The NCAA's "March Madness" basketball tournament, leading up to the Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 4 and ultimately the championship game on April 6, began this past Tuesday. Five Texas schools are in the hunt this year, including the University of Texas Longhorns, Baylor Bears, Southern Methodist University Mustangs, Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks and the one lone team from a school located here in Houston, the Texas Southern University Tigers.
All of the Texas teams will be playing this Thursday, starting fairly early with Baylor taking on Georgia State at 12:40 p.m.; TSU vs. Arizona at 1:10 p.m.; UT vs. Butler at 1:45 p.m.; SMU vs. UCLA at 2:10 p.m.; and SFA playing the late game vs. Utah at 6:27 p.m. The bars on this list are in some cases hosting fans of these Texas teams this Thursday and for the other bars no definite watching parties are scheduled; however, we feel that these establishments are your best bet for places to enjoy some March Madness basketball action, whether your team made it into the tournament or not.
Note: This list is in alphabetical order.
BEER MARKET CO. Beer Market Company has thrown down the gauntlet to beer bars across Houston by offering up more than 365 different brews; customers can drop in and have a different beer here every day of the year. You probably won't have enough time to try all 365 during the March Madness viewing parties here though; besides the jaw-dropping beer selection, the food here has also been a hit, with the "Mac 'N Cheese Burger" and the "Brew Pretzels with Real Ale 'Hans Pils' Cheese Dip" among the favorites. With 30 TVs spread out across the place including several outside on the spacious wraparound patio, watching your preferred game (or games) here will not be a problem.
920 Studemont, beermarketco.com
BOMBSHELLS RESTAURANT & BAR (GULF FREEWAY) Bombshells Restaurant & Bar seems to be going for the Hooter's/Twin Peaks formula: scantily clad, attractive young women serving up American food like burgers, pizza and wings, with beer. Bombshells does have a military-themed twist on the concept; the young ladies wear Army green tops, short black skirts, black boots, faux bullet belts, and the occasional military dog tags.
Sports is big here; there are around 70 HDTVs up on the walls, none with a screen smaller than 50 inches, so this is a good spot to take in all of the basketball during March Madness and the food and beer are reasonably priced. With the concept here, you might expect the crowd to be predominantly male, but when we visited one evening the crowd was pretty evenly mixed between both genders; even couples and families were in attendance.
12810 Gulf Fwy., 4bombshells.com
CHRISTIAN'S TAILGATE GRILL & BAR (THE HEIGHTS) With one of the best burgers in Houston and an extensive beer menu, this outdoor bar with open garage doors is the place to watch March Madness in the Heights; you can take a short walk across the street over to Fitzgerald's and catch some live music after you are done watching your games for the evening if you like. Some Baylor fans are planning a watch party here for the game starting at 12:40 against Georgia State, but fans of all teams are expected to be in attendance -- and welcome here, of course.
2820 White Oak, christianstailgate.com
GRIFF'S HOUSTON They just got done celebrating their 50th annual St. Patrick's Day Party and now the party continues at this Houston Irish/sports bar institution. Griff's has 22 TVs, including five big screens, to show all of the basketball tournament games on; Griff's Army of sports fans is sure to be out in full force throwing back some brews and screaming at the referees through the TV screens during the games. Try some of the bar food out here, like the "World Famous Griff's Burger"; throw in an extra buck to add a fried egg and make it a "Heart Attack Burger." This is what old-school sports bars are all about.
3416 Roseland, griffshouston.net
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LITTLE WOODROW'S (MIDTOWN) With both TSU and UT fans scheduled to venture out to the Little Woodrow's Midtown location for the basketball games, dropping in this Thursday should make for a raucous good time. This location has been going strong for over a decade now, sticking to a simple formula of 50 craft beers on tap and above-average bar food to keep the patrons coming back. Woodrow's big outdoor patio, crawfish and weekly turtle race beginning at 8 p.m. should keep patrons around long after the games this Thursday night.
2306 Brazos, littlewoodrows.com
LUCKY'S PUB (EADO) Lucky's Pub in East Downtown is located next to Warehouse Live; more than enough TVs are available here to watch all of the games including some large projection screens. The bar food here is pretty good; try the pizza or a Lucky Burger and wash it down with one of the beers from the bar's large selection of draft and bottled brews. It's probably a good idea to arrive a little earlier than your game's starting time to ensure you and your friends get a seat as the place can get crowded on game days; SFA and UT fans will be attending viewing parties here.
801 St. Emanuel, luckyspub.com
THE MEZZANINE LOUNGE How many times have you missed a big play during a ball game when you had to run to relieve yourself after drinking massive amounts of beer? Not a problem at Mezzanine, which has TVs in the bathrooms so you never have to miss a play during March Madness. Mezzanine has an upstairs and downstairs which comes in handy accommodating the big crowds who come in for the basketball tournament; the bar even has an online pool where you can pick which teams you think will win here. Along with Buffalo wings, nachos, burgers and other bar food, try Mezzanine's Arian "Bananas" Foster bites served with caramel dipping sauce.
2200 Southwest Fwy., mezzaninelounge.com
NICK'S ITALIAN SPORTS BAR & PIZZERIA Nick's has been around for more than 20 years now and, truth be told, looks a little worn and divey, but that's part of its charm. It's authentic and real as the sports fans who call the place home, and is definitely not a plastic, corporate place. Nick's will be showing all of the March Madness college basketball games and don't be surprised to hear some good-natured trash-talking going on between different teams' fans, the patrons here are not shy and can be quite vocal. Oh yeah, we should mention that the Italian food here, particularly the pizza, is outstanding.
2713 Rockyridge, nicksplacehouston.com
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REVELRY ON RICHMOND Revelry on Richmond is an upscale craft-beer and sports bar, as well as a full restaurant. It's a beer lover's paradise, with 40 rotating local and craft brews on tap; the beers are listed by name as well as their IBU and ABV numbers on TVs above each side of the bar.
While not as massive as some of the other places on our list, Revelry has a total of 27 TVs that will be showing all of the basketball games, even a couple on the outside patio for you to watch on. Try some nachos or fresh-baked pretzels to share with a friend; or the burgers, which are available with beef patties, boneless chicken breasts, ground turkey or black-bean patties.
1613 Richmond, revelryonrichmond.com
Interestingly enough, SFA supporters seem to be one of the most organized groups of fans in the city, with several viewing parties throughout our area scheduled, including one out in Clear Lake at Wings-Pizza-N-Things. The name is pretty much self-explanatory, with pizza and wings being the primary foods of choice, along with other bar food as well as beer on tap and a full bar to wash it all down with.
The wings come in several flavors like Garlic Parmesan, Teriyaki, Chipotle and more; pizzas are all named after airplanes and include the A-10 Warthog (all the meats you could want) and the Flyin' Hawaiian (Canadian bacon and pineapple). Even if you are not an SFA fan, no worries, you can watch the other games here as well.
11510 Space Center Blvd., wingspizzanthings.com
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