The Bull City offers no shortage of places to experience the madness that is the NCAA Division I basketball tournament, from modern sports bars with televisions literally everywhere you look to more intimate local hangouts. Durham joins Los Angeles (UCLA, Southern California) and Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Xavier) as the only cities with more than one team in the men’s 68-team field this year, so interest will be especially high.
The North Carolina Central Eagles, winners of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament, will take the court first on Wednesday night at TD Arena in Dayton, Ohio, against California-Davis. Tip-off is 6:40 p.m., and if they’re victorious they’ll take on Kansas at 6:50 p.m. in Tulsa, Okla., on Friday.
That would be 30 minutes before the Duke Blue Devils, winners of the Atlantic Coast Conference, take the court at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C., against Troy. South Carolina or Marquette awaits on Sunday with a victory. All men’s tournament games can be found on the CBS family of stations (CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV).
The action continues on Saturday, when the Duke women host Hampton at 9 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium in a game televised by ESPN2. Temple or Oregon, also at Cameron, could be next on Monday if the Blue Devils advance.
Following is a rundown of some of the best places in Durham to catch the action:
Alivia’s, located at 900 West Main Street downtown, features American fare, a full bar, and numerous TVs. There’s also as an outdoor patio (equipped with a second bar) and a projector they put to use for the big games, weather permitting, complete with fire pits so you can enjoy the outdoors even if there’s still a chill in the air.
Located in the Washington Duke Inn at the Duke Golf Club, this is a favorite hangout for Duke fans, and the public is welcome to watch all the games.
Overlooking Durham Bulls Athletic Park and across from the American Tobacco Campus, The Bullpen serves wings from Heavenly Buffaloes, which pair well withits outstanding beer selection and neighborhood sports bar vibe.
Situated prominently on U.S. 15/501 on the way to Chapel Hill, Carolina Ale House draws its share of Tar Heel fans, and with more than 50 TVs you won’t miss anything during the frenetic opening rounds when multiple games are being played simultaneously.
Expect to find some NCCU fans at Champps in the Streets at Southpoint when the Eagles try for their first ever NCAA Tournament win at the D-I level.
Most breweries are known more for their beer than their television selection, but Clouds’ spacious new location on Main Street is an exception as 33 HD screens line every wall as well as hanging from the ceiling. Throw in a full menu and craft brews and this is a great place to relax and catch some sports.
Ranked by Complex magazine as one of the 25 best bars near a college campus, Dain’s, located in the Ninth Street district, is an obvious choice for Duke fans who are looking to join in a cheer with their dark blue brethren. Every game will on one of four TVs, and on Friday Dain’s will throw a March Madness/St. Patrick’s Day co-party with live music in celebration of the Blue Devils’ battle with Troy. Did we mention more than 80 American microbrews are available?
Yet another Brightleaf area hangout, Devine’s has been a favorite for locals since 1978. Enjoy pub favorites like wings and burger while watching the tournament.
Fullsteam’s big screen will be tuned to March Madness all week, including the NCCU game on Wednesday and Duke on Friday, while you enjoy a homegrown Durham brew. The Humidity Pale Ale, the Rocket Science IPA, and the PayCheck Pilsner are always on tap in addition to seasonal specials made with local ingredients.
This southern Durham neighborhood pub will show the biggest games on one of Durham’s biggest TVs, a 120-inch projection screen. There is also a rotating, eclectic mix of 11 beers on tap.
If you don’t want to venture to downtown, Rookie’s is the only sports bar in Research Triangle Park. Rookie’s has 26 televisions, 12 beers on tap, and both indoor and outdoor viewing areas.
Satisfaction is another place frequented by Duke fans. Across the street from Alivia’s in Brightleaf Square, Satisfaction offers more than 80 beers and 29 TVs.
On March 15, join NCCU staff and fans at The House for the Eagles' game against California-Davis. A full-service restaurant, The House is also an ideal spot for sports fans, with 11 TVs and two big screens with projectors.
Tobacco Road serves fresh, local food surrounded by a wall of TVs – all in a location overlooking the Durham Bulls Athletic Park across from the American Tobacco Campus.
Located in the historic American Tobacco Campus, Tyler’s serves 60 beers on tap alongside American comfort food. There are also pool tables and more TVs in the Speakeasy as well as six additional drafts and two more televisions in the outdoor biergarten.