Catch the NCAA tournament fever
College basketball’s premier tournament is in full swing, and there’s no shortage of ways to cheer on your team and check your bracket while you’re in town. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of spots around town that will immerse you and your party in all the b-ball action.
Enjoy “Hoops Central” at the International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas, featuring giant HD screens, appearances by the Bud Light girls and food and drink specials. Seating is first come first served, but can be reserved for $25, which include a free beer.
For a real VIP experience, Golden Nugget offers its “March Fever Viewing Party,” with guaranteed seats in the VIP section and all-you-can-eat, stadium-style food. Day passes range from $109-$228, with a four-day pass available for $592.
The fun continues at Palace Station, which offers free admission to its college basketball viewing party. With a valid Boarding Pass, enjoy $5 chicken wings and sliders, $4 cocktails and $3 hot dogs and domestic beers. Or head to the California to catch the action, including $3 beers, $4 shots and $15 bucket of beer.
Other options include The Orleans, where you can get in free and enjoy $4 Fat Tire bottles, $3 Jameson shots and cocktails, and $2 hot dogs. You can also get your hoops fix at free viewing parties at the Gold Coast, where you can score $3 Guinness bottles, $4 Fat Tire bottles and $3 Jameson shots and cocktails.
College basketball fans who enjoy a good smoke can head to Montecristo Cigar Bar & Lounge at Caesars Palace and watch the games on a 208-inch, wall-to-wall screen while pairing cigars with top-shelf spirits. Montecristo provides luxury VIP seating in its Library and “Man Cave” seating in its Courtyard, while Caesars Palace’s largest bar, Alto Lounge, offers private booths with personal televisions as well as Living Rooms that accommodate four to five guests.
Alto is adjacent to Omnia nightclub and the resort’s sports book, while nightclub alternative Vista Lounge, which provides nine flat screens for college basketball fans, is in the center of the casino. Sliders and chicken wings from Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill are sure to be a highlight of Vista’s $200 food and beverage minimums.
The Piano Bar at Harrah’s is located within stumbling distance from party enclave Carnival Court, and segues into dueling pianos and karaoke after the games.
TAG Sports Bar at The Linq complements tournament action with its Holocube, a virtual world experience. The interactive gaming venue has digital casino games and touchscreen tabletops for halftime diversions, while Interlude at The Cromwell is the lounge alternative from the crush of action in that casino’s sports book. At Interlude, various game specials include entrance, bucket of beer and three well cocktails for $75, $7 Miller Lite and Coors Light and $8 Peroni drafts.
If comfort food is the preferred accompaniment to watching the games, Ringer Wings, Pizza & Sliders is a short march from the madness that will be happening at Planet Hollywood Resort’s sports book.
MGM Grand’s interactive gaming lounge Level Up is an option to the nearby sports book. Wings, nachos and fried shrimp buckets are being provided by Tap Sports Bar (which has 60 flat screens that are being dedicated to the NCAA) at Level Up’s viewing party, with specialty drinks served from the venue’s Live Lucky Bar. The “tech-savvy, adult playground” provides pool, foosball, arm wrestling and ping-pong tables for pre- and post-game distraction, as well as enticing game installations such as QuadAir Hockey, Sigma Derby, Giant Pac-Man and Connect Four. Food and beverage minimums start at $100.
Alibi Ultra Lounge at Aria Resort & Casino provides a more opulent experience, with handcrafted cocktails and menu items from Herringbone Las Vegas. Stylized, elegant design sets Alibi apart, and a $200 minimum assures inclusion in the posh setting. Lily Bar & Lounge at Bellagio also has a $200 minimum, with six-person tables available for a $1,500 minimum and couch tables sitting eight to 10 ranging from $2,000 to $2,500.
Chef Brian Malarkey’s Herringbone hosts a party in its lounge as well, with doors opening at 9 a.m. March 16-19 for “Early Eats” such as bacon-and-egg ravioli, crab cake “Benny” and French toast. Minimums start at $500, so make sure to experience orange ricotta chocolate chip pancakes (with chocolate-covered bacon) while there’s a chance.