Basketball fans across Alabama, it’s time to gear up and set the game plan for March Madness. The annual tournament to name the best teams in men’s and women’s college basketball starts March 20 (women’s) and March 21 (men’s) and ends in early April.

Watching games with a rowdy crowd at a local sports bar is the next best thing to attending in person. And sports bars provide luxuries you won’t get while watching at home—table service for drinks and food, and someone to clean up after you.

Of course, you can try the out-of-state chains located all over Alabama, like Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux, Buffalo Wild Wings, Hooter’s, or Twin Peaks. Such places, including Nashville-based Sam’s Sport Grill in Florence, are super choices to watch the game.

But for a locally-owned destination, here are some homegrown sports bars. Don’t forget taprooms at local breweries; most throw watch parties for the college basketball tournament—and many of the conference tournaments that precede it.


Baumhower’s Victory Grille

Locations: Troy, Foley, Huntsville, Vestavia Hills, Tuscaloosa (Harper Lee Drive, Courtney Drive), Montgomery, Daphne, Mobile, Auburn.

Game grub: Bob Baumhower, the former Crimson Tide All-American and NFL All-Pro introduced Alabama to Buffalo-style chicken wings when he opened his first restaurant in 1981. Baumhower’s huge menu even includes sandwiches wrapped in Indian-style naan bread. The cocktail, wine, and beer selection is draft-worthy, too.

TVs: Everywhere.


Diamonds Sports Bar

Location: Huntsville (Memorial Parkway)

Game grub: As they put it: beer and bones. Sandwiches, tacos, and nachos, too.

TVs: Everywhere.


Flora-Bama Ole River Grill

Location: The Alabama-Florida state line (Perdido Key Drive)

Game grub: You’ll find loaded tots and other apps, sandwiches (numerous seafood options), baskets, and oysters served fresh-shucked or grilled. Drinks include Bushwackers and other frozen treats, as well as beer.

TVs: With 40 televisions, you’ll get a good view.


Halftime Sports Grill

Locations: Lincoln (Magnolia Street).

Game grub: Menu features wings and other bar food, burgers, barbecue (including rib tips), and salads, exclusively. It’s OK. Customers say they are all slam dunks.

TVs: Limited.


Halftime Sports Bar and Grill

Location: Auburn (North College Street).

Game grub: Wings, baskets, burgers, sandwiches/wraps, snacks including gator bites and Cajun boiled peanuts. Drinks include craft brews, U.S. and Mexican macro beers, and cocktails.

TVs: Numerous.


Heroes Sports Bar and Grill

Locations: Mobile (Hillcrest Road and Dauphin Street downtown).

Game grub: Burgers, wings, combo baskets, dips.

TVs: Plenty of choices.


On Tap

Locations: Birmingham (Inverness), Vestavia Hills (Liberty Park).

Game grub: The wing’s the thing on the food menu, which includes bar apps, burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, and salads. Each location has more than 80 beer and cider taps, plus canned and bottled brews, cocktails, and wine.

TVs: Everywhere.


The Houndstooth

Location: Tuscaloosa (University Boulevard)

Game grub: Bar snacks (Conecuh in a Blanket!), wings, burgers, and sandwiches. The whiskey list—full pours or samples—is three pages long—‘nuff said for the overall libation situation.

TVs: Everywhere.


The Refinery

Location: Birmingham (Lakeview).

Game grub: Upscale appetizers, sandwiches, and entrees including whole chicken wings. Drink options include on-demand espresso martinis from a machine.

TVs: Numerous.


Uptown Sports Bar

Location: Eufaula (East Broad Street).

Game grub: Wings are a specialty. The menu also is packed with bar snacks and dips, burgers, chicken tenders in various formats, and salads. Desserts include fried doughnuts and cheesecake. Look for basic beer and mixed drinks.

TVs: Enough to call itself a sports bar.


Winger’s Sports Bar and Grill

Location: Montgomery (Dexter Avenue).

Game grub: Fried rice meets bar food and fried fish on the menu.

TVs: Numerous.


YoHo Rum and Tacos

Location: Gulf Shores (Wharf Parkway).

Game grub: The menu features bar food, tacos, quesadillas, wings, and entrees. The drink menu is heavy with rum and tequila drinks including multiple variations on mojitos and margaritas, plus mixed and frozen drinks (including, of course, a Bushwacker). The beer list is mostly macros, but includes Muchacho lager from Good People in Birmingham.

TVs: More than 30 TVs.


Zeppelin’s at Hanger 38

Location: Dothan (Ross Clark Circle).

Game grub: Pizza, sushi, apps, burgers, wings, sandwiches, tacos, bowls, and entrees. Beer and cocktails are a draw with the home crowd.

TVs: The hangout with a full-service restaurant, arcade games, and a bowling alley also gets high marks as a place to watch sports.