For SEC football fans, nothing beats tailgating and watching your team play in your school’s stadium alongside a few thousand alumni and fans. But when tickets are scarce, or you desire the luxury of instant replay, here are the best places to watch football in every SEC town.
The Houndstooth Sports Bar, 1300 University Blvd – The Houndstooth Sports Bar opened its doors in July of 1988. Since then they’ve been named the #1 College Sports Bar and the #14 Sports Bar in the Nation by Sports Illustrated and SI On Campus. There are over 40 high definition flat screen TVs and a 130″ Projection Screen, located throughout the bar and even in the bathrooms so that you won’t miss any action of your favorite game. As a bonus, there’s a outdoor seating on the vast patio with two covered areas, more TVs and a spectacular view of Bryant-Denny Stadium located just a few blocks away.
Bob’s Victory Grille, 1800 McFarland Blvd E – Former Miami Dolphin nose tackle Bob Baumhower had a close relationship with former Tide and New York Jets great Joe Namath. Both were represented by the same agent who eventually led to a partnership in the restaurant business. Baumhower opened Wings and Whiskers in Tuscaloosa which ultimately led to Bob’s Victory Grille. Lots of TVs and it has a “family friendly” reputation. Please Note: Bob’s also has a location in Auburn so for die-hard Bama fans, which could be an unforgivable sin.
Sky Bar, 122 W. Magnolia Avenue – Primarily a college bar and noted to be one of the “go to” places to visit on game day in Auburn. This large venue is also known for their karaoke and live music. Imagine, drunk college girls singing a few keys off to Bon Jovi and Donna Summer. Drink prices are more than reasonable so expect a large crowd and expect to have a variety of drinks spilled on you before the evening ends.
Grub’s Bar & Grille, 220 N West Avenue – Located in the heart of the town’s entertainment district, Grub’s has been serving burgers to the Razorback faithful for over ten years. Lot’s of TVs and okay for the kids too. We were unable to verify if a hogs-head helmet was a requirement for entrance but I’m sure you’ll see plenty anyway.
The Social Restaurant & Bar, 1728 West University Avenue – Known as Gainesville’s premier, upscale sports restaurant, this place has a large selection of craft beers on tap and well as a full menu. There are over 60 flat screen TVs for Gator fans of all legal ages to chop themselves silly. The rooftop bar is cool, and the south terrace overlooks the Florida campus and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. As with most college sports bars, there’s plenty of corn hole games to occupy the masses.
The Georgia Theatre Rooftop, 215 N Lumpkin Street – This place has breathtaking views of downtown Athens a cool rooftop bar. Unlike other downtown venues, it doesn’t have tons of TVs but hey, who needs to watch the game to enjoy game day. They are also well-known for serving some of Athens’ best up-and-coming musical talents.
If you’re looking for a traditional sports bar, check out Bar South at 104 E Washington Street. No shortage of TVs here, pool tables, darts and lots of beer.
Winchell’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, 348 Southland Drive – Voted the “Best Sports Bar” by the Lexington Herald-Leader. Famous for their Kentucky Hot Brown, it’s roasted turkey and shaved country ham on toast, layered with Mornay cheese sauce, along with shredded cheddar and parmesan. “Better Food, More Televisions,” is their slogan.
Baton Rouge (LSU)
Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar, 3838 Burbank Drive – Albeit a chain, Walk-On’s in Baton Rouge is located next to the LSU campus and is the original location. Voted the number one sports bar in America by ESPN, there’s a large selection of brews, and po’boys made in true Louisiana fashion.
The origin of their name is a neat story too. Founders Brandon Landry and Jack Warner were walk-ons on the LSU basketball team. In 2001 on a plane trip home after playing Tennessee, the duo drew the floor plan of their idea on a napkin and eventually submitted their business plan to a professor. After a “C” grade and rejections from six banks, they kept their dream alive and had grown the franchise to multiple states.
Starkville (Miss State)
The Camphouse, 409 University Avenue – One of Starkville’s newest sports bars, it’s located across from Stromboli’s in the former Halfway House location. There’s an outdoor patio with a fire pit for those cooler game days. Many of the menu items are made from scratch, and they brine and bake their corned beef. The “make your own Mac-n-Cheese” is a popular dish. Beer and TVs are plentiful too. Cowbells are optional and hopefully confined to Starkville.
Stadium Grill, 1219 Fellows Place – This sports bar is attached to the Hampton Inn, near the Mizzou campus. If you have one too many and are staying there, then you’re in good shape. Appetizers, sandwiches, and burgers are standard fare, and as expected, beer and TVs will make your game day festivities complete.
Oxford (Ole Miss)
Boure’, Courthouse Square – Oxford’s historic and thriving town square is within a short distance of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on the Ole Miss campus. There you’ll find a number of tasty restaurants and bars like City Grocery, Ole Venice Pizza and Proud Larry’s.
The food is excellent, and there are TVs all along the wall in the main downstairs dining area. Upstairs, you’ll find more of a “bar” atmosphere where you can find a sofa or loveseat to watch the game. Plus, you can watch students and fans roam the town’s square from the upstairs balcony. It’s people watching at its best!
Another option in Oxford is to remain in The Grove, the SEC’s best tail-gaiting venue, bar none. Ole Miss fans go all-out to decorate and stock their tents with delicious food and drink. About every third tent will have a flat-screen TV. Fans who remain in The Grove are hospitable, often inviting you to stop in for a “toddy.”
Columbia (South Carolina)
Village Idiot Pizza, 2009 Devin St. – A favorite of the college crowd. The original 5 Points location opened in 1990. They specialize in NY-style pizza, available by the slice or pie. Plenty of TVs and the games are always on.
Another option down the street is Jake’s, located at 2112 Devine. Over 30 craft beers are on tap, and the patio is a huge draw. It’s also known for their “Yappy Hour,” and for being the friendliest dog bar in town. While I haven’t been to every SEC town, Columbia is one of “hippiest” college towns I’ve experienced. Neither of these locations should disappoint.
Field House Social, 2525 University Commons Way – Looking for the largest TV in the South? It’s here, along with lots of fried appetizers and burgers. Their website is lacking and doesn’t showcase the facility well, but it’s certainly gaining in popularity.
Another hot-spot is Skybox, at 415 S Gay Street. They have 18 TVs and two massive projection screens for an up-close view of whether Jeremy Pruitt can manage the Vols first 10-win season in – well – in a very long time.
If you know a Vol fan that has a yacht or large houseboat, watching the game just outside the stadium on the Tennessee River is super cool.
College Station (Texas A&M)
The Tap, 815 Harvey Road – I’m still getting used to the Aggies being an SEC school. Fortunately, SEC fans are inclusive, and we welcomed the 12th man school will open arms. Now Mississippi State has someone that can discuss the finer points of bovine castration. This place is less than a mile from Kyle Field and serves the usual bar fare. No kids after 8:00 p.m., no exceptions and that’s not a negative either.
They’re located less than a mile from Kyle Field and serve the usual bar fare. No kids after 8:00 p.m., no exceptions and that’s not a negative either.
This one is a bit tricky. The Vanderbilt stadium is located just off West End Avenue, right behind the Marriott hotel and in the middle of Nashville. There are some outstanding restaurants close by, and lower Broadway (the same street as West End, but it changes names) music bars and restaurants are a short Uber ride away. Even closer are some fantastic places in the Gulch.
Sportsman’s Grill, 5405 Harding Pike in Belle Meade, has excellent food with a sports bar type atmosphere. Another convenient spot located between Vandy and the downtown honky-tonks is Barlines, the bar inside the Omni Hotel at 250 5th Avenue South. Lots of TVs, a small stage that features talented up-and-comer singer/songwriters and southern comfort food. After 8:30 p.m. it’s 21 and over.
Did we miss a place you believe should have made our list? If so, send us an email at [email protected]