After some 20 years of providing family-friendly fun to thousands of San Antonians — not to mention hosting many a jam-packed night of Cowboys, Spurs and even professional wrestling viewing — it made sense a year or so ago when Fatso’s Sports Garden opened a new establishment on the North Side. Like the original Fatso’s, which resides somewhat discreetly on the city’s northwest flank, Fatso’s North features indoor-outdoor picnic-style seating, volleyball courts, and enough television sets to broadcast every NFL game being played at any given time on any given Sunday. And like the original Fatso’s, Fatso’s North — due to its non-smoking policy, diverse menu and slew of arcade games and pool tables — is a favorite among locals.
The new Fatso’s is essentially just like the old one, only much sleeker. This is both good and bad. While the original Fatso’s — thanks to its rich history, tasty menu and deep drink selection — is a unique institution in the Alamo City, the new location (aside from its famous name) resembles pretty much any other non-smoking sports bar in the surrounding area. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Northside suburbanites (Fatso’s North is basically enclosed by suburbs) are likely to embrace the shine and sparkle of their neighborhood Fatso’s.
Fortunately, for those who adore the original Fatso’s but find themselves nearest the outpost, the joints’ respective food and drink menus are, from all appearances, identical. The nachos, pizza, and wings are still kickass (and still reasonably priced), while old-school favorites like the Potato Skins and Fatso’s Original Hamburger (both available for less than $6) are still among the menu’s most viable dining options. Each table is still equipped with a monthly calendar that features daily sports-viewing options and monthly drink specials (on one visit, that included $2.75 Dos Equis longnecks and $9 Budweiser American Ale pitchers). Speaking of drinks, the Fatso’s North’s robust bar offers a load of beers on tap, as well as a healthy variety of bottled beer and liquor options. When it comes to a portion of Fatso’s moniker — namely the sports — Fatso’s North has you covered with eight large flat-screen television sets, as well as a bunch of smaller TVs showing less-important sporting events (basically, Cowboys = big screen, while the abysmal Texans get the small-screen treatment).
Newer isn’t necessarily better, but in the case of Fatso’s Sports Garden North, it makes for a damn fine spinoff.