March Madness is here, and you can just smell it in the air (“it” of course, refers to the smell of fear sweat rising off the nation’s children as they get their first exposure to Ernie doll come to life, Dick Vitale). If you don’t have an office job, you’re going to want to get the tournament off to the right start and pretend to desperately care about Southern Miss versus Kansas State. So why not check out any one of these five bars that open before the noon tipoff today and tomorrow and have glorious, glorious television? Also, Duke sucks.
The Brazen Head
228 Atlantic Avenue, Cobble Hill
In basketball, making a “bucket” refers to scoring a basket. At The Brazen Head, making a “bucket” refers to getting five PBRs for $12. While the basketball one can make you feel more accomplished, let’s face it: you’re way more likely to finish a bucket of beers than make even a layup. Don’t worry though, you won’t be the only one watching the tournament that had their dreams of playing in it dashed against the rocks. The bar has several TVs to catch the action on, and offers free wifi so you can pretend to get some work done there too.
The Turkey’s Nest
94 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
This is just a great place to watch sports. I watched last year’s Stanley Cup Finals prelude-to-a-riot Game 7 and one of the women kept telling her drinking companion that Vancouver’s stadium was still full after their loss “because they respect the Cup.” Of course, I’d say crazy shit like that too if I’d been drinking 32 oz. beers for $4 or $10 (strong) margaritas all day. You can’t take the drinks out with you anymore, but since the whole point is to sit inside and watch college athletes make their schools rich, why would you want to? You’ll probably even see someone play defense, which if you’re a Knick fan, you might not recognize.
1048 Bedford Ave., Bed-Stuy
I’m loath to recommend Black Swan, because last time I was there I had to watch the Giants advance in the playoffs. The time before that I got hit by a car after I left. So while my history there isn’t great, the cheap drinks — $4 premium drafts and wine, $4 well drinks and $3 shots for their 11:30am -8pm happy hour — and promise of Montana/Wisconsin on a flatscreen is pretty great. Not to mention a menu with choices like chili fries and a burger covered in caramelized onions means you can eat like you’re back in college. Plus, for the later games, you can get $4 margaritas from 6-8pm. Here be free wifi too.
773 Coney Island Ave., Ditmas Park
The bartender told me that the bar would be showing as many games as they could get tomorrow. That, combined with the high old man quotient at the bar means only one thing: bankrupting yourself with prop bets. It’ll be easier than you think once you put away a couple $4 Sixpoints. And fellas, after you’re done, might I suggest stopping in at Sycamore to get some flowers for your girlfriend. Between this and fantasy baseball right around the corner, she’s about to be subjected to the least interesting aspects of the modern male existence outside of a Todd Phillips movie.
82 Fourth Ave., Park Slope
They love Cal and other west coast teams so much here that the bar is opening early (noon) to catch all the games. They’ve got a flat-screen and a big projector screen, plus free wifi so you can continue pretending to do work while constantly checking all your online brackets.
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