March Madness brings the inner college basketball fan out in everyone. Some pick their teams off facts, figures and in-depth knowledge about the game, while others use the ultra-scientific approach of which mascot would win in a fight.
(By the way, if you’re ever asked on Jeopardy, a Blue Devil will totally beat a Bulldog, see the 2010 bracket for proof.)
While March Madness makes for a fun office pool, unless you work at Lehman Brothers, the true action is in Las Vegas. This year’s tournament runs from March 16-April and with games played on St. Patrick’s Day the specials and parties have never been better.
Your first stop, no matter if you come before the tournament starts or the day of the national championship, should be a sports book. Most sports books will offer a bracket challenge, similar to your office pool, but with higher stakes. Of course, you’ll also be able to wager on individual games to keep things interesting no matter how bad your bracket looks.
As far as places to pull up a chair and get a beer or two, here’s a list of some of the best:
Pub at Monte Carlo
With more than 70 beers on tap, guests can drink one style of beer per game and still have more to explore. Pub-style food and high-definition TVs throughout make this spot worthy of becoming your March Madness headquarters.
SKYBOX Sports Bar and Grill
Conveniently located within Aria’s Race and Sports Book, basketball fans can grab classic American bar food along with 12 beers on tap.
Rock & Rita’s
This party bar serves up some of the best bar food in town, with Fry Mountain (fries loaded with bacon, chili and of course, cheese) or a burger called The Ulcerator (with smoked ham, fried onion strings, jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and Butt Burnin’ Blaze Sauce) on the menu. Additionally, every bartender here is a flair bartender, meaning there’s a show put on for just about every drink ordered. Games will be shown on 22 TVs throughout as well as two large video walls and three projector screens.
Sporting House Bar & Grill
The décor hasn’t changed since it was ESPN Zone, which means it’s still littered with TVs everywhere. The 130 HD TVs will be more than enough to watch all 68 teams attempt to drive toward the Final Four and a national championship.
The hotel introduces its $525,000 Bracket Challenge Giveaway from March 16-19 where guests can “play to play.” Guests who are M life members (MGM Resorts rewards program) can earn drawing tickets by placing bets on certain games including blackjack, craps, roulette and in the sports book.
The drawing will take place on March 19 where 16 winners will be chosen to participate in a blackjack tournament, playing for a total of $525,000 in prize money. Participants must be 21 years or older.
If you’re traveling to Vegas with a group of 10 or more, Strip House has the March Madness package for you. The group can grab its own private room to watch the game, a three-course prix fixe menu and open bar for two hours. The package is $125 per person.
Rockhouse Bar & Nightclub
Catch all the action dive bar-style at Rockhouse where the games will be show on 28 big screens. Rockhouse recommends games be enjoyed with an 80-ounce souvenir guitar cup of draft beer or frozen daiquiri for $35.
Carlos Fuente Jr., the fourth generation of the Arturo Fuente cigar family, comes to Vegas to watch the NCAA basketball tournament March 19 with cigar lovers. Fuente will be on hand from 3-6 p.m. Guests can enjoy a Fuente Fuente OpusX Perfecxion No. 5 paired with any specialty cocktail for $30, $25 Bushmills Whiskey flights and $5 Heinekens.
From March 17-19 college basketball fans will be able to take in all the games on a complete 360-degree viewing area. ROK Vegas will show the games on its state-of-the-art screen inside the venue and on its massive plasma TVs outside. Entry is free and there will be two-for-one cocktails and beer specials, $20 Absolut pitchers and $15 beer buckets.
Crazy Horse III
The ladies welcome March Madness with free admission and drink specials during the semifinals match-ups. Things heat up during the Final Four, where guests can indulge on $3 draft beer, $20 buckets of Budweiser and Bud Light and $5 Stoli Vodka shots. Patrons sporting their team’s jersey will get their first drink free.
PBR Rock Bar
Don’t miss a moment with 105 HDTVs at PBR, where every game will be shown through the national championship. Fans wearing their team’s jersey will get a free shot created especially for the tournament. Additionally, all fans can grab draft beers for $3 from 3-6 p.m. every day of the tournament.