March Madness 2016
Where to Catch the Action in San Francisco
It’s March, and you know what that means…plummeting office productivity, as we and 70 million other people fill out brackets and join in the madness of the largest single elimination tournament in the world. For a few weeks, we are all college basketball fans.
Bars and pubs all over San Francisco will be packed with sports fans over the next 3 weeks, and we can’t wait for the festivities to begin this weekend. Here is a look at some of our favorite places to catch the action by neighborhood.
- Downtown: Union Square Sports Bar
115 Mason St
San Francisco, CA 94102
Union Square Sports Bar game schedule
With up to 4 concurrent games during the first week of March Madness, many fans opt to head to Union Square Sports Bar, which has tons of TV’s lining the walls. With about 20 beers on tap, as well as specialty cocktails, you’ll have plenty of selections for drinks. Food options are sparse (basically just hot dogs and nachos), but let’s be honest, you’re not here for the food. There’s lots of seating here and overall just a no-nonsense and fun spot for March Madness.
This historic German beer hall in FiDi received a major facelift in 2014 after changing ownership. The new owners split the massive space into 2 distinct areas — a front area focused on brews and bar snacks, and a back area that’s an upscale German restaurant. The end result is an awesome place to watch games — with plenty of TV’s, including a huge projection screen, an impressive assortment of craft beers and a varied menu that mixes traditional pub fare with seasonal specials. It’s not the cheapest spot to hit, and you’ll run into your fair share of suits, but there’s something for everyone here. Customers love the pretzel knots and burgers.
3. SOMA: Steff’s
141 2nd St
San Francisco, CA 94105
Steff’s game schedule
A casual after-work spot near Market Street, Steff’s is a friendly sports bar with 8+ TV’s, including 2 large projection screens. There’s nothing fancy about this place, but regulars love it for the efficient service, free popcorn, corn dogs and the reasonably priced and well-mixed drinks.
With capacity to hold 1,000 patrons across 2 levels, Pete’s is among the largest sports bars in SF. Located across from AT&T Park, it’s always packed with Giants fans during baseball season. For March Madness, Pete’s will be showing every game on it’s 22 flat screen TV’s. Numerous NCAA basketball powerhouses — including Cincinnati, Florida, Oregon, Utah, Villanova and Gonzaga — call Pete’s home, but it’s a great place to catch the game regardless of your affiliation. Pete’s offers over 30 varieties of beer, signature cocktails and a full menu of upscale pub food, and regulars recommend the curly fries and corn dogs.
Danny Coyle’s has long been a favorite spot for fans of UFC, European football leagues and local SF teams. If you’re in the Haight, it’s a great spot to catch March Madness games. Basketball powerhouses such as North Carolina and Maryland host fans there, but there are so many TVs that they will likely be showing every game. The drinks are reasonably priced and regulars swear by the bloody marys.
Located near the former home of the 49ers by Golden Gate Park (Kezar Stadium), Kezar has long been a favorite of Giants and 49ers fans. This world class Irish pub has a huge assortment of beers as well as multiple TV’s in 2 rooms. VCU and Michigan fans will be gathering at Kezar this year, but the bar is a great place to watch games regardless of your affiliation. Get there early to grab a seat, and if you’re hungry, regulars recommend the buffalo wings and nachos.
McTeague’s is a Polk Street institution that combines a lively sports bar with an extensive selection of scotch, bourbon and premium spirits. The bar is a big draw for Big 12 sports fans, and particularly for University of Texas alums, who gather here to cheer on their Horns. There are numerous flat screen TV’s and reasonably priced drinks, which makes this an all-around great place to hang out during March Madness.
Eastside West is a large restaurant/bar in the Marina/Cow Hollow area with several huge TV’s which will be great for March Madness. The crowd skews young and attractive, and it’s a great place for recent college grads to mingle over sports, drinks and upscale bar food. It can get crowded, so come early to snag a spot, especially during weekend brunch times.
Pete’s on Green is a new spot in North Beach, and it’s pimped out with 11 new huge HDTV’s. This place was made for March Madness. In addition to TV’s everywhere you look, they have an impressive assortment of craft beers (in addition to the normal stuff), variety of wines and signature cocktails, as well as a menu with both classic and upscale pub food. Pete’s has been open for less than a month, so go check it out before it loses its new bar smell.
10. Fisherman’s Wharf: Brick & Beam
555 N Point St
San Francisco, CA 94133
Brick & Beam game schedule
When you find yourself in Fisherman’s Wharf during March Madness, head over to Brick & Beam at the Hyatt Hotel. The place underwent a complete renovation recently but includes the original beams from its Wharf roots. Inside, you’ll find 10 huge HD TV’s showing every sport and game available, speakers available at every table so you can listen to the game you want, as well as a full bar and very friendly service. The crowd is a mix of tourists and locals given its location. The menu is much better than typical hotel food, and regulars love the nachos and flatbread.
This Irish pub in Noe Valley is a favorite amongst local sports fans. There’s plenty of natural light, high ceilings and lots of outdoor patio space for hanging out on nice days. The March Madness crew will appreciate the vast beer selection (many on tap) and tons of TV’s (we lost count at 15). Purdue and Arizona State fans gather here to cheer on their teams, but you can be sure there will be fans of all kinds joining in the fun. They serve upscale pub food and did we mention the beer selection?
Dr Teeth is a staple Mission bar with several large TV’s, good drinks and upscale bar food. They have a large patio where you can watch games outside when the weather is good. For March Madness, you’ll find a strong Ohio State crowd here, but there are enough TV’s for fans of all teams. Overall, this is a solid spot for games in the Mission. Regulars recommend the bottomless mimosas, tater tots and wings.
Calling itself “a fusion experiment combining a modern taqueria with sports”, the Taco Shop delivers the best of both experiences. Owner NIck Fasanella has worked at multiple James Beard restaurants and created a signature crispy taco that has gained a cult following. For March Madness, this bar is home base for University of Michigan fans. However, given that they have 10 big screen TV’s and will be showing every game during the tournament, it’s a great spot regardless of which team you support. For food, get tacos (obviously) and we’ve heard the guac is pretty great too.
Blackthorn was voted Best Irish Bar of 2015 at the Nitey Awards and we concur. With 20 huge TV’s and 21 beers on tap, this is the ultimate place for March Madness in the Inner Sunset. And if that is not enough to convince you, they have a spirits menu with 80 varieties of scotch, whiskey, bourbon and tequila. In case you get hungry, they sell bar snacks or you can order from local restaurants that deliver.
15. West Portal: Philosopher’s Club
824 Ulloa St
San Francisco, CA 94127
Philosopher’s Club game schedule
If you live in West Portal and you love sports, you’re in luck because one of the best neighborhood sports bars is in your backyard. The Philly Club is a friendly dive bar with a jukebox that is a favorite with local sports fans. Reasonable prices and friendly bartenders make this a great local spot to catch games during March Madness.