Tacos, nachos and burgers named after basketball superstars are served up along with live matches at the Longhorn Sports Bar that opened at Seaview, Clifton Block 2 near Bilawal House on Saturday.
For opening night, several bands performed, while the first 100 visitors were awarded a lifetime membership at a 20% discount.
The theme of the sports bar is based on the white and orange University of Texas Austin’s (UT) logo, the longhorn. It may seem strange to bring an American university team to Karachi but for the founder and owner, 25-year-old Shanil Ali, it’s the basketball team that inspired him to go into the business.
“I attended UT Austin and I became a fan of their basketball and American football team,” he told The Express Tribune. “After a while, I became a typical ‘longhorn’ and wanted to share their lifestyle and their love for sports.”
His basic concept was to bring a Tex-Mex (Texan-Mexican) touch to Pakistan. “Since there are similar flavours in their food and ours, I thought it’d work out well,” he said.
Fluorescent orange and white lighting, longhorn logos plastered on the walls and the soccer balled salt-and-pepper-shakers definitely create a Texas feel to the interior. The menu has a touch of Tex-Mex favourites, including nachos and tacos. Ali said he tried to bring something different to the menu than what is available at most cafes and sports bars. The names are a mouthful. Take for example, the ‘Steve Nash Texan Beef Burger’ and the ‘Maradona Royal Bacon Burger’ named after Ali’s favourite players. “It’s the only place where you will find lassi and buffalo burgers on the same menu,” quipped an 18-year-old visitor, who was propped up comfortably against the leather couches.
Ali and his partner, Ammar Majid, decided to hold a soft opening for three weeks. “We did this to open the place for visitors to get feedback so that once it officially launched, everything would be perfect,” Ali explained.
Seventeen-year-old Sarah Sheikh had some feedback. According to her, the food was “great” but the interior was “a bit gloomy”. She did note, however, that it was “perfect” for “guys” interested in live games whether cricket, football or basketball.
The bar not only shows live sporting events on its two large flat-screen TVs but customers can also play X-box and Playstation games. During the soft opening, visitors played free but the bar will start charging Rs100 per hour.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2011.