Sixty-eight teams will play in a single-elimination tournament for the largest prize in basketball. One will emerge as the national champion in the final game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. This year is especially memorable as it marks the 75th edition of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. While the players go through the agony and ecstasy of losing or winning, their fans across the country watch them with equal fervor in front of TVs in large sports bars that emulate reality as closely as possible.
Pippa’s Sports Café
114 South St.
Danbury, CT 06810
Pippa’s prides itself as being a place where “everyone is treated like an all-star.” With the emphasis on sports, this “hometown hash house” attracts an eclectic crowd gathering in front of its 28 televisions. Flat screens at individual booths offer full sports coverage. Locally owned, its mission is to serve up great, affordable, fresh food in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere, and a memorable game experience. Its wings, with the choice of sauces, paired with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks have been voted Danbury’s best. The menu is appropriately divided into sports categories: Warm Ups, Spring Training, Rib Cage, The Big League, Fast Break, Bull Pen, Post-Game Wrap Up, Foul Balls, Relievers, Light weights, Sweet victories, Li’l Leaguers and Extra Innings.
Bow & Arrow Sports Bar
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd.
Uncasville, CT 06382
Want to indulge your college basketball tournament obsession in pure luxury? You can do no better than the Bow & Arrow Sports Bar at Mohegan Sun Casino. It is THE place to be for ALL the games during the tournament. Catch them on one of the largest TV walls in the Northeast, with over 30 large, HD flat-screen televisions. Cheer on your teams with the $2 domestic drafts served all day, every day, and the bar menu of game-day must-haves such as nachos, sliders, pizza and multi-flavored wings. To add to the excitement, don’t forget to swipe your Player’s Club Card at the promo kiosks to win one of the weekly giveaways.
Bobby Valentine’s Sports Gallery Cafe
225 Main St.
Stamford, CT 06901
Who would know how to run the best sports bar in town better than one of Stamford’s favorite sons; a star baseball player in high school, the only three-time all-state football player in CT history, voted by Sports Illustrated as one of the best athletes from the state in the 20th century and currently the manager of the Boston Red Sox – Bobby Valentine. The list of his achievements is impressive. Decorated with sports memorabilia, it is constantly inhabited by fans. The food choices run from “warm up” cheese-topped hearty chili, chicken tenders in hot sauce, “Hall of Fame” entrées like barbecue ribs and New York strip steak. These are accompanied by the “ten innings” of salads and pizza. Bobby Valentine’s offers the best in sports, food and beverages. Keep a sharp lookout while you are there. If you are really lucky, you might come across the super star himself who might buy you a drink.
Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar
1436 Pleasant Valley Road
Manchester, CT 06042
Boston’s is a restaurant that is all about the food, the people, the atmosphere and the heritage. This sports bar with a difference is a combination of a contemporary family restaurant and a separate sports area. Hence it is an exciting, buzzing venue suitable for families and sports aficionados alike. Each venue is customized with local team memorabilia. It is a full-service casual dining restaurant with the emphasis on gourmet pizzas, pastas, wings, ribs, burgers, entree-size salads and sandwiches. The kids’ menu is delicious and fresh enough to tempt even adult appetites.
Bleachers Sports Bar & Restaurant
300 Middle St.
Bristol, CT 06010
Conveniently located close to the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, Bleachers Sports Bar & Restaurant with its 15 HD TVs with NFL Sunday Ticket and Direct TV is fully equipped for the ultimate game-day experience. Between the 22 beers on tap, great food, performances by New England’s most popular bands and the friendly and attentive staff and management, one can understand its reputation as one of Connecticut’s favorite sports bars. It’s always GAME ON and a good time at Bleachers, seven days a week.
Bina Joseph, a resident of Glastonbury, CT is a freelance writer covering all things travel-related in Connecticut.A passionate veteran of the travel industry, Bina has visited more than 40 countries, giving her a unique, global perspective. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.