The Live! by Loews caters to football fans, concert goers, and more.

Image: Bill Wiatrak

I’m not a huge sports fan. I love watching a live football game or a little baseball, but I’ve never been particularly connected to a certain team, so when my travels brought me to Arlington, I had no horse in the race, so to speak.

I could really appreciate the mega stadium and entertainment complex brewing in that little city between Dallas and Fort Worth.

I was invited to stay at Live! by Loews, the gleaming new hotel right in the middle of it all. If you’ve never seen this mega-sports center, it’s really something. Globe Life Park, AT&T Stadium and the new, soon-to-be Globe Life Field are spread apart in a giant triangle with Texas Live and the Loews hotel in the middle. Six Flags over Texas is minutes away. Arlington Backyard, a 5,000-person capacity arena, is right next door.

There’s really no type of event this area can’t handle. The stadiums are used just as much for concert venues as sports. You don’t have to be a Cowboys fan to hang out here, and  you’re just as likely to bump into Billy Joel as Troy Aiken.

Inside the palatial Texas Live.

Image: Bill Wiatrak

Live! by Loews is best described as an immersive hotel with a subtle sports theme running throughout the property and a giant (and I mean giant) screen in the bar area.  I visited Texas Live next door, which is like a Dave and Busters mixed with a sports bar on steroids—lots of cool restaurants and drinking spots,  tons of TVs, sensory overload—but I found myself more at home in the Bar Bourbon at Loews sipping a hand-crafted Old Fashioned made the right way: a one-inch single ice cube, Luxardo cherries, a homemade syrup made from tea, and Whistlepig straight rye whiskey.

Bar Bourbon pours a solid Old Fashioned.

Image: Bill Wiatrak

The bar nuts are among the best bar snacks I’ve ever had anywhere: a glazed pecan and nut mix with hints of chili and honey. My second drink was a whiskey sour made with egg whites whipped into a tangy bourbon concoction. I like a good bourbon drink, and this spot delivered.

The pool bar SOAK caught my eye. It's an open-concept infinity pool, looking out at the AT&T Stadium, with a swim-up bar and another huge screen playing the game of the day. It looked like a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon—even non-aficionados couldn't help but stare at the screen and soak up the Texas sun. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten my swimsuit.

What’s great about the Live! complex is that it’s a destination in and of itself. It’s a great place to hang out before or after a game, but it’s also a happening spot to check out the restaurants, bars, and play some lawn games on non-stadium days. You’ve got all the fun with less of a crowd. If you’re feeling state-triotic, take a whirl on one of the mechanical bulls at Texas Live.

I had a reservation at the Cut and Bourbon, the unpretentious steakhouse at Loews. At first glance, the unique items like the Maine lobster pot pie or the Sixty South salmon caught my eye. You can’t get Antarctic salmon just anywhere, but then again you can’t get a tomahawk steak just anywhere either. I moved a little further down the menu, and in the end turf beat out surf.

Well, not exactly. There’s a respectable raw bar, and the shellfish appetizer platter was a photo-worthy dish I couldn’t turn down. Half a lobster, prawns, oysters, and amazing king crab legs are served in two tiers with three different dipping sauces,  a meal in itself. The heirloom tomato salad with fresh burrata was as good as anything I’ve ever had in Italy.

The steak offerings were fantastic. There were choices from an 8-ounce hanger steak to a 32-ounce porterhouse. The caveman in me loves the tomahawk and it didn’t disappoint. It even comes with its own convenient bone handle. There were four different sauces to choose from, so I got them all. Life is too short to have one sauce. The creamy horseradish got my vote.

 The final pièce de résistance was the 11-layer carrot cake. An insanely tall wedge of deliciousness with pecans and cream poured over the top at the table made a dessert statement that caught the attention of the nearby diners. A glass of port paired perfectly with it and a few bites was all I could manage before I had it wrapped up for breakfast.

If you don’t feel like driving anywhere else after an evening of great food and drink, rooms at the Live! by Loews start at under $150 and have great views of the stadium. It’s a great place to combine a sporting event, concert or trip to Six Flags as well.

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