College rivalries are strong in Charlotte, where alumni from schools all over the nation come to find jobs. Not much work gets done during March however, as the annual college basketball tournament strikes and one tournament after another tempts otherwise hard-working types to lengthen lunch hour into an afternoon watching round ball at a local bar. The city has numerous sports bars ready for the game, from local chains such as Hickory Tavern and the Fox and Hound with locations all over the region, to neighborhood spots where the bartender knows how hot you like your wings. Choose your bar, fill out your bracket, and may luck be ever in your court.
BlackFinn American Saloon
210 E. Trade St., Suite 120-B
Charlotte, NC 28202
Among the many fine spots to watch sports in the EpiCentre, including Strike City, Fleming’s and Whisky River, BlackFinn’s stands out as a favorite with well-heeled graduates of NCAA schools who work in the towers uptown. The location couldn’t be more convenient and dozens of flat-screen TVs plus a high-tech sound system ensure every seat provides great game coverage in both the Pub and the second-floor saloon. Weekday lunch specials here are a bargain and, on game days, a selection of bar food and inexpensive beer is available. As afternoon games give way to evening matches, check out the menu of classic cocktails and huge list of draft beers, burgers dressed to impress and flatbreads big enough to share.
Dilworth Neighborhood Grille
911 E. Morehead St., Suite 200
Charlotte, NC 28204
This popular spot on Morehead is a local favorite with college fans for watching the all the game action. Sixteen new 55-inch TV screens put you on the court for every play. For the 2013 College Basketball Tournament, the grille introduces a new menu with baby back ribs, fish and shrimp tacos, blackened chicken nachos, pretzel roll sandwiches, flatbreads and more. Local beers on draft are the beverage of choice, offered at some of the best prices in town. Sit back, relax and enjoy the game without the sticker shock.
Icehouse South End
2100 South Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Located in the former South End Brewery in the Atherton Mill complex, this huge club has plenty of room for college rivalries to simmer. Twenty huge screens keep the action in focus, while patrons enjoy a selection of over 200 beers and an all-American menu of wings, sliders, burgers, wood-oven pizzas and Southwestern specialties. You can play billiards without missing any of the games in the upstairs loft equipped with its own TVs. If the action gets too hot, step outside onto the huge patio, with over 100 seats and free WiFi.
Kennedy’s Premium Bar And Grill
366 N. Caswell St.
Charlotte, NC 28204
The 2013 College Basketball Tournament coincides with spring in Charlotte, and who wants to be cooped up in a dark sports bar when the weather gets awesome? Kennedy’s in Elizabeth provides the perfect solution. Its multi-level, climate-controlled patio is equipped with big screen TVs visible from every angle. More TVs occupy every wall inside, both upstairs and down. Daily drink specials, including $2.50 PBRs and $5 car bombs, help your wallet handle even the longest overtime game.
Kristophers Sports Bar And Restaurant
250 N. Trade St.
Matthews, NC 28105
Located in downtown Matthews, Kristophers has been welcoming sports fans for over 25 years. More than 60 flat-screen TVs are tuned to the game action and free WiFi lets you follow along online. Pizza, wings, burgers and barbecue are the hot menu items here. The bar features a variety of beers, cocktails, shots and bombs on special every day.
With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.