The arrival of fall means the start of another long-anticipated season in Texas — football season. And although the Dallas-based pros with the stars on their helmets are beloved statewide, any true Texan saves a special place in their heart for college football. Whatever your rooting interest, however, there’s no denying that the biggest game (and tailgate) of the year is the annual Red River Showdown between the University of Texas Longhorns and the University of Oklahoma Sooners.
As always, the game will be played on neutral ground — the historic Cotton Bowl in Fair Park. Since Dallas is home to many alumni from both schools, you’ll find huge crowds at watering holes across the city come Saturday, Oct. 6. Outside of the stadium itself, here are our picks for best places in Dallas to get in on the Texas-OU action.
Dallas’ very first growler filling station, Craft and Growler (3601 Parry Ave.), will be hosting a special game day watch party. Due to the venue’s proximity to Fair Park (it sits just across the street from the main entrance), you can expect a full house. The bar is partnering with a number of food and drink providers this year — including 903 Brewers, COOP Ale Works, Argus Cider, The Tamale Company and Elotes Tex-Mex — to deliver a truly special experience outside of its already-impressive selection of local beer. Doors open at 8 a.m., and the party will likely continue long after the final whistle blows.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back, neighborhood-bar environment, head to Stan’s Blue Note (2908 Greenville Ave.). The affordable drinks here may be served in humble (albeit charming) mason jars, but the food is more than MVP-worthy. Stan’s offers a full menu of burgers and sandwiches, plus a wide selection of appetizers, with their “Nacho Supreme” being a true fan favorite. That said, word is that Stan’s has a strong Boomer presence, so Longhorn fans beware.
Uptown will be one of the most happening areas in the city come game day, with bars on every corner overflowing with burnt orange and crimson. But the most serious of football followers will likely gather at Christie’s Sports Bar (2811 McKinney Ave.). Named one of the top sports bars in the city, and ranked nationally by USA Today, it’s a mecca for sports fans and located right in the middle of the Uptown action. With over 62 HD TV’s and multiple projector screens, plus a full menu of food and drink, it’s no surprise this bar is known as “the Cheers of Uptown.”
Of course, if you’d prefer to skip the bar scene, there’s still plenty to do around Dallas on the big weekend. The Dallas Arboretum (8525 Garland Rd.) will continue its fall programming, including its own celebration of Texas-OU weekend, but with less emphasis on the partying, making it the perfect family-friendly destination. You can also opt out of game day altogether and head to the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (2201 N. Field St.). This temporary exhibit has proven popular for all ages, but thanks to the draw of the big game, you can kiss the crowds goodbye. That means getting a glimpse of rarely seen dinosaur specimens from the other side of the world — minus any pushing and shoving.