The bars around the campus of the University of Cincinnati will be packed a little fuller than usual Saturday night.
The No. 19-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats football team (9-1) will take the national spotlight with an American Athletic Conference showdown at No. 11 Central Florida (9-0) at 8 p.m. Saturday on ABC (that’s WCPO -- 9 On Your Side locally). The Golden Knights have won 22 straight games, coming off a national championship season in 2017, and the winner of this game has a pretty clear path to the AAC title with just one more game left on the schedule.
Local fans who aren’t traveling to Orlando, Florida, for the sold-out game will be looking for places to congregate, and hot spots around campus and the Clifton area seem to be the places to go. Here is a list of the best bars to find fellow Bearcats fans Saturday night.
Where: 113 W. McMillan St., Clifton
Open until: 1:30 a.m.
Why go here: With over 40 beers on tap, 75-inch TVs and delicious New York-style pizza and wings, this is a great spot for those looking for a place other than the standard bar or sports grill. It’s right on campus, so it’s right around all the action -- people will be out and about to watch the game and the eatery is likely to draw a big crowd.
Brass Tap -- U Square
Where: 251 Calhoun St., Clifton
Phone: 513-242-BEER (2337)
Open until: 2 a.m.
Why go here: A festive pub offering multiple beer options, wine and TVs tuned to the game, Brass Tap is a safe bet for a good time. It offers more than 200 craft beers from around the globe in a neighborhood atmosphere.
Cock & Bull
Where: 2801 Short Vine St., Clifton
Open until: 2 a.m. (kitchen closes at 11 p.m.)
Why go there: If you’re looking to do a little bar hopping, Cock & Bull is the place to hit around or after halftime. It’ll be closed to the public until around 9 p.m. because of a private party but will open for at least the second half of the game and well afterward for postgame celebrating (or sulking). There are about 25 TVs, and Saturday night specials include $4 well shots and some secret drink offerings.
Where: 161 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks
Open until: 2:30 a.m.
Why go there: For those downtown and around The Banks, the Holy Grail is the best spot for sports fans to catch a game in a fun atmosphere. Holy Grail has more than 30 TVs and offers affordable, upscale bar cuisine with a menu featuring burgers, pizzas and sandwiches.
Keystone Bar & Grill
Where: 249 Calhoun St., Clifton
Open until: 2 a.m. Saturday
Why go here: Right across from campus, Keystone is a hopping place on weekends, especially around game time. There are 12 TVs, plenty of space and the Grill is known for its specialty skillet mac and cheese and other comfort foods. The special for Saturday night is you can get a $3 shot with any draft beer purchase.
Mac's Pizza Pub
Where: 205 W. McMillan St., Clifton
Open until: Kitchen closes at 11 p.m., bar at 2 a.m.
Why go there: Enjoy a classic pizza done right or try something new like the award-winning Chicago Gyro pizza while you watch the game. It’s a family-friendly option but a hit with the college students, too. Specials on Saturday include a $5 small pizza, $10 medium and $15 large.
Where: 2634 Short Vine St., Clifton
Open until: Kitchen closes around 11 p.m.; bar is open until 1 a.m.
Why go there: This relaxed local pizza chain, serving classic and stuffed pies, hoagies and calzones, is a great option for fans of any age, and the location in Clifton does it up on game days. Specials include $3.50 Bud Light and Budweiser aluminum bottles, $10 Absolutely Trashed Fish Bowls, $3 Jager shots, $3 Fireballs, $2 Labatt Blue and High Life bottles.
Where: 4831 Spring Grove Ave., Spring Grove Village
Open until: Midnight
Why go here: The Den Tailgate group will hold a watch party at the Brewpourium from 7:30-11:30 p.m. This lively venue features craft brews and specialty pies in an industrial-style space with plenty of room for a crowd.
The St. Clair
Where: 245 Calhoun St., Clifton
Open until: 2:30 a.m. Saturday
Why go here: Another spot on campus, The St. Clair is a big draw for UC fans, and an especially large crowd is anticipated Saturday. Specials include $3 Green Tea shots and $6 Bud Light pitchers starting at 8 p.m.