The Weekender: Boston's Saturday Morning Newsletter
3 places to watch March Madness in Boston
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March Madness is almost here.
The season of NCAA basketball mayhem tips off this coming week. March Madness gives both amateur and longtime basketball fans a chance to root for alma maters, embrace Cinderella teams and speculate about which college athletes might be drafted into the NBA next season. (The teams won’t be selected until Sunday, but here’s an early glimpse of the men’s and women’s schedules.)
This year’s March Madness is also the first time people in Massachusetts can legally place bets on each game on the bracket. And it’s the first tournament that Massachusetts’ former governor-turned-NCAA president, Charlie Baker, is in charge.
Simply put, it’s shaping up to be an intriguing time for local sports fans. And while Boston is known more for its pro sports than college athletics, it’s still a great chance to get in on the excitement.
If you found yourself in a bar or restaurant that happened to be showing the World Cup this past summer, you understand the shared thrill that comes with watching a game in a group. Even if you’re not fully following the sport itself, once you’ve been caught up on who’s playing, what the score is and what a win that day might mean for each team, there seems to be an almost magnetic quality to the game. With only the aforementioned context in my mind, I begin to notice my eyes drifting over to whichever screen in my vicinity is broadcasting the game, wondering to myself: Who’s going to win?
Need some help planning a slam-dunk viewing experience? Here are a few spots in the area making March Madness doubly entertaining for both the sports fan and the occasional viewer.
- Lily P’s Chicken and Oysters: This lively restaurant and bar in Cambridge makes for a great night out amidst the “Madness.” Enjoy live music, darts and other games while you watch the NCAA matches nearby the bar. Lily’s is known for its fried chicken, and will be holding a “March Chicken Madness” bracketed poll — pitting customer-submitted chicken sandwich ideas against each other — on its Instagram story each day in March to top it all off.
- Coolidge Corner Clubhouse: This cozy neighborhood spot is your classic sports pub with a supercharged menu. Visit for lunch, dinner or brunch and watch the game as you dine on a wide variety of dishes. This is a great place for folks who want to enjoy a meal while occasionally (or diligently) watching the game.
- Banners Kitchen & Tap: This one’s for the hardcore fan. Attached to TD Garden, Banners delivers what it calls a “premier” sports viewing experience in its bar unlike any other in the Northeast, thanks to its 40-foot-wide “dream screen” and 60 additional televisions spread across the venue. Go with a group and get ready to cheer along with the roaring crowd at the bar.
P.S. — For those of you completely uninterested in the sport: Might I suggest participating in Arizona State University’s March Mammal Madness instead?