Which Bar is Best For Watching March Madness in New Orleans?

Well, my bracket is already done for. No billion dollar prize for me. I’m mad about that, and it’s March 20th, so this can only mean one thing – March Madness is here.

When Google searching for March Madness, Wikipedia asks you if you were referring to  the main part of the breeding season for the European Hare. No. Upon further investigation, Wikipedia defines the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship as a single-elimination tournament played each spring.

Still not what I mean. Well, yes, but what it really means that my friends and I have another reason to hang out in a bar, put together our brackets, and get drunk somewhere while watching college students who are likely younger than you doing things that, athletically, would kill you.

Yea, you can watch them at your house, but the best places to watch these games are at some good ole’ sports bars. You either hate ‘em or you love ‘em. One thing is certain, though – this city certainly isn’t lacking in them. So, where’s a good place to catch some of the games or a beer and a quarter during your lunch hour? Or, you know, lunch afternoon?

1) Cooter Browns

This Riverbend legend of a bar has been around since 1977, and one look inside would reaffirm that. Not that it’s nasty and falling apart at all, quite the opposite. The place just comes alive during games, and you know that every Saints win, or any win, has been celebrated there for over 35 years. Cooter Brown’s has over 400 bottled beers, 40 on tap, 17 flat screens and two 8ft. projector screens. So, are they ready to show a game and a good time? Definitely. The food’s on point, too. There aren’t many places where you can get a dozen raw oysters and THEN some fried macaroni. Be warned, though, service gets slow during busy games.  Regardless, Cooter Browns is a good bet for any game.

2) Fat Harry’s

Even the flames of Satan himself couldn’t keep one of my favorite sports bars closed. I think it was a kitchen fire, or something. Either way, Fat Harry’s is back, and better than ever with a newly renovated everything. This bar sometimes feels like more of a Baton Rouge bar, but in my opinion, that’s not bad for sports. Right on the parade route, this place has been a favorite hangout since 1971. It was my dad’s sports bar.

Also, they have shuffleboard, and who doesn’t like shuffleboard?

3) The Bulldog (also winner of our “Which Bar’s website looks the oldest contest?)

If you’re a fan of draft beer, you’d fit in well here. Featuring 50 beers on a C02 pumped tap and over 100 bottled, The Bulldog is heaven for both your beer snob friend who “wants a bold IPA but with a hint of honey” and the guy who likes to catch a game on a patio. The Bulldog’s patio has heaters, a lot of seating, a large tv, a fountain, and is dog friendly. Get yourself a punch card, if you drink all 50 beers, you get a tshirt and your name on a plaque. Like I need another reason to drink 50 beers.

4) Tracey’s

A look inside Tracey's.<br />[<a href="https://twitter.com/TraceysNola/media">Photo Credit</a>]When Tracey’s (then Parasols)  moved from down Thirds street to their new location on Third and Magazine, they created a bitter po’ boy rivalry the likes that have never been seen in New Orleans. Whatever you think about either restaurant, though, it’s no question who wins in the sports bar category.

It didn’t take long for Tracey’s to establish themselves as THE sports bar in the Irish Channel. There might not be one place in the building where you can’t see a TV, which is always a plus at a sports bar. Sit down, Get a roast beef po’ boy with some gravy fries, and a beer and watch the games with some friends. Or by yourself. Whatever floats your boat.

5) Finn McCool’s

I’m putting soccer on hold for a second, which is usually why I would go to Finn McCool’s (at 6am for World Cup games, somehow). While it’s more of a pub scene and less of a sports bar, they’ll no doubt be playing the games, and what better company to watch them in? Finn McCool’s was named best neighborhood bar by Gambit on top of numerous “best bartender” awards. It’s a Mid-City staple.

6) The Rusty Nail

It kind of kills me a little on the inside to name this one. I’m a pretty big LSU fan, and The Rusty Nail is, some would say, a Bama bar. Despite our major differences and education level (kidding), The Rusty Nail is a serious sports bar. Nestled between the Warehouse District and the LGD, this place has a great atmosphere. Their bar is fully stocked with anything you want, and their patio atmosphere is awesome.

So, now that my bracket is out, I’ll be fully committed to drinking. Find me at any of these six places, and you win a prize. Not really.

About Eric

Eric is a New Orleans native and graduate of Loyola. He grew up in Kenner and is embarrassed to tell you that. He lives Uptown and frequents local watering holes to socialize with peers. His hobbies include writing, making bad jokes, and casually observing the day to day life of New Orleans.

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