NCAA tournament: If you plan to watch the UK game at a local bar, show up early

esimon@herald-leader.comMarch 27, 2014 

Two Keys Tavern, shown in 2012 when eventual national champ UK defeated Baylor to earn a trip to the Final Four, is a perennial BBN hangout.

MATT GOINS

If you plan to go to a Lexington sports bar on Friday night, when the University of Kentucky men's basketball team plays archrival Louisville in the NCAA Tournament, here's a tip: Go early.

"Fans should get here early. It's going to be a long night," Shamrock Bar and Grille manager Steve Reed said.

Managers at Lexington bars, restaurants and other venues advised arriving three to four hours before tip-off, which is scheduled for 9:45 p.m.

Most venues that we spoke with are not accepting reservations.

Don't even think about getting a good seat right before the game.

Still, you'll probably be welcome whenever you show up, managers said.

UK fans should all have a great time on Friday, said Dave Spreitzer of O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub. "It will be one heck of an evening."

We asked several bars and restaurants that are known for their sports crowds what their plans are for Friday. Read on for drink and food specials and more from venues that responded to our request.

Bd's Mongolian Grill. 2309 Sir Barton Way, (859) 264-0686, Gomongo.com. $1.75 domestic beers, $3.25 craft beers all day, $10 for a bucket of six bottles of beer. Open at 11 am. It will probably reach capacity between 3 and 4 p.m.

Bigg Blue Martini. 369 W. Vine St., in lobby of Hilton Lexington/Downtown Hotel; (859) 231-9000; Thebiggbluemartini.com. Happy hour half-priced appetizers, $1 off domestic beers and house wines, half-price wells. Six televisions. Open 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., it's expected to be crowded.

Bourbon n' Toulouse. 829 Euclid Ave., (859) 335-0300, BNTlex.com. $1 for Lexington beers.

Buffalo Wild Wings. 1080 S. Broadway, No. 104, (859) 233-2999, Buffalowildwings.com. 50 televisions and all of the big screens will be on the Kentucky-Louisville game. First-come, first-served for tables; no reservations.

Campus Pub. 393 Waller Ave, (859) 231-0957, Campuspub.net. Patio will be covered and will have an added television. $3.50 Bacardi, $6 Woodford Reserve drinks, $4 Fireball shots. Expected to be full; it was jam-packed for the previous game.

The Cellar Bar & Grille. 3256 Lansdowne Dr., (859) 317-8301, Cellargrille.com. $11 buckets of domestic beers, $7.50 pitchers of domestic beers. 32 televisions. Expected to be full by 5 p.m.

Hooters. 3101 Richmond Rd., No. 315, (859) 269-8521, Hooters.com. From 10 a.m. to evening, half-priced appetizers, $1.50 domestic beers. 25 televisions inside and out.

Jefferson Davis Inn. 319 Cedar St., (859) 246-0202, Jeffersondavisinn.com. $10 domestic buckets, a blue and red drink special and $8 Bud Light pitchers.

The Ketch Seafood Grill. 2012 Regency Rd., (859) 277-5919, Ketchseafoodgrill.com. Happy hour prices for drinks and reduced appetizer prices, $1 tacos, half-price Cat Paws (catfish nuggets). Seven HD televisions.

Merrick Inn. 1074 Merrick Dr., (859) 269-5417, Themerrickinn.com. Happy hour during every NCAA game, half-price appetizers, $1 off all drinks. There will be places to sit, but expect it to be filled for the game.

Nick Ryan's Saloon. 157 Jefferson St., (859) 233-7900, Nickryans.com. Happy hour 4 p.m. to closing; buy-one-get-one-free for all well drinks and house wines. Filet special and two sides for $26 for the Wildcats' 26 wins. Patio open weather permitting; one television outside and two inside.

O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub. 2051 Richmond Rd., Suite 140, (859) 266-4488, Oneillsirishpub.com. No bands will be playing; it will be all UK basketball. $12.50 for buckets of beer, $6.50 for pitchers of domestic drafts, $2.75 for 16-ounce pints, specials running throughout the evening. Forty more seats to be added; 22 televisions. "I believe we are the only place in Lexington to have a 100-inch digital television," the bar's Dave Spreitzer said. "Wonderful place for 21 to 75 years old to all root the Cats on."

The Other Bar. 319 S. Limestone, (859) 381-0098, Twitter.com/TheOtherBarKY. Opens at 11 a.m. A special beer bucket and BBN shots. Five televisions inside and one outside.

Shamrock Bar and Grille. 154 Patchen Dr., (859) 269-7621; and 4750 Hartland Pkwy., (859) 245-9504; Shamrocksky.com. $7.50 pitchers special for Bud Light and Miller Light, $11 bucket with five beers in it for Coors, Bud Light and Miller Light. 18 flat-screen HD televisions will be showing game.

Soundbar. 208 S. Limestone, (859) 523-6338, Soundbarlex.com. Soundbar will allow people to reserve lounge sections upstairs and downstairs for free; call for reservations. $10 domestic buckets, $15 for imports and $1 for Big Blue tube shots. Open all day.

Two Keys Tavern. 333 S. Limestone, (859) 254-5000, Twokeystavern.com. Serving can beers, $12 bags of beer, $3 John Wall shots. 32 televisions. No cover charge.

Wild Cat Saloon. 123 Cheapside, (859) 309-1297, Wildcatsaloon.com. No cover charge. Seven televisions and a large projection screen. $1 Wild Cat drafts and a special game-day drink.

Erin Simon: (859) 231-3308. Twitter: @heraldleader.

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