Basketball fever in full swing in Vegas

March is the time of the year when everyone’s excited about the big men’s college basketball tournament and there’s nowhere more exciting than Las Vegas to watch all of the action. This year’s tournament runs from March 19 – April 8 and bars and hotels all around town will be celebrating with food and drink specials and viewing parties.

Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall & Bar-B-Que, the sports book, Breeze Bar and Mojito Bar at Seafood Shack, all located inside Treasure Island, will offer drink specials to celebrate the tournament March 21 – 24. Enjoy “Deer & Beer” – a shot of Jager and a Corona for $9. Shots of Michael Collins Irish Whiskey, Jagermeister or American Harvest Organic Vodka are $5. Get a bucket of four Coronas for $20 or a bucket of four Bud or Bud Lights for $15.

Señor Frog's Loco Platter

Señor Frog’s Las Vegas at Treasure Island will be home to March hoops with prime viewing and specials March 19 –  April 8. Sports enthusiasts will cheer on their favorite team while devouring the “Loco Platter,” complete with sliders, onion rings and wings, priced at $25. Miller Lite beer buckets with five bottled beers, also priced at $25, will be available to fans while watching the games on any of the bar’s numerous high-definition televisions and giant projection screens. Every seat will offer prime viewing of the games with tiered seating to span the venue’s upstairs area.

Crazy Horse III will offer college basketball fanatics a special throughout the entire tournament from Tuesday, March 19, through Monday, April 8. During every game, basketball enthusiasts can enjoy $5 Crown Royal cocktails and buckets of four Budweiser and Bud Light bottles, priced at $20.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas gives fans the opportunity to watch the games in a luxury setting. Hoops & Hops will be open March 21 – 24 from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily inside The Cosmopolitan’s Brera Ballroom (Level 3 West Tower). The four-day event will cater to every whim a basketball fan could desire. The venue will be centered around a large sports bar and surrounded by HD screens for premium viewing opportunities. Emulating a live sporting event, the space will feature concession stands with special selections from The Cosmopolitan’s restaurants as well as unique cocktails. Fans can shoot hoops on the court or place bets at one of several satellite betting stations.

Guests must be 21 or older to purchase tickets. General admission tickets are $40 and include two complimentary cocktails, access to a lounge with on-site betting, and the perfect vantage point for every game. VIP admission includes an upgraded lounge area and seating to enjoy all the amenities, as well as complimentary cocktails for $125 per day. Private Pod entry is ideal for groups of eight to 10 people and includes a private lounge area with a TV, control over which games are shown, and complimentary cocktails for $1,500 per day.

The Deuce Lounge at Aria will be broadcasting all of the games (with the exception of April 6) with a stadium set up for viewing on the 50-, 60- and 103-inch TVs. On March 21 and 22 there will be a buffet in the lounge with a $50 cover.

The South Point Grand Ballroom will transform into “Hoops Heaven” March 21 – 23, kicking off the tournament. Guests will have the ultimate spot in Las Vegas to watch college basketball as South Point offers the opportunity to view every game simultaneously, on-site wagering stations and free chair massages. Throughout the tournament, guests can enjoy a variety of food and drink specials, including $16 buckets of Budweiser beers; $4 Crown Royal, Smirnoff, Cuervo and Bailey’s cocktails. Adding to the excitement, guests will have the opportunity to go head-to-head against former NCAA and NBA stars in the “Celebrity Free Throw Contest” on the Findlay Free Throw Court. All viewing parties are free and open to the public. All guests must be 21 or older.

Public House Las Vegas at Luxor will host viewing parties during the tournament featuring food and drink specials Tuesday, March 19 through Monday, April 8. Fans will enjoy The Mad Platter, an appetizer sampler ideal for groups of three and priced at $75. The platter includes kettle chip nachos piled high with beer braised short ribs and gouda fondue, chicken wings, mac ‘n’ cheese squares, cheesesteak spring rolls and jumbo onion rings served with an array of house-made sauces. Sports enthusiasts can also indulge in $25 buckets of wings made with their choice of Old Bay seasoning, BBQ, Buffalo or sweet Thai chili sauces and served with bleu cheese dip. To quench the thirst, buckets of five Bud Light or Coors Light beers will be available for $25, Jagermeister shots for $5 and JagerBombs for $8. With 27 high-definition televisions and a wall of televisions measuring 6 feet by 14 feet above the bar, Public House offers prime viewing for the games.

To kick-off the big college basketball tournament, Meatball Spot at Town Square Las Vegas will offer tasty Balls and Beer specials. Groups of four can share a meatball sampler, which includes 12 meatballs and sauces of their choice and a pitcher of draft beer, priced at $49.95. Game-watchers may also indulge in additional pitchers of beers, priced at $14.95 throughout their meal. For those that want the classic taste of spicy Buffalo wings, the popular eatery will debut Buffalo chicken meatballs, stuffed with bleu cheese and smothered in hot Buffalo sauce.

El Cortez will host a viewing party for the tournament in its Fiesta Room March 21 – 23. The party is open to the public each day during the following times: Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday, March 23, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Guests can enjoy every game while taking advantage of a special viewing party menu that will feature $1 Budweiser drafts and $1 hot dogs and $2 brats. Additional stadium-style fare will also be available.

The Fremont Street Experience celebrates basketball fever with its Downtown Hoopstown event through March 31. See the world’s largest bracket on the Viva Vision screen and catch stage shows from the Hardwood Hotties. There will also be an interactive area where you can test your skills at 20-foot, 25-foot and 30-foot hoops.

Rhumbar at The Mirage will host tournament tailgate parties featuring drink specials March 21 – 24. Rhumbar’s patio and multiple high-definition televisions will create a high-energy outdoor hangout to catch all of the tournament action. Fans can cool down with $6 bloody Marys and margaritas, $5 Coors Light bottles and $25 Coors Light buckets. Tailgate fare will be available including pulled pork or chicken sliders, nachos, chili dogs and hot dogs. Chorizo and egg burritos also will be served on Thursday and Friday beginning at 9 a.m. while supplies last. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to the start of the day’s first game.

From March 19 – April 8, count down to the final match-ups with food and drink specials at Hussong’s Cantina and Slice of Vegas at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place. Enjoy $25 beer towers of Dos Equis Ambar or Lager at Hussong’s Cantina. Refuel on Hussong’s Baja 1000 Sub with roasted tomato mayo, ham, grilled Portuguese sausage, fried queso Oaxaca, chilaquiles, tomato, red onions, grilled pineapple, guacamole and lettuce for $16 and top it off with $2.75 bottles of Dos Equis. At Slice of Vegas, Stella beer towers will be flowing for $25. Build your own pizza and celebrate your wins at the bar with $15 buckets of Bud and Bud Light, $5 bottles of New Castle, and $6 pints of Strongbow.

Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower will host the ultimate viewing party, March BBall Tournament HQ, from March 21 – 24 inside the recently remodeled Stratosphere Theater. March BBall Tournament HQ has nine huge theater-style screens featuring all the best games and unobstructed views. The party will be open to the public 21 years and older and admission is free. Food specials will include $3 and $6 breakfast items from  8 a.m. – 11 a.m. and a barbecue sandwich action station that will open at 11 a.m. Guests will also enjoy $5 pitchers of Budweiser and Bud Light, a cash bar, live betting stations and live blackjack games. Free wi-fi is also provided, so guests are encouraged to bring their laptops.

The Silverton Casino Hotel is offering food and drink deals at venues throughout the property during every televised tournament game. All bars will serve $4 PBR pitchers; $12 buckets of six Corona or Corona Lights; $2 Modelo Especials and Jager shots; and $3 Skyy vodka cocktails. Food specials inside the Mermaid Lounge include $2 roasted vegetable pizza, classic tomato and mozzarella pizza and pepperoni and mushroom pizza. At Shady Grove Lounge, enjoy $2 chili cheese dogs, slaw dogs or BBQ dogs. Mi Casa Grill Cantina is offering $2 crispy chicken tacos, beef taquitos, jalapeno bottle caps, crispy quesadillas or Chihuahua dogs; $4 nachos or bean dip and $6 honey chipotle hot wings.

Rockhouse, located at The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, will go crazy for college hoops with drink specials from Tuesday, March 19, until Monday, April 8. The bar will offer basketball enthusiasts premium open bar access, priced at $125.  The package is available from 11 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends until the end of the last game of the day. Guaranteed seating and complimentary cover to Rockhouse are included.

Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace is offering basketball fans a special menu on tournament game days from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through April 2. The $19 “Dog with Chips or Crisps” combo gives patrons the choice between a grilled pork belly dog, English cheddar dog, Creole dog or Rueben dog with either English chips or English crisps. A $100 wristband for an open draft beer bar will be offered for Saturday and Sunday games.

Pure Nightclub inside Caesars Palace will open its Pure Lounge for an ultimate viewing party Thursday, March 21 through Sunday, March 24 from 8:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. Transforming into a skybox experience, Pure Lounge will offer basketball fanatics a destination filled with 28 widescreen high-definition televisions, premium seating and VIP table experiences. The lounge will have beer specials and game-day grub including BBQ pork sliders, nachos, basil-tomato fondue, stuffed mac-n-cheese ball tempura and more.

The ultimate college hoops man cave packages are available at Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Harrah’s Las Vegas and The Quad Resort & Casino. Amenities offered include an exclusive living room style viewing area, high-end buffet, premium beverages and private televisions showing four games at once.

Hoops at The Quad: $1,199 for a group of six ($199 for each additional person) – includes: Open bar, convenient sports betting capabilities and exclusive living room space.

Hoops at Harrah’s: $1,999 for a group of eight ($199 for each additional person) – includes: Open bar, convenient sports betting capabilities and exclusive living room space.

Hoops on the Mezz – Planet Hollywood: $1,799 for a group of eight ($224 for each up to two additional people) – includes: Open premium bar, foosball, beer pong and Miller Lite models.

Hoops at Caesars Palace: $1,999 for a group of six ($199 each for two additional people) – includes: Full Court Package plus personal cocktail service, video games and individual gift bags.

Hoops on the Mezz Championship Package – Planet Hollywood: $3,399 for a group of 12 ($279 for each up to 10 additional people) – includes: Open premium bar, pool table, foosball, beer pong, front-of-the-line sports betting and Miller Lite models.

Guests at Heraea at the Palms can cheer on their favorite team while watching all the tournament action on 30 large TV screens and enjoying classic American food bites from Executive Chef Doug Bell. Fans won’t miss any of the action with the “Bet at Your Table” option from Cantor Gaming. Guests can also enter for a chance to win prizes throughout the tournament, with a trip to the 2014 men’s basketball championship weekend as the grand prize.

Kicking off Tuesday, March 19, fans at Dick’s Last Resort at Excalibur can partake in drink specials and exclusive giveaways until the final two teams meet to compete in the championship game Monday, April 8. Enjoy 24-ounce Miller Lite cans for $5, Miller Lite buckets for $25 and buy two pitchers get one free of Miller Lite for $20. Other specials include $5 Jack Daniel’s Honey shots or $10 Grey Goose cocktails.


It’s not that warm in Minnesota. I know this from spending half my life freezing in the northern part of the state. So 20 years ago, I decided to thaw out and traded in scarves and mittens for tank tops and flip-flops (Take that, polar vortex!). I swapped snow for 300 days of sun a year. I may not have been born here, but there are hotels that haven’t lasted in Vegas as long as I have. The Sands, Hacienda, Aladdin, Desert Inn and the Stardust too. I've been to my fair share of implosion parties. (Yeah, that’s a thing.) As a writer for, I've applauded hundreds of shows, explored every major hotel in town and raised a few glasses at most of the city's bars and clubs. Now I'm the resident foodie here. I write about all things dining — from $3.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate to the finest sushi at Nobu, and everything in between.