- SXSW 2014
Because it is such a large school with a massive alumni base, the University of Texas at Austin often brags that it has fans all over the world. These bold claims were supported with a recent showing of Longhorn pride: 25-year-old alum Shanil Ali opened up a Texas Longhorn themed sports bar across the globe in his home of Karachi, Pakistan six months ago.
Ali’s Longhorn Sportsbar is decked out completely in orange and white and features the longhorn logo prominently. The food also has a Texas connection: it combines Tex-Mex flavors with Pakistani dishes. Ali is a huge basketball fan, so many of his dishes feature the names his favorite players.
“I attended UT Austin and I became a fan of their basketball and American football team,” Ali explained to The Express Tribune. “After a while, I became a typical ‘longhorn’ and wanted to share their lifestyle and their love for sports.”
In addition to the offer of good food and a sporty atmosphere, the Longhorn Sportsbar also invites guests to play X-Box and Playstation games on two large, flat screen TVs. Play has thus far been free, but once the bar gets through its three-week soft opening stage, they will begin charging 100 rupees per hour, which is about $1.20, for use of the gaming equipment.
To launch the business, the Longhorn Sportsbar held a big opening evening event that featured several bands. They also introduced customers to a unique menu that features everything from buffalo burgers to lassi, a Pakistani yogurt drink. As an added perk, they offered 100 visitors lifetime 20 percent discounts.
“We did this to open the place for visitors to get feedback so that once it officially launched, everything would be perfect,” Ali explained.
Faisal Alee, a relative of the general manager, said that the response to the sports bar has been very positive, and he claims that people find the venue to be a “comfortable and enjoyable place for everyone.” There are a lot of longhorn fans in Karachi, Pakistan, he explained, and the existence of those fans translates to a lot of customers for the Longhorn Sportsbar.