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.
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.