March has come in like a lion (you know, there's a country where March hops in like a kangaroo, and stays a kangaroo for a while, then it becomes a slightly smaller kangaroo, then, for a couple of days it's sort of a cross between a frilled lizard and a common house cat, then it changes back into a smaller kangaroo, and then it goes out like a wild dingo… sorry, I started channeling John Belushi)
and springtime is nigh, which means that St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and it’s time to gear up for March Madness (which also describes the mood of everyone currently working on their income taxes). Time to git yer game on before that old April Apathy sets in.
Created in 1939, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) holds the Men’s Division I single elimination Basketball Championship tournament every March. In 1977 Jim Enright published a book about Illinois’ basketball tournament entitled March Madness.
Fans began connecting the term to the NCAA tournament in the early 1980s. Brent Musburger popularized the term during his annual tournament broadcasts.
Sixty-eight teams are divided into four regions and organized into a "bracket", which predetermines, should a team win its game, which team they will face in the next round.
The tournament’s seven rounds are called…
1. First Four
2. Second Round (also known as "the Round of 64")
3. Third Round ("the Round of 32")
4. Regional Semi-Finals ("Sweet Sixteen")
5. Regional Finals ("Elite Eight")
6. National Semi-Finals ("Final Four")
7. The National Final
Beginning in 1969 the tournament was at least partially televised and today, with coverage by CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV, all games are available nationwide. As March Madness coverage has grown, so too has the tournament's popularity, earning it a place in American sports culture. Now, throngs of round-ball fans crowd their local sports bars to watch their teams battle it out for the National Championship.
Of course breastaurants are always a top choice for large sporting events (see my “Dallas’ Best Breastaurants” March, 2011 article on my blog eatdallas-best-of-the-breastaurants), but I’ve sorted through a myriad of other Metroplex March Madness viewing locale options for you, and these are my “Top Ten” picks for happy hoops-watching…
Frankie's Sports Bar
3227 McKinney Ave., Dallas 214-999-8932 – An Uptown staple, Frankie’s originally set the standard for Dallas sports bars. No booths, but they can accommodate large groups. They sport a couple 10 to 12 foot screens, almost 40 flat screens, and wireless receivers to hear your game at your table. Upscale bar food.
Christie's Sports Bar
2811 McKinney Ave., Dallas 214-954-1511 – Christie’s has been called the best sports bar in Dallas. With a bit less of an SMU crowd-feel than Frankie’s, Christie’s has four big screens on the patio and three big projection screens inside. A rich mahogany and brass décor. Pizza and steaks on the “not-your-average-bar-food” menu.
Nick’s Sports Bar and Grill
3536 Lakeview Pkwy., Rowlett 972-412-7777 – Located in a non-descript strip mall, Nick’s has almost 30 TVs (they even have small TVs at each booth). Nice sports bar feel with good burgers and fries, massive bowls of tortilla soup and queso! The wait staff is way easy on the eyes.
4301 S. Bowen, South Arlington 817-467-9922 – Named for former Texas Rangers manager Bobby Valentine, V’s has more than 50 high-def TVs and one of the largest sports memorabilia collections in the Metroplex. Named one of the ten best sports bars in the country by ESPN.
Wizards Sports Cafe
747 S. Central Expy., Richardson 972-235-0371 – I frequent this bar regularly for the live music, brisket tacos, and great drink specials ($2 Crown and Down Wednesdays? Are you kidding me? I'm so there!). Tons of pool tables, dart boards, a private party room, and good (looking) bartenders!
Press Box Grill
1680 Elm St., Dallas 214-747-8226 – A 112″ HD 1080p TV and 17 flat-screens, 36 draught beers, 40 bottled beers and an award winning bar food menu. Located in the Historic Wilson Building (on the SW corner of Elm and Ervay).
The Fan Sports Lounge
2990 Olive St., Dallas 214-272-3908 – Next to AA Center. Previously “The Boardroom.” FM 105.3 “The Fan” has a broadcast booth in the bar! They have NTN Trivia and nothing on the menu is over $10.
Texan Station Sports Bar in the Gaylord Texan
1501 Gaylord Tr., Grapevine 817-778-2210 – A bit higher-end (it is in a large hotel, after all). But, they have a 50 foot TV screen. That’s right… 50 FEET!!!
Ten Sports Grill
1302 Main St., Dallas 214-748-1010 – Down town. Great (and cute) service. Tasty burgers and a comfortable atmosphere.
Hully & Mo
2800 Routh St., Dallas 214-954-0203 – Co-owners are Brett Hull and Mike Modano, of the Dallas Stars. Good food. Great, comfy cigar lounge, but take your own cigars (theirs are $$$!).
The UCLA Bruins have won the Championship an amazing eleven times, but in a single-elimination tournament underdogs can rule, and upsets are common, so don’t you get “upset” by where you watch the game.
Just narrow down the bar list to your “final four,” pick a winner, take a long tug off of that beer, settle back in your chair, and let the games begin! Take it to the Hoop!!