Can you feel that? There’s something in the air, and it’s contagious! It’s called March Madness, and if you spend a good amount in time in Lawrence (where the game grew up), you’re sure to catch it. Not to fear, the symptoms aren’t so bad if you don’t mind high-fives with strangers, outbursts at the TV, or the possibility of developing new superstitions.
With the Kansas Men’s Basketball team ending the regular season at the top of the AP and USA Today Coaches polls, and senior guard, Frank Mason, raking in the National Player of the Year awards, the Madness is spreading rapidly amongst Kansas basketball fans.
We all know that the best place to watch a college basketball game is live at Allen Fieldhouse, but since that’s not an option in post-season play, we’ve identified some of the best places in town to watch the game. Rock Chalk!
Johnny’s Tavern North (the original) has been serving up tradition since 1953. If you’re watching the late games, take advantage of this special: single-topping slices of their New York style pizza is only $2 after 9:00 PM every night of the week. All Johnny’s locations are official watch party spots for the KU Alumni. Fans love the great food and drink specials and festive atmosphere at the West location as well. The “grown up” Johnny’s is a favorite for locals on game days. One reason why – there’s not a bad seat in the house. 26 high-def TVs will be tuned in to the Madness.
23rd Street Brewery is a full service brewpub with daily food and drink specials. By the menu, you can tell they have love for KU. A pasta dish called “The Bill Self” is a hit, and tops made-from-scratch mac & cheese with buffalo chicken tenders. The award-winning beers that brew master Russell Brickell are brewing up are mouthwatering. The “Crimson Phog” is a 2007 G.A.B.F. Silver Medal Winner in the “Irish Style Red Ale” category. Bonus: New 4K TVs and projector have been installed just in time for the fun.
Set‘em Up Jacks is a sports fans dream. First of all, they have a “big freakin’ screen” – it’s 22’ tall! Seven more 10’ screens and several TV’s are strategic placed throughout the sports bar for the best viewing experience. Serving everything from wings and burgers to steaks and salads, there extensive menu has something for everyone. Be sure to check out their daily food and drink specials.
The Wagon Wheel is a KU Institution and a favorite for alumni and students. It’s been named one of the best college bars in the nation for the food, drink and atmosphere. It’s one of the few places you can watch the game outdoors, and if you so choose you can sign your name on the bar with a sharpie and no one will get mad. If you want a seat for the game you will have to get their early, and if you get their early you may as well order the famous Wang Burger – it’s only served during the day. Pizza is served after 5:00 PM.
Henry T’s is another local game day favorite. Partially due to the wings – some say they are the best in town. A new daily special gets you a free order of pretzel bites with beer cheese when you order a Yankee Tank Pint or Gusta (good Monday – Friday, 1PM-5PM). Perfect timing I’d say.
Watch the Jayhawks on the biggest, brightest screen in town. Liberty Hall, an historic downtown theatre, will present all of KU’s tournament games in 2K Digital HD and Dolby Digital audio. It’s free to enter. You must be 21+ and have your ID to get in. A cash bar is available.
Basketball and barbecue are a great combination, and Bigg’s BBQ is serving up both! Their BBQ has been voted the “Best in Lawrence” for nine years straight. The ribs are a favorite, and they are on special on Thursdays. They often do game day drink specials in addition to their weekly specials.
Jefferson’s in downtown and west Lawrence is another contender for the best wings in town. There are 19 signature wing sauces to choose from ranging from the super mild teriyaki to the crazy hot “afterburner. The Monday-Friday 3PM-6PM Happy Hour specials are perfect for game day and include nice drink specials and ½ off fried pickles (another local favorite).