Plan to make a day of it if you are going to a restaurant or bar Saturday to watch the University of Kentucky men's basketball team's appearance in the Final Four.
Many venues suggest that patrons arrive hours ahead of tipoff, which is at 8:49 p.m., to get a table. With the Duke-Michigan State game at 6:09 p.m., it is hard to say how early the crowds will form around the TV screens. Some bar and restaurant owners don't anticipate big crowds for the first game, but Emma Hanley, bartender at McCarthy's Irish Bar, said she expects that UK fans will be interested because they "don't like Duke very much."
We asked owners and staff at several bars and restaurants in the Lexington area what their plans are for Saturday. Continue reading for more information about what time to arrive and what to expect come Saturday.
Where to go
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A.P. Suggins Bar and Grill. 345 Romany Road, (859) 268-0709, Suggins.com. Nine TVs. No reservations accepted. To be on the safe side, arrive by 5 p.m. to get a table.
Bd's Mongolian Grill. 2309 Sir Barton Way, (859) 264-0686, Gomongo.com. 10 TVs. Reserved tables are already taken, so the rest are first come, first served. Best to arrive by 6 p.m. to get a table.
Bigg Blue Martini. 369 W. Vine St., lobby of Hilton Lexington/Downtown Hotel; (859) 231-9000; TheBiggBlueMartini.com. Seven TVs. No reservations for bar; arrive by 6 p.m. to get a table.
Buffalo Wild Wings. 1080 S. Broadway, Suite 104, (859) 233-2999, Buffalowildwings.com. 63 TVs. First come, first served. "Last year, people were on the wait list three hours before the UK game," said general manager Sean Kelley, who described the atmosphere as "stadium-like."
Campus Pub. 393 Waller Ave, (859) 231-0957, Campuspub.net. 20 TVs. Although they will increase the seating, arrive by 3 p.m. for a table. "The atmosphere will be very enthusiastic, passionate, and full of that Wildcat feeling here with people of all ages from 21 to 80," said Dave Spreitzer, owner of Campus Pub. "Last Saturday, we had an 85-year-old for the game."
Cheapside Bar & Grill. 131 Cheapside. (859) 254-0046, Cheapsidebarandgrill.com. Six TVs. "Seating will be full quickly," owner Robin Campbell said. No reservations will be taken. People will probably start arriving about noon to watch the Duke-Michigan State, said Campbell, who expects a festive atmosphere.
The Copper Still. 212 W. Water St., Richmond, (859) 624-8110. Facebook. Five TVs. Last Saturday they were packed by 8 p.m., bartender Shelsea Fox said. Arrive by 7:30 to get seats. There will not be a cover.
Drake's. 3347 Tates Creek Rd., (859) 335-6500, Drakescomeplay.com. First-come, first-served open seating. More than 20 TVs. Be there by 5 p.m. if you want a table. "It'll definitely be Wildcat central," said Sara Ahlgrim, marketing at BHG. "It's usually really upbeat, and everyone is really cheering together." Drake's will feature its platoon menu for the game in addition to $1 mini burgers after 10 p.m.
Hooters. 3101 Richmond Rd., No. 315, (859) 269-8521, Hooters.com. More than 35 TVs. Get there by 4 p.m. to ensure good seats. "Last Saturday it was standing room only by 6:30 p.m.," general manager Brian Dixon said.
Jefferson Davis Inn. 319 Cedar St., (859) 246-0202, JDIlex.com. In addition to a projector screen, there will be 20 TVs. First-come, first-served seating. All three floors will be open, so there will be about 70 more seats. "We really don't know what to expect because people are coming earlier and earlier," said Hilary Morgan, marketing and events manager. "Last week, people showed up at 3 p.m." After 6:30 p.m., free parking will be available at the car wash next door.
The Ketch. 2012 Regency Rd., (859) 277-5919, Ketchseafoodgrill.com. 10 HD TVs in dining room and bar. Open seating. Arrive a couple of hours before the game. They will be offering $1 tacos.
Lynagh's Irish Pub. 384 Woodland Ave., (859) 255-1292, Lynaghsirishpub.com. 10 TVs. People should show up at least an hour before the game. Owner Robert Swan said, "I am prepared for a completely full house."
Malone's. 3347 Tates Creek Road, (859) 335-6500; 1920 Pleasant Ridge Drive, (859) 264-8023; and 3735 Palomar Centre Drive, (859) 977-2620. Bluegrasshospitality.com/malones. Two TVs in the bar. "Malone's will be busy anyway because of Keeneland, so if you're trying to hold a spot at the bar to watch the game, get there before 6 p.m.," said Sara Ahlgrim, marketing coordinator at BHG. All tables at Malone's are reserved, but you can be put on the wait list.
McCarthy's Irish Bar. 117 S. Upper St., (859) 258-2181, Mccarthysirishbar.com. There is a projector outside on the patio, which will be open, weather permitting, in addition to seven TVs. Arrive by 8 p.m. for seats. McCarthy's opened in 1996, when the UK men won an NCAA championship; the bar considers itself a good-luck charm.
Merrick Inn. 1074 Merrick Dr. (859) 269-5417. Themerrickinn.com. More than 20 TVs, between the patio and both bars. Reserved seating in the dining room, open seating in bars and the patio. The bar opens at 4 p.m. "The earlier you get there, the better," office manager Brenda Featherstone said. She described the game-watching atmosphere as "casually sophisticated."
Nick Ryan's Saloon. 157 Jefferson St., (859) 233-7900, Nickryans.com. Three TVs playing the game. Reservations are recommended; although they try to leave some availability for walk-ins. To watch the game, arrive by 6 p.m.
O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub. 2051 Richmond Rd., Suite 140, (859) 266-4488, Oneillsirishpub.com. 22 TVs plus a 170-inch TV. Arrive 3:30 to 4 p.m. for a good table.
Parlay Social. 249 W. Short St., (859) 244-1932, Parlaysocial.com. About 12 TVs. No reservations taken. "Get there as early as possible if you're wanting a table," manager Gabriel Cravero. Parlay opens at 3 p.m.
The Pub. 3750 Mall Rd., in the Plaza at Fayette Mall, (859) 971-2748, Experiencethepub.com/lexington. Four 60-inch TVs. Arrival between 7 and 7:30 p.m. is advised. Half the restaurant will most likely be full for the previous game. Reservations will be taken for parties of eight or more.
Shamrock Bar and Grille. 154 Patchen Dr., Lexington, (859) 269-7621; 4750 Hartland Pkwy., (859) 245-9504, Shamrocksky.com. 19 TVs. Arrive by 3 p.m. to get a table. No reservations, but one person can hold as many as three seats.
Soundbar. 208 S. Limestone, (859) 523-6338, Soundbarlex.com. 16 TVs. Both levels open. Plan to get there by 4:30 p.m., because seating is expected to fill up. Reservations are available.
The Tin Roof. 303 S. Limestone, (859) 317-9111, Tinroofbars.com. Jumbotron in fenced-in parking lot, 16 TVs inside. There also will be five TVs in the Bud Light Beer Garden, which is new this year. Arrive by noon to get a table inside; 2-3 p.m. for outside seating. Seating will be first come, first served.
Two Keys. 333 S. Limestone, (859) 254-5000, Twokeystavern.com. More than 40 TVs. No reservations. The bar opens at 11 a.m.; get there by 11:30 for seats. "The seats are going to go really, really fast," bartender Emily Cropper said. "Most people will be standing." Cropper said it's going to be one person out, one person in pretty early because the bar will meet its maximum occupancy.
Winchell's Restaurant & Bar. 348 Southland Dr. (859) 278-9424. Winchellsrestaurant.com. 25 TVs. "People should be here at 5:30 or 6 p.m. to be safe. It's going to be nuts," owner Graham Waller said. No reservations accepted.
Kentucky Theatre. 214 E. Main St., (859) 231-6997, Kentuckytheater.com. Both the Duke-Michigan State game and the UK-Wisconsin game will be shown.