Dude! It's March this weekend! As in March Madness? Maybe you've heard of it?
Selection Sunday (March 16) for the men's NCAA basketball tournament is fast-approaching, and you're going to have so many decisions to make about Sweet Sixteens and Elite Eights and whether your love of Elvis Presley is a good enough reason to take Memphis all the way. You'll need a beer and a burger after all that paperwork. Here's where to get one:
IceHouse Sports Bar
10920 Emmet St.
If you don't get a good view of the game at the IceHouse Sports Bar, you must still be in the parking lot. More than 50 televisions stand tuned and ready for NCAA tip-offs, from a 10-foot-wide HD projection screen, to private TVs at every booth. Should the March weather be lamb-like, you can enjoy IceHouse's spacious and beloved patio, equipped with top-notch outdoor televisions and sound system.
Foodie sports fans will relish in the IceHouse menu, which features some of the freshest bar food around. Made-from-scratch pizza dough sets a tasty stage for your toppings, and the half-pound burgers are prepared fresh daily and charred up on a hickory wood-fired grill; props to the Mig Bac burger for showing its fast food counterpart how the game should be played. And no frozen wings up in here! No breading or frying either. The fresh, baked wings are a treat to behold, and a relief to your arteries.
The Blue Jay Bar & Grill
2416 Davenport St.
More blue inside than a bucket of Smurfs, the Jay televises home and away Creighton games all season long. Rooting for the home team is made all the better by the Jay's general friendliness and good humor. Its slogan alone endeared them to me at once: It's more fun to eat at a bar than to drink at a restaurant. Exactly! Food highlights include $7 all-you-can-eat chicken wings on Saturdays with 20 sauce options, and the elusive fried cheese balls (tough to find this far west of Jersey). Thursday nights, a guest chef swoops in to prepare steak dinners; get a 10-ounce sirloin and baked potato for $7.99.
Like 'em on Facebook and be privy to their near-daily posts, witty and amusing shout-outs to their beloved patrons, often offering a generous promotion for the day. A $3 pizza, eh? I can't afford not to go in and pair it with one of those Big A$$ Mugs o' beer they keep talkin' about.
9th Street Tavern and Grill
902 Dodge St.
Open since October, the 9th Street Tavern and Grill is pumped and ready for its first tournament season. With plenty of space for NCAA fans, and 27 televisions to deliver the goods, this slightly upscale sports bar is a fine choice for the dive-averse. It's attractive inside, there's a fireplace on the patio, and the menu is evolved beyond deep-fried and ranch-dipped. Not that you can't get a mess o' onion rings if you want, but you can also get house-made pesto hummus or a pizza topped with shrimp and andouille sausage. For a truly Midwestern delight, try the Runza-esque Bierocks: potato bread filled with ground beef, cabbage, onions and cheese.
It's a true Cinderella story for DJ's Dugout. From humble, Bellevue-only beginnings, DJ's has grown the past two decades to include three additional area locations (Aksarben Village, downtown and out west at 114th Street) featuring more than 50 TV screens per Dugout. DJ's has a proven record for winning over sports fans of all varieties and affiliations.
To offset the cost of all those bracket pools you entered, look to the nightly food and drink specials at DJ's to save a buck. Deals are on a weekly rotation and the same no matter which Dugout you frequent. Captain Morgan drinkers are in luck tonight — only $2! Toast to the $7.99 prime rib melt you can get Friday.