New York

Where to Watch March Madness: The Best NCAA Teams' NYC Fan Bars

Courtesy of Jack Demsey's
Courtesy of Jack Demsey’s
Courtesy of Jack Demsey’s

In the New York of yore, those afflicted with March Madness were quarantined well into April. These days, not only do virus carriers walk among us, but we celebrate the disease! Every year, for two short weeks, in the throes of the Madness, we all become experts on college basketball before resuming ignorance for the other 350 days of the year.

During the NCAA Tournament, we furiously fill out brackets, babble about seed upsets, and swaddle ourselves in soothing team apparel. We even feign an interest in Gonzaga, though never cross the line of no return — learning whether it’s in Washington state or DC.

In the months between each annual Madness, we forget that there are people in New York who went to Gonzaga. And Villanova. And Xavier — schools that most of us only engage with through the lens of sports. And most of these schools, however far-flung, have bars where their fans and alumni gather to cheer on their team.

Look, I went to Minnesota. Go Goph’s and everything, but rooting for a lower-tier Big Ten school is demoralizing. And plenty of people went to smaller schools, or no schools at all, who watch the NCAA Tournament every year without a dog in the fight.

So if you’re a fan of a major college basketball powerhouse, or if you’re looking to adopt a team to root for during the tournament, here are the best places to watch the top-tier teams among true fans in NYC.

Courtesy of American Whiskey
Courtesy of American Whiskey
Courtesy of American Whiskey

Virginia

American Whiskey
247 West 30th Street
Given UVA’s rich Southern tradition, it makes sense that their sports fans would flock to straight-shooting American Whiskey. Located a mere halfcourt shot from Madison Square Garden, the 6,500-square-foot space has become the de facto Manhattan home turf for the Cavaliers. The restaurant/bar elevates standard pub food with fried Brussels sprouts, roasted bone marrow, and venison mini burgers. (It’s also located around the corner from NY Pizza Suprema, one of the best slice shops in the city.) American Whiskey doubles as a Georgia bar, but don’t expect to see the Dawgs in the NCAA Tournament this year.

Xavier

The Keg Room
53 West 36th Street
Although this isn’t the place for all you nostalgic Xavierians to get Skyline Chili, this Irish bar is a fitting place to watch ballers from one of the oldest Catholic schools in the country. Here, Musketeers fans can nosh on traditional fare like shepherd’s pie and fish & chips, or embrace the game with nachos smothered in cheese, guacamole, sour cream — and house chili! Tons of TVs enable viewing from every seat at the 100-foot bar, and the space is big enough for a Catholic rabbit.

Gramercy Ale House
Gramercy Ale House
Gramercy Ale House

Villanova

Gramercy Ale House
272 3rd Avenue
There are a number of NYC bars jockeying for ‘Nova watching dominance: The Brazen Fox, Tempest Bar, and our pick: Gramercy Ale House. It’s a solid bar mercifully removed from Midtown and Madison Square Garden. Plus, they have 10 kinds of fries and the conviction to hang team colors around the bar — catnip to Wildcats.

Courtesy of The Ainsworth
Courtesy of The Ainsworth
Courtesy of The Ainsworth

Duke

The Ainsworth Midtown
45 East 33rd Street
For all of their blustering, it’s odd for a passionate fan base like Duke’s to settle on a bar that plays host to so many disparate college sports fans, but maybe that’s the point: to flaunt their Dukeness in front of everybody else. We get it.

Courtesy of Cornerstone Tavern
Courtesy of Cornerstone Tavern
Courtesy of Cornerstone Tavern

Kansas

Cornerstone Tavern
961 2nd Avenue
In the aftermath of the mysterious and untimely closure of Mulholland’s in Williamsburg, Jayhawks fans have flocked to Cornerstone in Midtown East. Mulholland mourners can drown their sorrows in KU game-time specials that include $5 pints and “Jayhawk Shots” in between “Rock Chalk” chants.

Phebe's
Phebe’s
Phebe’s

Cincinnati

Phebe’s
359 Bowery
Now, Phebe’s isn’t explicitly a Bearcats bar. But it is an officially sanctioned Cincinnati Bengals bar, and as a result it has become the natural stomping ground for many Cincinnati alumni events. Featuring higher-end bar food and $0.25 wing specials, there’s really something for everybody. Unless you’re one of those people who really wants Skyline Chili, which again, you won’t find here. It’s probably for the best.

Kentucky

Jack Demsey’s
36 West 33rd Street
When Big Blue Nation made Jack Dempsey’s its home for athletics, the bar welcomed them with an honorific cocktail — the Old Fashioned Wildcat — and gave website real estate to the UK Alumni Association. So if you’re looking to bandwagon the ‘Cats or reassemble your Lexington crew, this is the place to do it. Demsey’s does all the expected apps — plus some Emerald Isle favourites — and features every beer and liquor you’d hope for in an Irish bar. They even have their own house ale for a little something different.

Iron Lounge
Iron Lounge
Iron Lounge

Ohio State

Iron Bar and Grill
713 8th Avenue
This Alumni Association-sanctioned bar closes up any schism in the Buckeyes fandom, but it’s trying to be a lot of things. Located right off Times Square, it’s naturally touristy. It skews more toward gastropub than straight-up sports bar. And they have hookah and bottle service for some reason? Maybe it’s just crazy enough to work!

Courtesy of St. Pats Bar & Grill
Courtesy of St. Pats Bar & Grill
Courtesy of St. Pats Bar & Grill

Auburn

St. Pats Bar & Grill
22 West 46th Street
Let us pause for a moment and marvel at how cool it is that we live in a city where even Alabama state schools can have its own team bar. Tigers fans of all stripes have made St. Pat’s near Rockefeller Center their home. The multi-level bar and grill features game-day staples, but what separates it from other Midtown sport spots is an outdoor patio space — a perk as we ring in spring with March Madness.

Printers Alley
Printers Alley
Printers Alley

Tennessee

Printers Alley
215 West 40th Street
This Nashville concept spot doubled down on its geographical theme when it became home to Volunteers fans. True to form, Printers Alley pumps in country music while frying up regional cuisine like Nashville hot chicken, fried green tomatoes, hush puppies, and, of course, Tennessee whiskey.

Professor Thom's
Professor Thom’s
Professor Thom’s

Michigan

Professor Thom’s
219 2nd Avenue
They may never exorcise the ghost of disappointment that hangs heavy in Professor Thom’s after favorite Michigan alum Tom Brady’s last Super Bowl loss, but it’s still the Wolverines’ preferred watch spot. For better or worse. They have wings, nachos, burgers, and beer, so at least you can eat your anxiety. Cross your fingers or wear your lucky socks to combat the Pats’ bad juju, and Go Blue.

UNC

Slattery’s Midtown
8 East 36th Street
Slattery’s courts a long roster of sports fans. It’s a Miami Dolphins bar, a Kansas State bar, and a Creighton bar. And during the Madness, it’s the official NYC bar of the North Carolina Tar Heels. With a house lager, an outdoor seating area (with a TV!), and a solid menu of both bar food Irish dishes, there’s plenty to nosh on as you talk about how Michael Jordan should be put on the $20 bill or whatever.Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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