If your desire is to drink a beer while watching football or playing a game of pool, the no-frills atmosphere of Fatso’s Sports Garden, 1704 Bandera Road, should be your bar of choice. St. Mary’s University students are regularly seen at Fatso’s and are saluted by a St. Mary’s banner proudly displayed on the wall. The expansive room with rows of wooden tables and benches accommodates large groups such as the St. Mary’s sorority and fraternity auctions. During the finals crunch, expect to see plenty of students on Wednesdays.
Fatso’s has a large menu featuring such sports-bar favorites as barbeque, burgers, sandwiches, and pizza, all at inexpensive prices. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. Each month Fatso’s features a discounted beer that helps to fuel a well-lubricated Karaoke session every Thursday and Friday night. St. Mary’s professors and the military get a 10 percent discount.
While you may find yourself yelling profanities at the referees on TV at Fatso’s, the Bombay Bicycle Club, 3506 N. St. Mary’s, is a relaxing place to unwind after a long study session. The décor has a turn-of-the-20th-Century feel with antique Victorianesque comfortable couches, coffee tables, framed photos, and bicycles hanging from the trompe l’oeil sky ceiling.
Two of Bombay’s bartenders, who moonlight as Trinity University students, recommend Thursday nights — $3 Jack — for coed-watching. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are puro San Antonio with $2.50 frozen margaritas. Bombay is known for its fresh-squeezed juices, spicy chili, and black-cherry margaritas. Since the bar has been serving the university community for decades, alumni old and new return to Bombay to tell remember-when stories.
Barhop right down the street to Kingston Tycoon Flats, 2926 N. St. Mary’s, for one of the most authentic tastes of the Caribbean in the city. Say hello to owner Hector Lawrence, who tells stories about his days living in Jamaica. Or maybe you’ll meet the regular patron who is happy to play PR flack for the joint. He boasts that Tycoon has the best Jamaican Jerk chicken and pork he’s tasted since his wedding trip to the island.
In the back of the bar, you’ll find expansive outdoor seating with an easy-access bar (the Jamaican rum punch goes well with chicken or pork). Happy hour is from 5-8 p.m. every evening. On Thursdays, it’s $7 off a margarita pitcher and $2 longnecks. Friday means all-you-can-eat fish.
While the Blue Star Brewing Company, 1414 S. Alamo, Suite 105, may draw a more mixed crowd than other college bars in town, its Southtown location and excellent variety of house-brewed beer should draw a large student crowd. The brewhouse is located in the Blue Star Arts Complex, and patrons can enjoy a beer or wine before heading to the numerous art galleries — including the UTSA Satellite Space, which features primarily student work — or wading into the First Friday madness. On Tuesdays, expand your music knowledge beyond the pop genre with big-band jazz musicians. During First Friday, when the art galleries are open until 9 p.m., the Brewing Company hosts dance-floor magnets like the Mambo Kings. And, adding additional appeal for college students, the bar now has free wireless internet access.
If you want to try something other than Coors or Corona, order one of the bar’s unique beer selections brewed in large tanks housed within the Brewing Company. A lengthy happy hour, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, is music to any college student’s ears, and the lunch special — an entrée, salad, and dessert for $6.95 — offers more food for the price than many fast-food establishments.
It’s a big city and this is a short list. If we missed your favorite college hangout, log in and post an addition to this story. Cheers!