Mar 17, 2016 - Things to Do

Top 7 bars in which to play hooky and watch March Madness


via facebook

Congratulations to everyone. The best two days of the entire year are here. The end of the third week of March is like a triple witching of awesomeness converging to give you a new lease on life for the year. In this short timeframe you have:

  • Daylight savings time beginning – For the next eight months, it will be light out when you leave work. You can mow your grass or go on a run outside. Or drink a beer on your porch. Or shoot hoops at your neighborhood park. We have been gifted an extra hour of enjoyment and it’s yours to make the most of.
  • Weather improving – it’s not the case every year, but typically around this time you’ve got a couple days of great weather strung together. Even if it rains, it’s warmer than it’s been, and everyone is anxious to take advantage. The energy and excitement of being in a city on the first day of great weather is just fantastic.
  • NCAA Tournament tips off – I am a massive fan of the NCAA Tournament and watch probably 90% of the games the opening weekend, particularly the first two days. I love the feeling on Thursday night, watching the final game end, satisfied after a day of gorging on college basketball, and knowing that I can do it all over again the very next day. It’s just a special feeling that you only get to experience for one hour every 365 days. Make the most of it.

But to borrow a phrase, you can’t binge on basketball all day if you don’t start in the morning, and sadly some of you have to trudge into the office tomorrow thanks to Barry in Accounting who scheduled a conference call at 3:30 on the opening day of the tournament.

Come on, Barry. I don’t schedule meetings in the middle of your Antiques Roadshow marathon. Barry.

Barry aside, you can still maximize your basketball watching experience if you plan your day accordingly and take a late lunch after the early games tip off at 12:15 (Duke vs UNC-W). But where should you go? Where are the best places to take in a game or six close to the office? Fortunately I’m here to help you out. Here are the criteria for these places:

  • Located a short walk from a concentration of workers
  • Many televisions as there will be four games broadcast simultaneously as of 2:00 p.m.
  • Good food for your long lunch
  • Bonus points if they have a space with outdoor TVs

(1) Lebowski’s Grill


If you work around Dilworth this is the place to hit up. Small outdoor area, but it’s as sports bar as you can get so you’ll have all the ambience and great bar food you need for a lunchtime in and out.

(2) Courtyard Hooligans

@carlylej2 via Instagram

The only thing preventing this from being a stone cold lock as the best place to watch the games is that it’s slightly cavernous inside, and with a forecast for sunshine, it can be a bummer to be in the dark on a day like that. Can’t beat the location, TVs, beer, and ambience other than that though.

(3) Blackfinn

via Instagram

For Uptown workers, Blackfinn is just a slam dunk (nice work, TW) for catching these games. It’s basically in the center of Uptown so you can minimize walking and maximize your game-watching time during your lunch break. Food is good enough but there’s no outdoor space, which is kind of a bummer, but the two bar areas will certainly have you covered from a TV perspective.

(4) Carolina Ale House


It’s Uptown, has a patio, and has plenty of TVs. The arrangement of the TVs leaves something to be desired and you might be at the mercy of where you’re seated to catch all of the games.

(5) Draught

Photo via Facebook
Photo via Facebook

Might be a bit of a walk from your Uptown office, but you can’t top Draught for TVs, outdoor area, and drinks.

(6) Dilworth Neighborhood Grill

Dill worth Neighborhood Grille

If you can drive here, they’ll have the perfect setup for watching multiple games. If you can get Barry to move the meeting earlier in the day, my move would be to cut out of work early at like 3 p.m. and plan to stay through until midnight.

(7) Duckworth’s Uptown

@fillmorenc via Instagram

TVs. TVs. TVs. Cheesesteaks. TVs. This place will definitely have all the simultaneous games on, and has great food and beer to boot. No outdoor patio on which to watch the games, but you can bet the big windows at the front to give the feeling of being outside.

Cover image via the Duckworth’s Facebook page


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