I'll admit it, I'm a closet sports fan. Although I don't follow many teams specifically until the high-stakes games come around, I do love the excitement of play-off football and baseball, and March Madness basketball.
I am an alumnus of Valparaiso University, which still celebrates their 1998 buzzer-beater victory over Ole Miss to make them a Cinderella that year (they sadly haven't had too much happen since... especially after joining the Horizon League!). Some trivia for you: Bryce Drew, who made that infamous shot, is currently the VU men's basketball coach. His brother Scott is Baylor's head basketball coach.
While I was in school at VU there was one spot only where we could watch our team play in the NCAA tourney, and that was the new Buffalo Wild Wings in town (it had satellite TV). I remember arriving there about four hours prior to tip-off to ensure we got a table - and proceeded to watch our Crusaders get their, well... let's just say they lost badly that year. But the energy of breaking fire code and having what seemed like every student of-age crammed into that bar was all but intoxicating (pun intended...). I love March Madnesstime!
It got me thinking. Where are the best local joints to catch some March Madness? I found this very well updated list of Tosa Bars, and took a minute to peruse. Ideally it'd be someplace where there are multiple TVs, since there are obviously multiple games happening at once. Good beer and good bites are also priorities.
Here are my top three - although I'm willing to be advised otherwise:
- Leff's - I hardly ever get over there... this would be the perfect time! Classic local sports bar.
- Red Dot - Not huge, but a down-to-earth vibe, good bar food and they've got a couple TVs.
- Cafe Bavaria - It's new, it's fun, it's got a great bar area and delicious beers (just a little pricier than these other two)
I'm trying to avoid the chains on this list, but at some point I might give in. Not too many of our indie places have tons of TVs/large bar areas. BDubs and Dave & Busters may be worth a try. Jimmy's Island Grill I have been to once but wasn't super impressed... they do have muchos screens, though. Mo's should be on my list, but it's a regular of mine already. Trying to think outside the box. And Firefly, they've got a ginormous TV in their bar - but they're a little too posh to really feel good about enjoying college basketball there.
Thoughts, opinions, suggestions? Where will you be watching the Madness?