watch Rockets-Warriors, plus the best spots in East Downtown

Coaches Pub makes our top 10 list. Coaches Pub/ Facebook

Now that Rockets-Warriors is finally here, maybe you are suddenly interested in the NBA playoffs. Not interested enough to go to the games, mind you, but certainly enough to hit a local sports bar and watch the action. In your honor, we have put together a  comprehensive list of the best sports bars. And we mean sports bars, not places that add a TV with a game on it and call themselves sports bars.

We try to give you options all around the area inside the beltway, and we rely on Yelp to help those outside the loop, but this should give you plenty choices should you decide to venture out and watch the games with friends.

The top 10

Nick's Place, 2713 Rocky Ridge, Westchase area: Pretty much the gold standard for sports bars in the city. Great food, no nonsense, just a sports bar in the purest sense of the word. More than enough TVs, a solid patio and great atmosphere.

Griff's, 3416 Roseland Street, Montrose area: An area icon for over 50 years, Griff's is as old school as it gets. Definitely a place where you go to watch sports. Their Tuesday night steak night is one of the best in the city.

Coaches Pub, 2204 Louisiana, Midtown: Has a different feel from the other bars in Midtown, as it is a pure sports bar with a lot of regulars. The food is outstanding for a bar, they have no shortage of TVs and the staff is terrific. The best part is unlike most Midtown bars, parking is readily available and free.

Lucky's Pub, various locations: The Lucky's in East Downtown is the best of the lot, but you can't go wrong with any of them. Another place that is a true sports bar in every sense of the word. 

Big City Wings, various locations: You would not necessarily think of a wing place as a sports bar, but Big City is exactly that. And the wings are terrific. With locations throughout the area, chances are there is one near you.

Christian's Tailgate, various locations: Another place that is designed with the sports fan in mind. Solid food menu, good beer selection and strong menu. Partial to the downtown location, which is a good pre-game and post-game spot if you are headed to Toyota Center.

Little Woodrow's, various locations: Much like Christian's, they have a mode that works well and they stick to it. Not much in the way of food, but usually there are food trucks or people onsite. The EaDo location is the most unique and has the best vibe, and is also walkable to Toyota Center.

West Alabama Ice House, 1919 Kirby, Upper Kirby: A true, old school ice house, this place has a nice beer selection and usually food trucks. Great place to unwind and watch the game.

St. Dane's, 502 Elgin, Midtown: Technically Midtown, but within spitting distance of Montrose as well. Really cool atmosphere and solid food. 

Twin Peaks, various locations: Very much a specialty bar, and like most of the others that have multiple locations, they stick to their playbook. The food is good and if you like scenery...

Best places to catch hockey playoffs in addition to the Rockets

Nick's Place has you covered on that as well, but here are two other really good bars for hockey playoffs:

The Maple Leaf Pub, 514 Elgin, Midtown: Hard not to love this place. It is hockey first, but it is a Canadian bar. Try the poutine. Life changing. Also next door to St. Dane's if you are bar hopping.

Revelry on Richmond, 1613 Richmond Avenue, Montrose: This place is terrific. Great food, world-class craft beer selection, plenty of TVs to catch whatever you want to watch.

Upscale sports bars

Live Sports Bar, 407 Main, downtown: Has a rooftop patio with awesome views and solid food. A little more high end than your average sports bar, but another place where you can pregame or postgame celebrate. 

Pub Fiction, 2303 Smith Street, Midtown: If you are dressed up nice after work and want a place to hit, here you are. It's got a little of the Midtown crowd vibe happening, but a really nice spot and a cool place to catch the games.

Biggio's, 1777 Walker Street, Downtown: Much better for baseball, but for a hotel bar, it is terrific. Definitely more high end but if that's what you are into, they have you covered.

Some East downtown favorites

Hey, this is my area, and it is growing fast. Obviously you already know about Little Woodrow's and Lucky's, but here are some other cool places to hit if you are coming downtown for the games and are smart enough to park on the East side of 59:

Around the Corner, 1510 Hutchins Street: Perhaps my favorite go-to bar, it is basically a house with a bar in it. Great staff, great atmosphere, enough TVs to watch the game and really good pizza. Their steak night on Thursdays is as good as it gets. Really good option if you want a nice place to chill and watch the game. In the same complex as Leeland House, a new breakfast lunch place that is really good as well. 

Truckyard, 2118 Lamar Street: Recently opened, this is a really strong addition to the area. Food is limited but the drink selection is through the roof, they have a great drink selection, monstrous patio and quality service. And a ferris wheel. Really. 

East End Hardware, 3005 Leeland: A true neighborhood bar with limited TVs, but they have a projection screen and if you want to catch the games, they will take care of you. Known for their alcohol-infused sno-cones, this place is a really cool hangout. 

Rodeo Goat, 2105 Dallas: The burgers are awesome and there are a LOT of choices. They also have really good craft beer and an attentive staff, especially if you are sitting at the bar. Which you will want to do if you are watching the games.

Neil's Bahr, 2006 Walker: OK, you won't go here to watch games. You will go here to play them. And hang out in a really cool eclectic place. You can play ping pong or MarioKart or watch The Simpsons. A nice after game chill place.

The New Potato: 3519 Clinton Drive: If you haven't tried this place, you are missing out. Pet friendly, lots of craft beers, good atmosphere, lots of good food trucks. Worth your time.

8th Wonder Brewery, 2202 Dallas: Pretty much the gold standard for the area. A staple in East Downtown, the brewery has embraced Houston's sports teams like no other, and has become a go-to pregame place for Astros and Rockets. And they just opened a vodka/gin distillery across the street. A must visit if you are in the area.

Secret Group, 2101 Polk: A comedy club (and a good one) they have something happening every night. Good place to stop by after the game and catch an act or a good drink.

Chapman and Kirby, 2118 Lamar: Slightly upscale, but a really nice bar with excellent food and plenty of places to watch the games. Expansive outdoor area as well.

Moon Tower, 3004 Canal: This is a really eclectic place with great food, as long as you are willing to wait for it. Good beer selection, too. Not a great watch place but a good pregame place.

Around the area

For those of you outside the city, Yelp has you covered. Here are some links for the suburbs:

For those of you in Pearland...

Or The Woodlands...

And Katy...

You can find Sugar Land here...

And we never forget about our good friends in Beaumont.

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NASCAR makes its inaugural trip to the Daytona Roval for the Go Bowling 235. This will be one of the most anticipated races in recent memory considering that for many years, it was considered that NASCAR would run here in this configuration and now it's finally has come. It will be extremely hard to predict what will go on and to add on there will be no practice and qualifying. This should be one of the most insane races in recent memory and I have no idea who will win this one. This will be a race you don't want to miss

Kevin Harvick dominated the doubleheader last week as he won both races on Saturday and Sunday. He led a combined 182 laps in both races and was easily the best car. The main headline of the race was NASCAR's new choice box rule. This was implemented last week for the first time in a points paying event as NASCAR tried it out in the all-star race at Bristol in June. This rule allows each driver to go to either the outside or the inside of the orange painted box after the start finish line. This allows them to line-up in either lane they chose. It paid dividends for a lot of drivers including Bubba Wallace and Joey Logano as they both picked up a number of spots on Saturday on the final restart. Overall, I really like this new rule but NASCAR once again decides to change everything up in the middle of the season. I echo the sentiments of what Clint Bowyer's spotter Brett Griffin was saying on his door bumper and how NASCAR needs to stop making such massive changes in the middle of the season. Regardless, I look forward to seeing how this works going forward.

As the silly-season continues, one of the big dominoes to fall was Christopher Bell as it was announced (as expected) that he will drive the #20 Toyota next season for Joe Gibbs. This was bound to happen the moment Bell moved up to the Cup Series this year for Leavine family racing. This was very similar to the trajectory of how Erik Jones got his ride back in 2017 when he replaced Matt Kenseth in the same car. While I hate to see Erik out of a ride, I have a feeling he will land on his feet and have a career resurgence wherever he goes. Besides, more than likely he'll be at the top of the list for Rick Hendrick to take over the #48 ride. This silly season continues to twist and turn as there were also rumors that a driver that isn't currently in the sport also was interviewed by Rick Hendrick for the ride. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks.

As we get closer and closer to the playoffs, the battle for the 16th and final spot in the standings is heating up. Currently, 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Erik Jones both sit 17th and 18th in the standings. This has been a season of such promise for both of these drivers and as everyone knows this is Jimmie's last season. It would be a shame to see both of them miss the playoffs as both have a lot to race for. In the next few weeks, don't be surprised to see these guys get desperate. In fact, Johnson has changed his paint scheme to white as he believes the black and purple look has given him bad luck. Both of these drivers have the speed to get in and it will be crucial for them to pick up as many stage points as possible, something they have struggled with all year. It will be interesting to see who falls over the next few races.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Ryan Blaney. Like I said earlier, this will be very difficult to predict considering this has never been done before and that there will be no practice. But if there is anyone who can get it done on a Roval, it has to be Ryan Blaney. Back in 2018, he won the first race at the Charlotte Roval and while both are extremely different, it would only make sense to see him win here. This year has been tough on the second generation driver and while he is solidly in the playoffs and has led the points at one point, he still has yet to capture that elusive first win. I expect all that to change come Sunday. Look for Ryan Blaney to take the checkered flag.

Tune in this Sunday, this is definitely going to be one for the books. There will be a lot of beating and banging and a lot of things that we aren't used to seeing. With the chance of rain as well, we could also see history as NASCAR has the rain tires at the ready for this occasion. This will be one you won't want to miss.

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