Wednesday, October 10, 2012 , Updated 5:06 p.m., October 12, 2012
Everything you need to know about Red Rivalry Weekend 2012 in Dallas
Where's the party at?
FAIR PARK As the weekend creeps closer, you can hear the stampedes coming — the burnt orange from the south and the crimson from north — as the University of Texas Longhorns gear up for battle against the University of Oklahoma Sooners in the annual Red River Rivalry football game at the Cotton Bowl. But it’s not the teams you should be wary of; it’s the fans hauling their coolers and wearing face paint, showing no mercy for those inadequately prepared for the party. So grab your koozie and your friends; here's our ultimate guide to Texas/OU weekend in Dallas.
Brief word of warning: Traveling by car, cab, or train is going to be tricky and time consuming. We’ve got some tips below to help you navigate the city.
Organized celebratory shindigs
Victory Park is hosting a two-day celebration of Texas/OU weekend with a pre-game pep rally on Friday night at W Hotel and a Party in the Plaza the following day. Join fans from both teams at the Living Room Bar Friday after 5 p.m., where chefs from the W will be cooking traditional tailgate barbecue including brisket, potato salad, and fried okra. The drinks specials are also team spirited, featuring the Crimson Crusher and the Orange Onslaught. Saturday’s free the party in AT&T Plaza outside of American Airlines Center starts at 9 a.m. Bring lawn chairs and blankets and watch the game on the biggest screens in Dallas. Coolers and pets are prohibited.
Best and worst new fried foods
State Fair deals and discounts
Best stuff to do at the State Fair
Zouk nightclub in Uptown is throwing a weekend-long Block Party that begins Thursday with a weekly college party called Thousand Dollar Thursdays, hosted by i93 radio station. Friday night’s pep rally features dance beats by Joe Vega that will make you forget that this game is war. Tickets for Friday are $10 and Zouk invites everyone ages 18 and up. Saturday, it’s on, with a free watching party and Red River DJ showdown between the Longhorns’ DJ Blitz and Sooners’ DJ Boom. The game will be shown on a projector inside the club. After 5 p.m. the cost is $10-$15 to attend the DJ battle.
The official Red River Rivalry tailgate at Fair Park begins with the sunrise. Expect to find fans on the State Fair grounds between the Classic Car Corral and the Museum of Nature and Science from 7 to 10:45 am. DART trains begin running around 4:30 a.m. and are sure to be crowded by the time tailgating starts, so plan accordingly.
If you’re not looking to go all out for the Red River Rivalry, there are several spots to watch the game around town. Granada Theater’s annual watching party provides one of the best views. The historic movie theater turned music venue breaks out three high-definition projection screens, so you have a good spot no matter where you’re sitting. The event is free; a fajita buffet costs an extra $20.
If you wear your team’s colors to the watching party at Empire Rock Bar, you’re automatically signed up for $4 wells and $5 tequila shots. We can’t think of better way to wash down all the free pizza they’ll be serving than a dozen or so tequila shots. We're kidding.
You’ll have luck catching the game at any bar on McKinney Avenue in Uptown between Routh and Hall. This is probably the densest area of sports bars in the city, and each one boasts more than 20 televisions, bar food, and a staff passionate about football. McKinney Avenue Tavern is selling tables for fans looking for a one-stop shop. For $120, you can get brunch for four people and a pitcher of mimosas. Frankie’s Sports Bar is opening its doors at 7 a.m. with the offering of $2 orange and crimson Jell-O shots.
McFadden’s sports bar in Addison is sure to be one of the rowdiest watching parties in town. Arrive in your football gear at game time and receive your first drink for only $1. Stick around for the late night Bikini Bull Riding Competition where you could win up to $500 in cash and prizes or, you know, just let your mind wander.
After-parties within walking distance of the Cotton Bowl
After the game, indulge in one of the most unique bar areas of Dallas. While several of the spots at Exposition Park (directly across from the Fair Park DART station) don’t have drink specials on Saturday, they have an eclectic atmosphere you can’t experience by walking into a chain. Amsterdam Bar, Pizza Lounge, and Meridian Room all open at 7 a.m. to cater to tailgaters and make sure no one goes hungry … or thirsty. Rest assured these restaurants will be there for you until 2 a.m. the next day. Amsterdam Bar will have two food trucks out front while Meridian Room will be serving up bacon, sausage, and potato breakfast tacos. You can count on the everlasting Po Boy special at Pizza Lounge, which includes a 12 oz. Pabst Blue Ribbon alongside a shot of well tequila for $3. The people watching's free.
Tips for travel
As we mentioned earlier, traveling this weekend is going to be chaotic, stressful, and downright difficult. Let’s break it down:
By train: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is ramping up service with more trains, smaller wait times, and more resources. But that doesn’t guarantee you’ll miss the crowd. Volunteers will be at DART stations four and a half hours prior to kick off selling fare tickets and directing avid fans. Bus shuttles directly to the Cotton Bowl will be available at nine stations — Victory, Bachman, Bush Turnpike, Spring Valley, Forest Lane, Park Lane, Mockingbird, Pearl/Arts District, and Trinity Mills — so you don’t have to wait on connecting lines. Still, DART Spokesman Mark Ball suggests allowing several hours for transportation. If you leave an hour before kick off, you probably won’t make it, he said.
By car: Many of you who traveled to town will be taking your car to the game. Be aware that the State Fair of Texas does not cease for the Red River Rivalry, and the two major events share parking around Fair Park. Be patient and smart. Parking is $15. After the game, again, be patient and smart, as the highways, back roads, northbounds, southbounds, and everywhere in between will be jam-packed. Police will be out in full force to catch drunk drivers. Did we mention to drive patiently and use your street smarts? Just checking.
By cab: Every cab driver in the city is working a triple shift this weekend. Your best bet is to stay in a high traffic area so you can hail a cab. Many will be full, but if you tread off the beaten path — say into an extraneous neighborhood — you could be waiting up to two hours for a cab to arrive. Trust us, we know.
- Mysterious restaurant called Remedy to open on Greenville Avenue
- Theater review: We Will Rock You will blow your mind, and your speakers
- Theater review: The [Expletive] with the Hat is masterful and funny, wise and appalling
- Review: Queen musical We Will Rock You has just the right camp and swagger
- Concert review: Crowds go crazy for diamond-in-the-flesh Lorde in Dallas