NEW YORK CITY — Like some plush leather upholstery with your bout of March Madness?
While blaring televisions, sticky floors and rickety bar stools are what most of us have come to associate with the annual college basketball ritual, DNAinfo.com New York has scouted the city to uncover some sports bars that will bring an air of sophistication to proceedings, just in time for the NCAA championships which start on Thursday.
Upscale is the name of the game at Flatiron’s The Hill, which, while offering the comfort food that goes with any self-respecting spectator sport, also boasts a lush and intimate atmosphere that even the non-sports fans in your crew can appreciate. Check out sister bar and restaurant, The Ainsworth in the Midtown, which offers unobstructed views of their many HD TVs from any spot in the room.
High-rollers should head over to Bounce Sporting Club or The 40/40 Club. Both are offering special March Madness deals that will allow you to enjoy the games like a V.I.P. At their Upper East Side and Flatiron locations, Bounce keeps it exclusive: gather a group of friends and book a table or booth for a minimum spend of $750-$2000 on drinks and food (check the site for details). You’ll have plenty of elbow room and delicious bites and brews at your disposal — just be sure to book in advance.
Jay-Z’s plush 40/40 Club near Madison Square Park is also offering special group packages that range from $300 to $600 and include snacks, platters and buckets of beer. Expect an epic and immersive game-viewing experience where the screens loom as large as the H.O.V.A. himself.
If you long for the days when players were rocking the high-top Converse All-Stars on the court, go downtown to Warren 77 in TriBeCa. The green and white tiled walls of this intimate spot recall both an old-school locker-room and in some parts, a trendy Keith McNally creation. Locals love it and sports-obsessed hipsters love it even more.
Despite all the gentrification, Brooklyn is not short on sports bars. But Black Horse Pub in Park Slope promises to elevate the affair with its exposed brick interior and its menu's mix of bar staples and British and American cuisines. We hear great things about the selection of fries, which can come with a curry sauce, melted Vermont cheddar or housemade chili.
Woodwork in Prospect Heights is normally host to international ex-patriates who are willing to catch a soccer game at any hour of the day. But the establishment will welcome basketball fans during March Madness, offering a small, delectable assortment of gastropub fare, like the Cajun Bread Pudding and the Five Cheese Truffle Macaroni.
Flushing, Queens has its own swanky spot for spectator sports, guaranteed to please those in your party who want a glass of wine that doesn’t taste like it was bought off the rack at Duane Reade. Zebra Lounge and Sports Bar is top of the line in modern design, with a hypnotizing set of HD TVs that line the back of the bar and an equally enthralling menu of craft beers, custom cocktails and carefully selected sakes. VIP rooms are available for $40 to $100 per hour.
Staying in Sunnyside, Queens for your NCAA Championship viewing will be rewarded if you head over to Sidetracks — 20-year veteran establishment of the neighborhood. The recently updated lounge interior features 57 glowing lantern shades over the bar, lending an oddly sexy ambience to watching basketball while sipping on affordable pours.