March Madness 2021 is here — and it’s in Indy, this year! But a host of ongoing problems with the COVID-19 pandemic have forced the NCAA to deeply restrict access to the actual courtside arenas.
Does that have Hoosiers worried? Absolutely not. You can watch the NCAA tournament play out on cable television and through various apps on mobile devices. CBS and Turner Sports are going out of their way this year to make sure that everyone knows where, when and how to tune-in to the schedule.
But what if you’re craving a little fan-tastic excitement? Maybe you’re just really yearning to take in a game with some like-minded basketball aficionados and you don’t have the space, energy or interest in watching with a group at home?
No worries! We’ve got you covered with our handy-dandy guide to the 9 best sports bars in Indy where you can grab a brew, get some food and cheer your team on with a crowd.
1. Kilroy’s Bar n’ Grill
201 South Meridian St., 831 Broad Ripple Ave.
The screens at every Kilroy’s line the walls from top-to-bottom, but the real draw may be the fact that you can make reservations for your group for assured seating. This is perfect if you have friends who are fans but nobody has the space to host a viewing party. While you’re there, check out the signature shooters and specialty Long Island Ice Teas!
2. Ale Emporium
8617 Allisonville Rd.
Ale Emporium has loads of televisions for your viewing pleasure — but you’d better claim a prime seat early before a game because their world-famous Hermananki wings are a coveted item on Indy’s culinary scene — and they’ve got some of the best pizza and shareable menu items around.
3. The District Tap
141 S Meridian St., 3720 East 82nd St.
If you like a laid-back venue and great food, you’d be remiss if you didn’t head over to The District Tap. Their white cheddar Mac-N-Cheese Pots are amazing, and they have tons of small craft brews, specialty cocktails and wines on the menu.
4. Average Joe’s Sports Pub
814 Broad Ripple Ave.
This bar exists to serve both the players and the fans, so its walls are lined with fascinating memorabilia from all kinds of sports, and the menu is designed with all the perfect items for game days, like jalapeno poppers, breaded mushrooms and toasted ravioli. At Average Joe’s, everybody’s an All-American player.
5. Old Pro’s Table
827 Broad Ripple Ave.
This is the “OG” of sports bars in Broad Ripple. Affectionately called “OPT” by the locals, this is the place to go if you like a fairly basic setup and a low-key atmosphere that gives you the opportunity to move around, shoot some pool and chat with your friends while you watch the games. There’s a limited menu, but plenty of brews — standard and craft alike.
6. Brother’s Bar & Grill
255 S. Meridian St., 910 Broad Ripple Ave.
With indoor and patio seating alike, Brothers is a great location to watch the game and participate in all that Downtown energy. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the real draw, however: The food here is fantastic. Whether you’re craving Wisconsin World-Famous Cheese Curds, Brothers Breaded Pickles, a burger or some tacos, there’s always something exciting on the menu.
7. Keystone Sports Review
5602 N. Keystone Ave.
You’ll find at least eight high-definition televisions, and a menu that ranges from thin-crust pizza to made-to-order tenderloin steaks, plus an extensive list of craft beers, hard ciders and premium ales. Keystone is about as comfy a spot as anybody could want to watch the game and socialize.
8. Whiskey Business
11915 Pendleton Pike D, 5220 E. Southport Rd.
Whiskey Business keeps it simple: Burgers, bourbon and brews are their basics — along with lots of high-definition screens for viewing. They have a full menu, but you won’t want to overlooked the huge array of shareable snacks they offer, like Pork Nugz, Spicy Cheese Cubes and Pickle Fries.
9. High Velocity
10 South West St.
If you’re a little boujee at heart and prefer an upscale venue, High Velocity at the JW Marriott has your vibe! There are viewing screens everywhere you look — but the real draw is the atmosphere and menu. While you can certainly find the classic burgers and fries, they also cater to vegetarians and gluten-free diets. And, naturally, there’s also plenty of hand-crafted cocktails and local brews.
Naturally, even though there have been some signs of improvement with the pandemic restrictions, make sure to plan ahead and take a mask when you head out to your favorite location. Ultimately, however, the important thing to remember is to go in good cheer and enjoy yourself!