Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re likely very aware that Super Bowl mania will soon descend upon Houston, Texas. Since it was announced that Clutch City would play host to Super Bowl LI, restaurateurs across the city have brought an almost breathtaking number of new places to dine in the city.
On the heels of a ton of national attention for the city’s food scene, the 140,000+ fans that are expected to flood into the city ahead of February 5 to watch the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons duke it out on the field will no doubt be hungry for what Anthony Bourdain, David Chang, and more culinary experts describe as one of the country’s most diverse — and best — food cities.
Whether you’re in town for the game or a lifelong local, let this be your guide to drinking, dining, partying, and watching during the festivities surrounding Super Bowl LI at Houston’s NRG Stadium.
Where To Eat & Drink In Houston
- Houston’s Essential Restaurants — If you’re looking for a snapshot of the city’s restaurant scene, any one of these 38 eateries serves up fare that is uniquely Houstonian. Stop at Chris Shepherd’s Underbelly for a delicious amalgamation of the global cuisines and flavors that make Houston special, or head to Hugo’s, a destination for excellent Mexican cuisine that is some of the best in the country.
- Houston’s Hottest Restaurants — The Eater Houston Heatmap keeps tabs on the city’s newest and most interesting eateries, and ahead of Super Bowl LI, there’s more than ever to be excited about. If you’ve already checked out Houston’s standby eateries, add Chef Ryan LaChaine’s brand new Riel, a restaurant that expertly blends French-Canadian, Ukranian, and Texas fare, or Southern stunner Eloise Nichols Grill & Liquors to your must-try list.
- Houston’s Best Barbecue — You can’t come to Texas without enjoying a killer plate of brisket & ribs. If smoked meat is what you seek, get thee to Killen’s BBQ and drink free Lone Star beer while you wait in the omnipresent lines, or head to Gatlin’s for St. Louis-style ribs and brisket paired with smoked corn and baked beans.
- Houston’s Most Excellent Burgers — Nothing pairs with football better than burgers and beer. If you’ve got a craving after the game, head to Bernie’s Burger Bus for a holy marriage of crispy jalapenos and fried egg atop a beef patty, or hit Lankford’s Grocery for a 70-year-old, endlessly delicious Clutch City staple.
- 12 Houston Tacos You Need To Try — The tacos here are legendary, ranging from delicious breakfast tacos from Chilosos Taco House to the more modern antelope carne asada at Eight Row Flint. Whichever you choose, pair with copious margaritas and plenty of spicy salsa.
- Where To Drink Houston’s Best Cocktails — No matter who you’re rooting for, you’re probably going to need a drink — or several. Belly up to the bar at Anvil Bar & Refuge for an expertly-mixed libation, or if you’re a whiskey enthusiast, head to Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirits Lodge for a pour of excellent brown liquor.
- Dining Near NRG Stadium — It isn’t exactly in one of Houston’s best dining neighborhoods, but if you’re staying near NRG Stadium, you can score barbecue, sushi, wings and more without having to venture too far away from the game or your hotel.
Where To Party
It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without an epic list of celebrity-hosted parties and ridiculously expensive shindigs. There are plenty of parties planned for Super Bowl weekend that normal folks (read: not celebrities, athletes, and VIPs) won’t be able to access.
Still, there’s plenty of options for rubbing elbows with NFL players, coaches, media personalities, and more while enjoying good food and booze. Use this guide, which only includes events that are not sold out and offer food and drinks, to plan your pre-Super Bowl partying.
Official Super Bowl LI Parties
|2017 Players Tailgate
|Feb 5, 12:00 p.m.
|Mike Calvert Toyota
|Hosted by Guy Fieri and a slew of chefs from across the country, this epic tailgate will feature appearances from 25+ NFL players, a mac & cheese bar, tacos, BBQ and plenty of booze.
|Taste Of The NFL
|Feb 4, 7:00 p.m.
|University of Houston
|Celebrity chefs Alex Guarnaschelli, Andrew Zimmern, and Richard Blais will host this pre-Super Bowl party to raise funds for food banks in Houston and beyond. Your ticket gets you access to food & wine pairings, plus a performance from The Band Perry.
|$700 and up
|Leather & Laces
|Feb 4 & Feb 5, 9 p.m.
|The celebrity status of hosts Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy is arguably dubious, but nonetheless, this "star-studded" party will feature bites from Del Frisco's and booze from Grey Goose, Shiner, and more.
|$325 and up
|NFL Alumni Official Game Day Brunch
|Feb 5, 11 a.m.
|Del Frisco's - Westheimer
|Before the big game, you can enjoy brunch with NFL legends like Marcellus Wiley while enjoying pre-game analysis, predictions, and autograph sessions.
|Cigars With The Stars
|Feb 2, 7 p.m.
|Hosted well before the Super Bowl, hobnob with Mike Ditka and Ron Jaworski while enjoying cigars, single-malt scotch, and heavy appetizers. Did we mention that there's an open bar?
|$500 and up
|Super Bowl Breakfast
|Feb 4, 8 a.m.
|Marriott Marquis Houston
|While you enjoy breakfast, watch the presentation of the NFL's Bart Starr Award, given for "outstanding character, integrity and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community."
|$250 and up
|Legends For Charity Dinner
|Feb 2, 5 p.m.
|Marriott Marquis Houston
|Held on Thursday, this dinner at the spanking-new Marriott Marquis will feature the presentation of the Pat Summerall Award while raising cash for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
|$250 and up
|The Big Texas Party
|Feb 2, 7 p.m.
|Silver Street Studios
|Hosted by CultureMap and ESPN Radio, this fete will feature NFL legends alongside Texas brews, barbecue, and plenty of whiskey.
|$125 and up
|Pastorini's Super Party
|Feb 2, 8 p.m.
|Redneck Country Club
|This event's individual tickets are sold out, but if you're flush with cash, consider a pricey sponsorship (starting at $15,000) so you can enjoy "gourmet Texas fare, hand-rolled cigars, and an open bar."
|$85 and up
|2017 VIP Meet and Greet Party
|Feb 3, 8 p.m.
|Hermann Park Golf Course
|If you're too broke to splurge on a $1000 party ticket, consider this event, where $40 will get you food, champagne, drink specials, and the chance to rub elbows with celebs.
|$40 and up
|Texas-Size Pre-Super Bowl Party
|Feb 4, 7 p.m.
|Join actor Morris Chestnut for this Super Bowl shindig featuring food, music, and plenty of booze.
|$175 and up
|Feb 5, 12:30 p.m.
|Crowne Plaza NRG Stadium Hotel
|Within stumbling distance of NRG Stadium, Tailgate 51 will serve up a killer buffet (think peel n' eat shrimp, braised brisket, and more) alongside appearances from NFL stars and legends. Oh, and don't forget about the open bar of premium booze.
Where To Watch Super Bowl LI
If you didn’t score tickets to the Super Bowl, don’t fret. Houston has plenty of great bars and restaurants that will be screening the game on HD screens, which is about as close to the real thing as you’re going to get. If you’re looking for a more low-key affair, check out Eater Houston’s guide to the city’s best sports bars. If a rowdier crowd is what you seek, choose one of these watch parties.
Note: this list of watch parties will be updated as more restaurants & bars release details on their festivities.
Super Bowl LI Watch Parties
|Bring your own food for a potluck while enjoying $3 wells and $5 you-call-its and watching the game on more than 400 inches of television.
|Doc's Sports Bar
|This Houston sports bar will be serving plenty of finger foods and cocktails along with having the game on all its screens, and you're encouraged to bring a dish of your own to participate in a Super Bowl potluck.
|Revolver Bourbon Social
|6502 Washington Ave
|All-you-can-eat crawfish, drink specials, and the Super Bowl on the big screens is all you'll need for a perfect gameday.
|Lone Star Ice House
|10801 Spring Cypress Rd
|Free hot dog with alcohol purchase, $4.75 beer pitchers, $3.50 wells, $4 Fireball, discounted beer buckets
|The Maple Leaf Pub
|If you'd rather watch the Puppy Bowl instead of football, head to the Maple Leaf for games, beer, and of course, puppies on the big screen. You can also stick around and watch the game after.
|Pimlico Irish Pub
|This pub will turn its parking lot into a massive party, featuring barbecue, drink specials, and more.
|Sweetest Sundaes at Christian's Tailgate
|2820 White Oak Drive
|Yes, $25 general admission, $50 VIP
|The festivities kick off at noon at Christian's Tailgate for an "all-day, carnival style" watch party that will feature a cornhole tournament, cotton candy, and boozy snow cones. After you play, watch the game on a 5 foot screen.
|Eight Row Flint
|$3 tacos, $4 beers, $5 margs, old fashions, mules
|Park at this Heights favorite for $3 tacos, $4 beers, and $5 margaritas, then stick around for Eight Row Flint's first-ever industry potluck, where chefs from Coltivare, Revival Market, and guests will all bring a dish to share.
Eater Houston Recommends
- If you get into town early, hit one of Houston’s best Happy Hours for a little cheap booze before the weekend arrives.
- If you’ve never experienced the magic of Chef Justin Yu’s Oxheart, this visit to Houston might well be your last chance. Yu will shutter Oxheart later this year to make way for a new restaurant, and you need to try that mung bean crepe.
- Spend a little non-football time getting acquainted with Houston’s best foodie neighborhoods, like the Mahatma Gandhi District, Montrose and the Heights.
- If you’ve got tickets to the game, make a stop at Biggio’s Sports Bar at the Marriott Marquis in Downtown Houston and take in a little pre-game analysis, beer, and good food before making your way to NRG Stadium.
If you hear of a cool, food-related Super Bowl party or spot a celebrity (like halftime performer Lady Gaga or Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his luscious locks) at one of Houston’s restaurants, drop your friendly Eater Houston staff a note via the tipline.