March Madness in the Queen City

Today is Selection Sunday, which means March Madness (or Sadness if your team isn't dancing) is upon us! Houses are divided and claws are coming out. It’s the time of year when women who typically could not care less about basketball find themselves filling out brackets, wagering money and spending their Friday nights at the local sports bar. I’m guilty as charged. The only time I watch games during the regular season is when my Wolfpack is playing or Duke/Carolina is on…but there’s something about this particular month. I’m watching teams I’ve never heard of and pulling for the Cinderella stories (and of course, following the Pack’s every game).

I moved to Charlotte in February of last year. Just in time to find the perfect spots to take in games, so I figured I’d help the Queen City ladies out and talk about a few of my favorites.
1.     All American Pub in Southend is always hopping and provides a bustling atmosphere for any sporting event really. The pretzels are phenom and for you single ladies, it’s a major dude hangout. Bonus points for being able to walk from All American to several other cool spots in Southend. 

2.     Leroy Fox has some of the best pub food in Charlotte and the cocktails are to die for. The reason it made #2 on my list, you ask? It’s an NC STATE owned and operated bar! Cue the fight song—We’reeeeeee the red and white from State...sorry I couldn’t help myself. Located in Cotswold, this one’s kind of off the beaten path for those that live in or around Uptown but it’s a quick uber so check it out.
3.    Selwyn Pub. If the weather’s nice, this is the place to go for outdoor game viewing.  The retired frat boys that frequent the bar are always fun to party with and the patio + the seared tuna wrap are the bomb. Only negative, you have to leave your pups at home, no dogs allowed.

4.     Jackalope Jacks in Elizabeth is another favorite of mine. If you get sick of watching sports, you can play Photo Hunt and sing karaoke! This makes my ADD heart happy. If you come out on the right night, you might even get to experience me and Caroline performing our go-to “Black Velvet” and bringing the house down (in our own minds).

5.     This next one is on my list because it’s my boyfriend’s favorite. Since it does have a pretty killer skyline view from its patio, I’ll give it to him. Hickory Tavern in Midtown is loaded with TVs both inside and out and serves up some really good salads if you’re looking to save some calories for the brews you’ll be throwing back. It’s centrally located and an easy cab to any part of the city you wish to venture to after the games are over. 

6.     If the Epicentre is your scene, then try Blackfinn to pre-game and cheer on your team. It’s all about location, after all. As far as food goes, I love their flatbreads and you’ll have access to a million other places should you get bored with basketball. 

7.     Ten Park Lanes on Montford is a fun and creative spot to take in some games. They’ve got a long list of craft beers and good food.  Not to mention, you can throw on some bowling shoes and roll a few strikes to impress the boys while you’re there. 
8.     Angry Ales, also on Montford, is an old standby of mine. I’ve been hitting up their patio since 2007 and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. For super cheap beer, good snacks and a place you can bring your pooch, there’s no better.

9.     Looking for a brewery that doubles as a sports bar? Look no further than Heist in NoDa. Heist has a great patio with outdoor TVs and big screens inside. Their eclectic, gastropub-style tapas are way better than your typical “bar food” and if you’re not a beer person, they have fabulous cocktails too. Word to the wise, get there early. The place gets packed.
10.  Last but not least, and because I am a NoDa enthusiast and I’m not ashamed to show it, checkout Solstice Tavern! It’s a little divey on the inside, which is A-Ok with me because they always have cheap drink specials. They boast one of the largest patios in NoDa and they’re dog friendly—sign me (and my Boxer, Bella) up!  Plus, when the games are over there are plenty of other bars within walking distance to hang at for the rest of the night.

There you have it. You will, without a doubt, find me at one of those places this month. So come over and say hi…but only if you’re wearing red! 😉


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