The second week of March marks the beginning of “March Madness.” It is a time for colleges to flex their muscles, doctors to recommend surgeries, and for bars to open their doors for college basketball fans to come a-running. The NCAA tournament includes 64 teams total for a wrap up in Houston with the Final Four on April 2nd and 4th.
Beer drinkers across the nation witness an increase in bar business over the next few weeks as a result of the “Madness”. This can be good, or it could be annoying depending on what you desire from an establishment in a given night. No one wants to go down to their local watering hole in hopes of sitting at the bar and enjoying one frosty beverage with your favorite bartender only to find it as crowded as Lower Downtown during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations or the Rockies home opener. Thus, I offer you a guide.
It is a guide that can answer any questions you may have about what to expect over the next few weeks among the bars and possibly the atmosphere of each. More importantly, a guide for the four types of March Madness sports fans:
The “I don’t care about the games but this sure is a great party” fan
This fan is only interested in seeing how many people can fit inside the bar, with no care as to watching any of the games. This fan is like the Super Bowl fan that goes to the Super Bowl party to socialize and watch the commercials. These fans want to see how many light domestic pitchers they can drink over the span of the games, and then stumble out of the bar afterwards. This may be a recent graduate that still hasn’t learned how to hold their liquor, and is not too familiar with microbreweries or craft beer because “the Bud Light tastes and works just fine.”
Favorite beverages: Any domestics with the occasional Jager-bomb.
You may find this fan at (or try to avoid by not going to): LoDo’s, the Downtown Tavern, Sports Column, Choppers, Wynkoop or anywhere near Coors Field.
The “I didn’t realize March Madness was going on and I’d rather it not even be being played” fan
The “IDRMMWGO&IRINEBBP” fan is the opposite of the “I don’t care about the games but this sure is a great party” fan. They should avoid the Lower Downtown area at all costs. Suggested places to enjoy a beverage during these times are any bar that doesn’t have a television.
Favorite beverages: A stout, a barleywine, or sipping on scotch while grouching about the music on the juke box. It’s ok, I get it, March Madness isn’t your thing.
You may find this fan at: The Skylark, Cheeky Monk, The Thin Man, Sputnik, The Walnut Room, My Brother’s Bar, Vine Street Pub, (or anywhere without a tv).
The “I filled out a bracket so I’m somewhat interested in the game” fan
This fan is a fan of college basketball and their favorite team may be playing in it in hopes of reaching the Sweet 16. They want to enjoy the game with not all of the hooting and hollering that would go on at the “I don’t care about the games but this sure is a great party” fan’s bar. They sip their beer much slower than the IDCATGBTSIAGP because their goal is to make it for the long run.
Favorite beverages: Pale Ale, Amber Ale, A sessionable IPA, or Saison
You may find this fan at: Barry’s, Dougherty’s, Pearl Street Grill, Wazee Supper Club, Uptown Tavern, Hanson’s, Gov’s Park, The Spot, Falling Rock Tap House.
The die-hard “I want to watch almost every minute of this game, with audio if possible” fan
While growing up a Kansas Jayhawk fan and attending school there, it is hard to stay away from the die-hard scene that comes with March Madness and the tradition of the school’s basketball program. For many other alumni from Kansas and dozens of other top programs, it is very important to pay attention to the game, and that requires having the volume turned up in many cases. Personally, I want everything to be just right. From my view of the television, who I’m watching the game with, to what I’ll be snacking on and drinking…, everything needs to be just right for this self declared “borderline crazy” fan.
Favorite Beverages: To each their own. No time to try something new here. Go with your “ol’ reliable”. And if your team wins- whiskey shots.
You may find these fans at: The comfort of their own home or their favorite dive bar where they can convince the bartenders to turn up the volume.
And so it begins Thursday morning. Choose your drink and brewpub wisely. I’ll be watching the games sipping on some sort of beer from the Boulevard Smokestack series (Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, a personal favorite although the Chocolate Ale has been raved about). Enjoy the moment if your team wins it all. Drink champagne and smoke cigars. But above all enjoy the madness, sports and beer fans!!!
[Brent is a Kansas graduate and Denver transplant who loves sports. And fine microbrews. And mopeds.]