March Madness begins this week, and you don’t live near your alma mater anymore — so where are you going to join your fellow alumni to cheer for your college team? Denver boasts bars all around the city for almost every college team you want to root for — or against. Here are ten places to catch the March Madness action.
Let’s start with last year’s champions, number-two seeded University of North Carolina. Don’s Club Tavern (723 East Sixth Avenue) is an all-around sports bar where you can find almost any game at any time. But more important, it's a favorite for UNC alumni who often congregate for games. Die-hard Tar Heels fans can also be found at the Blake Street Tavern (2301 Blake Street), which is home to the Denver Carolina Club.
Last year’s runner-up, Gonzaga (a four seed this year), also has a bar to call home in Denver. The Pub on Pearl (1101 South Pearl Street) has the blue-and-gold flag hanging on the wall. It’s also an Iowa bar, so do be careful (although Iowa's not in the tournament this year, so you're probably safe). If you happen to stop by on a Thursday, belly up to the bar for $6 all-you-can-eat wings; the deal starts at 5 p.m., so get there early. Add in $3.50 well drinks and $4 shots for a fun and cheap night out.
UCLA has won the most NCAA men's basketball titles since the tournament's inception in 1939, but it's only seeded at eleven this year and is part of the "first four" play-in round on Tuesday, March 13. If you’re looking to cheer on the Bruins, head to the Irish Snug (1201 East Colfax Avenue) in Capitol Hill, where you can enjoy one of many sandwiches on the menu or play it smart by ordering a bunch of appetizers. From Brussels sprouts to poutine, there's a lot to share (or not) with your friends.
The University of Kansas is another all-time favorite contender and a number-one seed this year. In Denver, Stoney’s Bar & Grill (1111 Lincoln Street) is the place to cheer on all things Jayhawk. The bar is huge and often hosts Kansas-specific events; go to Stoney's Facebook page to get details, including information on times and specials ahead of the big game.
The Blake Street Tavern (2301 Blake Street) never disappoints sports fans. There are approximately one million televisions (well, dozens, at least) with all the important games, plus most other sporting events available on request. It’s a common haunt for many die-hard fans from many different teams, so no matter whom you root for, you’re likely to find a comrade here.
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If you're a fan of multiple teams and want to watch several games at once, Govnr’s Park (672 Logan Street) and Punch Bowl Social (65 Broadway) are your best bets. Both bars have previously been recognized as the best March Madness bars in the city. Punch Bowl Social also boasts ping-pong, bowling and karaoke (among other diversions) for friends who want to hang out but don’t care about the hoops.
If you're a Baylor or Clemson alum or fan, the Tavern Downtown (1949 Market Street) serves as official headquarters for both. The Tavern also has its own bracket competition, with events starting Tuesday, March 13, so you can create your own March Madness bracket. Bring your friends every weekend to toast your incredible bracket, or hang out on the spacious roof deck and pray for better luck next year.
The University of Connecticut's men's basketball team is missing out on March Madness this year, though the women's team is as strong as ever. UConn fans often gather for big games at the West End Tap House (3945 Tennyson Street), where Taco Tuesday specials and great burgers can be found; just leave room for the Belgian fries and ten different dipping sauces. Show up to cheer on the Huskies women's team when post-season play begins this weekend (UConn's first game is Saturday, March 17), or just come by to watch men's tournament games while rooting for a loss by division rival Cincinnati.
Correction: This story has been corrected to note that Stoney's is a University of Kansas hangout. Our apologies for the error....and go Jayhawks!