The arrival of March always signals the start of the highly anticipated NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, which means there’s always a large dose of energy, excitement, and team support in the air. Will Indiana or Syracuse take the championship trophy? And what about California favorites St. Mary’s or UCLA…could they pull an upset?
Viewing your top picks in the comfort of home is certainly a choice, or you can grab your team gear and venture to your local sports bar to vibe off the energy of other fans.
Don’t know where to go? Try a few of these picks:
175 4th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
If you’re in San Francisco, you must catch the Sweet Sixteen or the final four at Jillian’s, one of the city’s premier venues for sporting events, billiards, private dining, live music and dancing. Located within walking distance of the Moscone Convention Center, Jillian’s offers 50-foot, HDTV wall ensuring every seat in the house has a decent view of the game. There are also multiple HDTV screens around the bar, if you prefer to do your socializing closer to the man who will be refilling your beer mug. And what happens if you want to taunt the guys in your Yahoo! Tourney Pick ‘Em group online? Three words: free WiFi hotspots.
7042 Folsom Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95826
Bisla’s was not only voted Sacramento’s best sports bar by the KCRA 3, but recently made CBS Sacramento’s list of “Best Bars to Watch College Basketball.” Located at the edge of the CSUS campus, you might be tempted to think this is just another college sports bar—but the modern blue-light seating and chic daybeds on the back patio say otherwise. The lounge and sports bar offers 13 TVs, a giant projection screen in the main bar area and a couple of TVs on the awesome back patio. Another plus? The “beer power hour” on Fridays and Saturdays, which includes 50-cent beers from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you don’t mind a rowdy college crowd, Bisla’s is a great spot to catch one of the tourney games.
ESPN Zone at L.A. Live
1011 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90016
If you’re in L.A. during March Madness and aren’t viewing the games at Staples Center, then walk across the street to ESPN Zone at L.A. Live. The ESPN Zone is a favorite for sports-watching because, as LA Weekly pointed out: “Every single person in the entire place is there for one reason — watching whatever sport is taking place about 50 yards away in Staples, or cheering on those teams when they’re away from home.” Depending on which ESPN Zone space you choose, you can be surrounded by 55 mounted flat-screen HDTVs and two 110-inch screens or take in the game, sights and sounds of Downtown L.A. from one of the other screening rooms for multigame viewing. Insider tip: arrive before 5 p.m. to snag a table and take advantage of happy hour (Monday-Friday 2-5 p.m.).
Players Sports Bar
7061 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111
Most San Diegans know that the place to go for virtually 360-degree sports viewing is Players Sports Bar in Kearny Mesa. Offering 50 satellites and 70 screens “habitually tuned to the Universities of California, Illinois, Missouri, Texas and North Carolina for their attendant alumni and fans,” it’s easy to see why it was voted No. 11 on CNN’s list of “101 Best Sports Bars.” You shouldn’t have trouble catching your out-of-state college team’s NCAA game—not to mention you’ll have some pretty stellar drink and food specials to choose from everyday of the week. When was the last time you could get a beer, burger and tots for $10?
Tell us: Which California bar would be in your winning bracket?
* Image of basketball courtesy of: www.shopathome.com