With so many colleges that have great sports teams around Cincinnati, local folks have a lot to cheer for. March Madness might be the busiest time of year — many local teams usually make the bracket, including University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, University of Dayton and University of Kentucky — but all year-round, people need great sports bars to grab a bite of food and a few drinks while they watch their favorite teams on the big screens.
Here are WCPO's Top 9 picks for the best sports bars for March Madness in Cincinnati.
Lachey's (Over-the-Rhine): UC fan? This is the place for you. Heck, it's even black and red. Lachey's has delicious bar food (Buffalo chicken dip, anyone?), craft cocktails and drink specials, as well as an entire wall of televisions. Best part? Drew Lachey (co-owner of the bar with brother Nick) turns the TV volume up and the music down during key games.
Rhinehaus (Over-the-Rhine): Although it's known for being a soccer bar, Rhinehaus is happy to oblige basketball fans during March Madness. This place is for craft beer drinking fans, with 16 rotating taps and a lot of bottled beers to choose from. There's no food, but Lucy Blue's, Gomez Salsa and Goodfellas Pizza are right around the corner if you get hungry.
Knockback Nat's (Downtown): Knockback Nat's has some of the best wings in town. They're smoked, sauced and meaty, and available from open to close. You can eat those wings in front of TVs with a bottled beer or cocktail. Not into wings? Try Knockback Nat's nachos, a burger or local favorite Hanky Panks.
Dana Gardens (Evanston): For over 80 years, Dana Gardens has been the Xavier bar. Students sign their names all over the bar (from ceiling to floor!) to commemorate their time at XU -- and during March Madness there's no better place to watch games than this bar filled with alumni and students alike. Try a Herschel's Special, and don't forget the wings and grilled mac-and-cheese bites.
O'Bryon's (O'Bryonville): The classic Xavier bar in O'Bryonville, O'Bryon's is a great place to celebrate with Xavier students and Xavier alumni. Try an O'Bryon's burger (barbecue sauce, pepper jack, an onion ring and jalapenos) or the "pig wings." Bonus: There's a rooftop patio for when you want to escape the game (or just get some fresh air).
Catskellar (Clifton): The Catskellar couldn't be any more Bearcat, with its UC campus location next to Nippert Stadium in Tangeman University Center. The menu is basic: wings, pretzels, hot dogs and pizza. But there's a surprising craft beer menu ranging from lagers and pilsners to fruit beers, including some gluten-free selections. If UC is playing, you can bet this place will be packed.
Dickmann's (Fort Wright): If you're a UK fan (C-A-T-S ... ) this is the place to root for your team during March Madness. Grab a Bud or a craft beer and sit down to watch UK -- trust us, they will never change the channel to another game. Dickmann's has wings (in orders from five to 25), burgers and pizza -- everything you need to settle down for the tourney.
Longnecks (Wilder): Another great place for UK fans, Longnecks is everything you want in a sports bar: lots of cold beer (bottled, canned and draft) and plenty of great bar grub. Try the Longnecks Sampler featuring your choice of four appetizers, from local classics like Hanky Pankies to bar favorites like fried pickles and cheesy fries.
Holy Grail (The Banks and West): Holy Grail's multiple locations are a sports fan's Mecca, with a ton of screens, a good selection of beers and delicious snacks (the Reuben Wontons are a personal favorite).
Bonus: Milano's (West Chester): Any time there is a University of Dayton game, you can bet that Milano's will be packed. UD alumni are familiar with the Dayton location's subs (with house-made bread) and pizzas and flock to this slightly closer version of their college experience for every game. Try a CSP sub (capicola, salami and provolone) or a BBQ chicken pizza -- if you can't make it up to UD for First Four, this is almost as good.
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