Crown and Anchor

The iconic, beer-only pub has been serving $10 pitchers and underrated hamburgers for more than 25 years.

By Mark Stenberg, University of Texas at Austin

When I was just a greenhorn beer drinker, I went to Crown and Anchor with some friends.

In an act of goodwill, one of them ordered a pitcher of Ranger IPA—a gritty, hair-on-your-chest type beer. Being youngsters, our virgin palates were lightyears away from the maturity levels needed to drink a mildly robust beer, let alone Ranger. In other words, we all hated it.

Knowing it’s an odd man who doesn’t finish a free beer, we all gamely happy-cupped a glass, but even that didn’t work. With our tails between our legs, we poured the beers back into the pitcher and I returned it, nearly full, to the bar.

When asked, I sheepishly told the bartender that there was nothing wrong with the beer, we just didn’t like it.

Then—and this I’ll never forget—the bartender apologized (??), took the pitcher, asked what I wanted (Shiner) and then gave me two pitchers of it for free.

I knew then and there that Crown and Anchor was a special place.

Years later, when I tell people I miss Austin, I really mean I miss Crown and Anchor. The iconic bar has been in business for more than 25 years, and is all things to all people: Greek students, old people serious about darts, grad students, roller derby teams, engineers on awkward dates.

Their beer selection is so comprehensive and affordable that it took a friend asking why they didn’t serve liquor for me to realize that they didn’t serve liquor.

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It’s close to campus, but far enough away to have to look to find it, like the public house version of the Mirror of Erised. There’s no gimmicks, no put-ons, no promotions—just a based bar with friendly staff, pool, darts, scattered TVs, great hamburgers and plenty outdoor seating. And Ranger IPA.