Lexington Bar Guide 2011: Sports bars

August 19, 2011 

Village Host Pizza on Old Vine Street is part of a California-based chain. It has been busy since it opened early this year.

BROOKE DIDONATO | STAFF

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    Harvey's and Hugo's, Metropol, Portofino, Skybar, Soundbar.

Lexington loves the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Here are a few places, all of which serve food, where you're guaranteed to find a game, or games, on the TVs and some fellow sports fans to talk stats with.

Drake's

3347 Tates Creek Rd. (859) 335-6500. Drakeslansdowne.com. Hours: 11:15 a.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Thu.; 11:15 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Fri., Sat.; 11:15 a.m.-11:15 p.m. Sun.

If Malone's is the upscale steakhouse, Drake's is its loud, laid-back cousin. Its ample TVs make it a favorite spot to take in the game, but conversation can be challenging when the music is on full blast. Like the bar itself, its drinks are not overly fancy but enjoyable nonetheless. There is a good number of draft beers available, and the wine list has some surprisingly good offerings considering the establishment's sports-bar personality.

Noteworthy: If your group of friends can handle it, take down one of Drake's Table Taps, available from 60 to 120 ounces.

Pazzo's

385 S. Limestone. (859) 255-5125. Pazzospizzapub.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thu.-Sat., noon-10 p.m. Sun.

With its diverse beer list and laid-back atmosphere, Pazzo's is a staple for the campus crowd taking in Wednesday's Pint Night or families wanting a good slice of pizza. If you don't mind the frat-friendly décor and energetic noise level, there is ample seating indoors. But those who grab a patio table have a prime people-watching view as they peruse an international selection that can satisfy even hard-core beer snobs.

Noteworthy: Taste one of Pazzos blended beers such as the Hummingbird: Strongbow with Framboise.

Village Host Pizza and Grill

431 Old Vine St. (859) 455-3355. Villagehostlex.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.-Thu.; 11 a.m.-midnight Fri., Sat.

Village Host, a chain based in California, has taken the space on Old Vine that has seen several previous establishments close. Judging by the steady crowds from nearby neighborhoods, it must be doing something right. The combo bar and restaurant has a sports-bar feel, with lots of TVs, woodwork and a kid-friendly game room. The drink menu covers a wide range, with eight beers on tap, a decent wine list and an impressive collection of cocktail and liquor choices.

Noteworthy: The salad bar, with 50 choices, is a special feature that few other bars can match.

Winchell's Restaurant & Bar

348 Southland Dr. (859) 278-9424. Winchellsrestaurant.com. Hours: 8 a.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Sat.; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.

This Southland neighborhood hangout is Wildcat fan central, with happy hour specials —$5 pitchers, $2 domestic bottles — during all televised UK sporting events. TV screens in every nook and cranny mean you won't miss a minute of the game. Even though it's a super sports bar, Winchell's also attracts families, serving everything from fried chicken livers to fish tacos.

Noteworthy: Order a bloody Mary to go with your country-fried steak and eggs. The bar is open every day during Winchell's extremely popular breakfasts.

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