The NCAA basketball championship tournament celebrates its 75th year this year. The three weeks of elimination playoff games begin March 19th, taking the Big 12 down to the Final Four. The Final Four weekend is April 6-8, with the championship game on April 8th at The Georgia Dome. For those of you who won’t be at the games, there are some great bars in the area to kick back and watch some b-ball.
Players Sports Pub & Grill
4060 Sunrise Blvd.
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
Players has a great atmosphere for watching a game. Patio seating is available and there is plenty of parking in the bar’s lot. With three big screens and over 30 HD TVs, you won’t miss a moment of the action during the tournament. Over the years, Players has evolved from a neighborhood bar to a sports fan destination. This pub has more to offer than most run-of-the-mill establishments. Food is served late until 1 a.m. Menu items include a 16-ounce bone-in rib eye, 1.5 pounds of honey-smoked ribs and over 20 beers to choose from. If you get bored watching the games, you can play darts or challenge your friends to a game of foosball.
Republic Bar & Grill
908 15th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
If what you are looking for is the young modern crowd, look no further. Republic in Sacramento is all you need. Catering to the younger crowd of “who’s who,” Republic is the Midtown place for people to see and be seen. Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Republic offers $9 domestic pitchers and $3 mixed drinks. With the young crowd filling the seats, this is sure to be a hit for tournament viewing. Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen sends out amazing menu items to Republic’s hungry masses. Feeling confident? Challenge your friends to a tournament of your own on the live-action basketball arcade game.
MVP’s Sports Grill
2110 L St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
MVP’s has a “home-away-from-home” feeling. When you walk in, you feel like you can be yourself as there are no attitudes here (not from the staff anyway). This bar has an eclectic mix of people, kind of like a family. Once you’ve been here to watch your favorite team, you can’t help but return. Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday with half-price appetizers and $2 domestic drafts. Other specials are known to pop up during championships and othe major events. Besides the bar area downstairs, MVP’s has an upstairs seating area and two other rooms to watch games in. With 21 HD TVs, you’re sure to be a part of the action at MVP’s.
The Davis Graduate
805 Russell Blvd.
Davis, CA 95616
The Davis Graduate is a staple in the city of Davis. The Grad is well known for being a place where college kids on a budget can get together and catch the buzz they’re looking for. The Grad features live entertainment in the form of live comedy on a regular basis. The bar is also a place the masses will gather for any major sporting event, making it a perfect hub for tournament festivities. With an ever-changing variety of drink specials, this bar makes the grade when it comes to local haunts.
7042 Folsom Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95826
Bisla’s is the embodiment of a college sports bar. Tournament viewing at Bisla’s is (pardon my 90′s reference) off the hook. At the edge of the CSUS campus, this lounge and sports bar has become a Sac State student favorite. On Fridays and Saturdays, it has what it calls “beer power hour” with 50-cent beers from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. There are 13 TVs, a giant projection screen in the main bar area and a couple of TVs on the awesome back patio. You are sure to find great food, great drinks and a genuine good time at Bisla’s.
As a hospitality professional Andy Soto has worked every facet of the industry. He currently leads the team at Spectrum Restaurant Consulting. He started writing a hospitality blog in 2009 and restaurant writing for Sacramento Press in 2010. In 2011 Andy became a Sacramento Restaurant Examiner for Examiner.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.