March Madness in Napa Valley: Where to Watch, Eat, and Drink

Crush Ultra Lounge

Bowling Lanes at Crush Ultra Lounge, One of Many Choices for Viewing March Madness Games

It’s March Madness time!  Selection Sunday was yesterday (Gaels! Bears!), the women’s teams were announced today (Cardinal! Bears!), and it’s time to start planning where to watch the games.  If you’re in Napa Valley, we’re here to tell you the best places to view the NCAA games, have a few drinks, and enjoy good food while you’re there.  There are plenty of bars in the area with a TV but we’ve narrowed our list to places with large screen TVs, good food, and plenty of room for you to take your friends along (or to make some new ones).

Depending on what you’re in the mood for, one of the destinations below should meet your needs.  Some have a full bar, some only serve beer and wine.  One of these places is a microbrewery, and two of them don’t charge a corkage fee if you bring your own wine.  The food options include Burger and Fries, Fish and Chips, Fajitas Nachos, and Pizza.  Or, if that doesn’t sound good today, other options below include Steamed Mussels, Beef Carpaccio, Clam Chowder, Tortilla Soup, Caesar Salad and Shrimp Pappardelle.

Starting at the south end of Napa County and heading north, these are your best bets for watching the NCAA Division 1 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships:

Mark's Sports Bistro

Mark’s Sports Bistro

1) Mark’s Sports Bistro110 West American Canyon Road, Suite L, American Canyon (in the Canyon Corners Plaza)  (707-561-0093)

At the south end of Napa County, Mark and Sarah Beland opened their casual sports-themed restaurant in 2011. You want TVs? They have TVs. In the main dining area there are 10 televisions, including 2 large screen TVs that are 105″ each. In the separate bar area you’ll find a large horseshoe bar counter with 5 more TVs on the wall. Mark’s also has a pool table, in case you need something to do between games.

Bar:  Beer/Wine only

Food: All-American Bar Food. Wings (5 flavors to choose from with 4 dipping sauce options), Skins, Chili Cheese Fries, Philly Cheese Fries, Dogs, and Burgers. Sandwich choices include Turkey Clubhouse, BBQ Beef, Angus Roast Beef Dip, Steak Sandwich, and a Philly Cheesesteak.  If you want a Veggie Burger or a salad, they have those too.

March Madness Specials: No specials for March Madness, but you may be able to enjoy their usual Happy Hour Specials: Monday through Friday, from 3:30 to 7:00, you can buy draft pints for $3 or pitchers for $12. Also, their appetizers are buy one get one 1/2 off.

2) Crush Ultra Lounge875 Bordeaux Way, Napa (at the Meritage Resort and Spa) (707-251-1900)

Near the center of the Meritage Resort at the south end of Napa is an interesting spot for drinking, sports entertainment, and bowling all under one roof.  That’s right, there are six luxury bowling lanes to fill your time between games at this split-level establishment with 11 TVs.  If you need more distractions, there are also a shuffleboard table and a pool table.

Bar: Full Bar

Food:  Standard Bar and Lounge food including Burger, Fries, Chicken Wings, Reuben, Pulled Pork Sliders, and five Paninis (Artisan Cheese; Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella; Grilled Chicken; Ham or Turkey).

March Madness Specials:  During March Madness games (March 19 to April 8) drink specials include $5 for Napa Smith Porter, Stoli Well Drinks, and a selected Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.  Pitchers of Beer are $15.  Food specials include $5 for Pork Sliders and Fries, Ahi Tuna Nachos, Clams, or Mussels.

Downtown Joe's

Downtown Joe’s

3) Downtown Joe’s Brewery and Restaurant902 Main Street, Napa  (707-258-2337)

This brewhouse next to the Napa River specializes in California renditions of traditional British ales. You can watch the game here on 9 different TVs, including 3 large screens, in a typical neighborhood bar/brewhouse atmosphere.

Bar: Full Bar, as well as their handcrafted beers – Golden Ribbon Pale Ale, Tail Waggin’ Amber Ale, Tantric IPA, and Oatmeal Stout are examples

Food: American Grill fare. Your choices include Fried Calimari, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Clam Chowder, Buffalo Wings, Fish & Chips, Steak Sandwich, and multiple Burger choices. They also have some salads.

March Madness Specials:  No March Madness Specials planned at this time, but you may be able to enjoy their usual Happy Hour specials: Monday through Friday, from 3:00 to 6:00, your options include $3 pints of their handcrafted ales, $5 well drinks, and a $5 glass of wine of the day.

4) Norman Rose Tavern1401 1st Street, Napa (707-258-1516)

The bar area at this popular downtown restaurant has about 12 barstools and some standing room with a clear view of 2 large screen TVs. There is also a back room with another TV that is sometimes opened up for patrons when the crowds get large enough.

Bar:  Full Bar

Food: Pub Fare, Wine-Country Style.  You can order Fries five different ways here (Sea Salt & Black Pepper, BBQ, Truffle & Parmesan, Chili & Cheese, or Pork Sausage Gravy & Cheddar Cheese). Other choices include Salads, an All Beef Hot Dog, Burger with Five Dot Ranch Beef, Fried Chicken Sandwich, Snapper Sandwich, Grilled Cheese, or Fish & Chips.

March Madness Specials: No March Madness Specials planned at this time, but you may be able to enjoy their usual Happy Hour specials: Monday through Friday, from 3:00 to 6:00, you can get $4 draft beers, $6 glass of wine specials, $2.50 sliders, and Chipotle BBQ Riblets for $8 per pound.

5) Kitchen Door610 1st Street, Suite 24, Napa  (at the Oxbow Public Market) (707-226-1560)

This restaurant opened in 2011 from the former owners of Martini House in St. Helena. This casual restaurant has an open floor plan where you order at the counter and then sit wherever you want. There are 8 barstools in front of the bar facing one large screen TV, but there are a number of other tables and chairs which have a good line of sight to the TV as well.  If you bring your own wine, there is no corkage charge (unless your group is 8 or more).

Bar: Wine/Beer only

Food: Multi-Ethnic Comfort Food. You can choose between several Salads, Sandwiches, Pastas, and Flatbreads.  If that’s not working for you, other menu items include Beef Carpaccio, Rotisserie Chicken, Korean-Style Short Ribs, and a Kobe Burger.

March Madness Specials:  No March Madness Specials planned at this time, but you may be able to enjoy their usual Happy Hour specials Monday through Friday, between 3:00 and 5:30, and all day Wednesday. Drink specials include $3.50 draft beers and $6 wines on tap. Food specials include $30 for 25 Chicken Wings.

Compadres Rio Grill

Compadres Rio Grill

6) Compadres Rio Grille505 Lincoln Avenue, Napa  (707-253-1111)

This Mexican restaurant overlooks the Napa River with a large bar area holding five TVs.  Their tagline is “Western Cooking with a Mexican Accent” and there are a lot of food choices here.  Weekdays, they have a Progressive Margarita special where the price from 3:00 to 4:00 pm ($3 Margarita, $15 Pitcher) increases during the next hour ($4 Margarita, $18 Pitcher), and then  increases again for the 5:00 to 6:00 pm hour ($5 Margarita, $20 Pitcher).

Bar:  Full Bar

Food:  Extensive Mexican Menu.  Appetizers include Fresh Guacamole, Quesadillas, Nachos, Ceviche, Tortilla Soup, and Queso Fundido.  Entrée choices include Taco Salad, Fish Tacos, Fajitas, Carnitas, Burritos, and a wide range of Enchiladas.

March Madness Specials:  Beer Battered Onion Rings for $3.50, or Bacon and Roasted Poblano “Hush Puppies” served with Ranch Dressing for $4.50.  In addition, typical Happy Hour specials include “Top Shelf” Margaritas for $5 all day Mondays, Crispy Tacos Americanos for $1 on Tuesdays between 3:00 and 6:00 pm, and $3 Mai Tais with Complimentary Maui Style Potato Chip Nachos on Fridays between 3:00 and 6:00 pm.

7) VINeleven3425 Solano Avenue, Napa (at the Napa Valley Marriott) (707-253-8600)

In the Spring of 2011, the Napa Valley Marriott had a major remodel of their dining areas and the former Character’s Sports Bar is no more. Instead, the dining areas now include multiple seating areas both indoors and outdoors. The main dining room has a central U-shaped bar with 3 large TVs, and a separate lounge area with a fireplace has 2 more large screen TVs.

Bar: Full Bar

Food: High quality restaurant food with a seasonal focus, based on supporting local artisans.  The fish selections are sourced using the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guidelines. If you want casual food, your choices include Oysters, Bohemain Creamery Cheeses, Whole Leaf Caesar Salad, Five Dot Ranch Bacon Cheeseburger, Chicken Breast Sandwich, or BBQ Pork Ribs. If you are craving something a little more gourmet, you can enjoy Chickpea Fries, Lamb Meatballs, Duck Confit Salad, Sea Bass, or Ribeye.

March Madness Specials: No March Madness Specials planned at this time.

Pizzeria Tra Vigne

Pizzeria Tra Vigne

8) Pizzeria Tra Vigne1016 Main Street, St. Helena  (707-967-9999)

An offspring of the famous Tra Vigne restaurant, this casual pizzeria serves up authentic Neopolitan Pizzas baked up in a handmade brick oven.  At one end of the restaurant is a Wide Screen TV with 2 tables and 3 booths, next to 7 chairs at the bar facing another TV.  The restaurant has no corkage fees if you bring your own wine.

Bar: Wine/Beer only

Food: Primarily Pizzas, Salads, Pasta, and Panini.  Pizzas include Margherita (Mozzarella and Basil), Ducati (Italian Sausage and Mushrooms), Funghi (Crimini, Shitake and Beach Mushrooms), or Create Your Own.  Salads include a Caesar, served either in a bowl or on an Oven-Baked Flat Bread, Piadine-style.  Pastas include Spaghetti, Ravioli, or Pappardelle with Tiger Prawns.

March Madness Specials:  No March Madness Specials planned at this time.

We hope the information above helps you find a place (or places) for your viewing enjoyment during March Madness 2013.  Who knows, you may even be able to check out more than one before the final game on April 8.



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