Wizard’s Sports Cafe: One of the Best NFL Watching Experiences in the Dallas Area

Since I moved to Dallas I've been on a quest to find great NFL watching experiences, I've been to small dive bars, large chain breastaurants, and of course the new Cowboys stadium in Arlington in my quest. This season I'll be trying to visit a new place each week and writing about my experience watching an NFL game there.

Quick Info:

  • Venue: Wizard's Sports Cafe
  • Location: 747 S Central Expy, Richardson, TX 75080
  • Overall Rating: A
  • NFL Team: Kansas City Chiefs
  • Big Flatscreens: Yes
  • Projector Screens: Yes
  • Game Sound On: Yes
  • TVs at the bar: Yes
  • Food: Pub Grub
  • Food Quality: B
  • Drink prices: $$$ out of $$$$$
  • Mens Room Cleanliness: A-
  • Mens Room Valet: No
  • Smoking Allowed Inside: Yes
  • Valet Parking: No
  • Parking Availability: Moderate
  • Uber/Lyft Designated Pickup: No
  • Drink Wait Time at Kickoff: Slow
  • Drink Wait Time at End of 1st Quarter: Fair
  • Drink Wait Time at Half Time: Normal
  • Bar Staff Rating: Great

Dallas is a football town. For many that means watching more than their team, it means watching great NFL games on Sundays or Monday nights at a local bar or restaurant while having a beer or two, wings, or other food. This season is the peak for many area sports bars and chain restaurants targeted at sports enthusiasts. Controversies over anthems and brain damage, player misconduct off the field, and other issues aside I am an NFL fan. Growing up Sundays were days of bonding for me, my brother, my father, and my grandfather. Football gave us a reason to gather around once a week, an excuse to cook out from time to time, and something to talk about. When I became an adult I used Monday Night Football as a way to bond with friends old and new, and as a way to take my mind off of the work week.

Dallas and the NFL go way way back. In many ways the city of Dallas (and the DFW metro) helped shape the league we know today and the way the game is played. It all started when the son of an Arkansas oil tycoon wanted to start an NFL team here in Dallas but was rejected by the league in 1959. Spurned this young man started a league of his own called the American Football League (AFL). His name was Lamar Hunt an SMU graduate, he would start the AFL with his own Dallas based team as part of this new league, the Dallas Texans. The NFL quickly realized they might lose the South to the AFL and granted a franchise to the city of Dallas called the Dallas Steers but they changed their name to the Dallas Cowboys before the start of the season in 1960. The Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Texans became rivals across the two leagues fighting not only for local football fans here but also the bevy of Texas football talent during draft season. Both teams were considered among the best in their respective leagues. In 1962 Lamar Hunt reached an agreement with the city of Kansas City to relocate the Dallas Texans to Kansas City and named the team after the city's Mayor who made that deal possible, his nickname was "The Chief", and thus the Kansas City Chiefs were born. The AFL and the NFL would work out a merger in 1966 again with these two Dallas teams playing a role. Tex Schramm, the Dallas Cowboys General Manager at the time, brokered the merger deal with AFL founder and now Kansas City team owner Lamar Hunt. The two leagues would form two conferences the NFC (much of the original NFL) and the AFC (much of the original AFL) and would play a championship game which Lamar Hunt dubbed the Super Bowl. Without a maverick SMU graduate Dallas may not have the Dallas Cowboys and without the Dallas Texans / Kansas City Chiefs there would be no 5 Super Bowl wins for the Dallas Cowboys.

Knowing this history is important to know why Wizard's Sports Cafe is one of the best places to watch NFL games here in the Dallas metro. The sports bar feels almost hidden along 75 HWY northbound nestled between the POOCH Hotel and a Pappadeux's, which is odd because it is quite large once inside. You might drive by Wizard's on a game day and notice the red tents and flags in the parking lot, or the large group of people playing 'cornhole' and having bbq. The tailgate party is only the beginning. As kickoff time inches closer the parking lot begins to overflow with vehicles as people wearing red or white jerseys start pouring into the bar. Their jerseys have names like "Holmes", "Thomas", "Charles", "Smith", "Green", "Gonzalez", "Kelce", and "Berry" among others. Many of these people are transplants having moved to the DFW metroplex sometime in the recent past from places like Harrisonville, Lincoln, Joplin, Overland Park, Omaha, Lee's Summit, Des Moines, Wichita, Topeka, and Emporia. Not cities many in Dallas will recognize, but all part of what they call Chiefs Kingdom. For many on this particular game day this will be their first visit to Wizard's for a Chiefs game after having lived in North Texas for years and someone finally tells them about this magical place for Chiefs fans. For others it has become tradition carrying on the fandom left to them by their parents.

kansas city chiefs fans in dallas

As game time gets closer and the announcers cede their ramblings to the game's Kickoff, the inside of Wizard's turns from that recognizable hum of every other sports bar / restaurant into a deafening roar. Chiefs fans ranging in age from their early 20's into their 60's stand up and begin cheering, the sheer volume of the sound is enough to get your heart rate elevated even if you're not a fan of this team. In Kansas City Arrowhead stadium (that's where the Chiefs play) is known as the loudest stadium in the NFL and these fans have brought that passion that noise to this place today. if you stand on one side of the bar and look across the room you'll see nothing but a sea of red and white dotted with the occasional blue of a Kansas City Royals hat or shirt. The game I watched was Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Los Angeles Chargers their AFC Division Rivals and fellow AFL charter member team which just shunned their fans in San Diego and moved north to L.A.

The Wizard's game day experience isn't only about the fans. It is a complete immersion in the game and the team they are watching. Every TV and projector in the house has the game on (though sometimes they will have one TV on the Cowboys game for the one or two cowboys fans there if the two teams play at the same times). They have a DJ who mutes the commercials and plays stadium-like music during breaks keeping the crowd pumped even when things look hairy, which if you're a Chiefs fan reading this you know is unfortunately too often. Every time the Kansas City Chiefs get a 1st down the DJ announces it just like they would at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and the crowd joins in. When the Chiefs score a touchdown the entire place erupts into cheers, everyone jumps to their feet, people young and old and of all races run around high-fiving each other, and then the tomahawk chop and chant breaks out leading into a song they sing about the Chiefs beating "you, you, you".

chiefs fans wait on the final ruling about a touchdown

One thing that stood out to me was how the Chiefs fans treated the Chargers fans in the building. At times it looked like the Chargers might make a comeback or even win the game. The few Chargers fans would cheer and Chiefs fans around them would poke lighthearted remarks back at them, as if they were all old friends watching a game together. As one Chiefs fan draped in red and yellow told me "We're just about having a good time and a good game.".

Everything about this experience was awesome. The combination of NFL history, passionate fans, and the pagentry of a live game make this a must do for any NFL fans in Dallas. If you're a fan of one of the teams the Chiefs play this season and you're looking for a place that not only shows the game but makes it feel like you're there, you won't find a better place to watch your team play. And Cowboys fans note that the Chiefs are playing your division this season and have already beat the Eagles. I'm certain these fans would welcome you among them for the Redskins and Giants games.

The Chiefs next play the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football on October 2nd. They also have games this season against the Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Raiders, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys (here at AT&T Stadium), New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, and Miami Dolphins.

If you want to get a table and sit down at Wizards you'll have to get there early. There's usually plenty of room in the pool hall though or to stand around/near the bar.

Notes:

  • Is there some place in DFW you think is a great NFL watching experience? Tell me about it in the comments and I'll check it out.
  • I'm a male therefore I can't rate women's restrooms.
  • I use a ridesharing service to go to sports restaurants/bars/events, I get parking notes from checking out the parking lot and asking staff.
  • Drink prices are based on estimates from patrons.
  • Food quality is based on my own tastes and input from patrons. I'm from the rural midwest and my pallet my not be as sophisticated as yours / that of wealthy people.
  • Drink wait times are calculated using a stopwatch and talking to patrons ordering drinks. Wait time is how long it takes to place an order with a bartender and get a beverage of any kind including water and soda. This does not include server or table service times.
  • Bar staff ratings are based on friendliness of staff and appearance of work ┬ávs. leisure (i.e. are they working or on Instagram / Snapchat a lot).
  • The Hunt Family, the decedents of Lamar Hunt, own FC Dallas as well as the Kansas City Chiefs and still live in the DFW metro area.
  • I'm a Chiefs fan and it took me 8 years to learn of Wizard's, don't let that happen to someone you know.

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