Hoops and hops, tip off and taps, basketball, and beer – some things just go together perfectly.
There’s no better time of year to enjoy a few drinks with friends, chow down Buffalo style, and watch basketball than March Madness. If you’re in town and headed to KeyBank Center this Thursday and Saturday for live action (and even if you’re not) here’s a list of SOB recommended bars and restaurants in the city, worth the drive, and on your way in or out of town where you can enjoy the little things in life – booze and basketball, obv.
Looking for things to do besides eating and drinking your face off? Check out The Best Events & Activities in Buffalo During March Madness.
Close to KeyBank Center
Pearl Street Grill & Brewery
76 Pearl Street, Buffalo NY 14202
9 min walk from KeyBank Center
Pearl Street Brewery and sports just one awesome combination. A Sabres fan favorite before and after games, Pearl Street brews its own beer and rarely disappoints. Sore from shoveling this week? Pearl Street will hook you up with their Lake Effect American Pale Ale. Watching your bracket get busted? They’ve got a Trainwreck Amber Ale with your name on it.😂 No matter your beer choice, be sure to order fish tacos to go with it and then sit back, cheer loud and enjoy.
Ballyhoo Links & Drinks
211 South Park Ave, Buffalo NY 14204
7 min walk from KeyBank Center
I’ve fondly referred to Ballyhoo in the past as a hidden gem of a sports bar. But, it’s probably not fair to call it hidden anymore as nearly every sports fan / beer lover I meet knows of the awesome downtown bar. Ballyhoo’s beer list is always changing and always outstanding – let the bartenders know what you like and they’ll hook you up. The bar is also famous for their housemade sausages (Get the TJ Dawg!) and mac and cheese that melts in your mouth. Given that Ballyhoo is just steps away from KeyBank Center, you’ll be able to watch the action and almost hear the roar of the crowds in the stadium if you’re not lucky enough to be inside.
716 Food and Sport
7 Scott Street Buffalo NY 14203
4 min walk from KeyBank Center
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “If only I had a 38-foot tall TV that could show me one game or several all at once, I could really enjoy March Madness,” then 716 Food & Sport is your place. Come to cheer on your favorite team on the big screen and then stay for another round of games and nosh on their Buffalo staples like Roast Beef on Weck, Buffalo Wings and Blue Cheese Chips. 716 always has Buffalo’s staple beers on tap and they rotate in local microbrews, too. It’s a sports lovers dream come true and a great place to watch the games this weekend.
199 Scott Street, Buffalo NY 14204
11 min walk / 3 min drive from KeyBank Center
Looking for another under celebrated Buffalo bar to fall in love with? Check out the Mahony in the old Fairmont Creamery building. Their lunch menu offers delicious options like Chorizo Stuffed Jalapenos, Pork Verde tacos and their famous burritos (try the Shredded Beef Colorado – you’re welcome!). They also have a long bar with great TV viewing areas from which to order your favorite beer and enjoy the games.
Pizza Plant @ Canalside
5 min walk from KeyBank Center
125 Main St, Buffalo NY 14203
Home of “The Pod”, a calzone-like pizza thing, plus they’ve got regular pizza and other stuff too. If you’ve got kids of any age in tow this is the perfect pre or post-game stop. Pizza Plant is original, delicious, and has a beer list worth talking about (and drinking from). The space, menu, and service is uber family-friendly *and* equally perfect for a casual date night or adult get together, plus it’s only a quick walk from the arena. Did we mention the price is very right?
Worth The Drive
555 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo NY 14222
14 min drive from KeyBank Center
Thirsty Buffalo is a quintessential sports bar. There are TVs everywhere (you’re literally surrounded), 20+ taps and one of Buffalo’s best happy hours. It’s a staple for March Madness action and Thirsty Buffalo is currently offering popular brews like Big Ditch Deep Cut IPA, Bells Two Hearted Ale, and Flying Bison Rusty Chain to whet your whistle. The food is all-star status as well with a Brunch Burger, Classic Reuben, and Chicken Parmesan all ready to excite your taste buds.
153 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo
12 min drive from KeyBank Center
Pasión is buzzin’ with energy and the beat of Latin music flows through the crowd as smiling servers deliver the goods. The food is simple and delicious, packed with a lot of flavor. You can check off the great value box too. This isn’t a sports bar, so if you’re looking for that, stick with Thirsty Buffalo. If you’re up for more of a food experience or a cuisine other than American, this is your stop.
Deep South Taco
291 Ellicott St Buffalo NY 14203
7 min drive from KeyBank Center
This place has an upbeat atmosphere and full menu of tacos. The service is quick, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long for a table. The Tex-Mex menu features house-made tortillas filled with charred and braised meats, fresh vegetables and spicy sauces. The ingredients are decidedly steeped in the traditional flavors found along Donald Trump’s favorite border, but in modern preparations that might not be found at local Mexican-owned restaurants.
With lights tucked into every nook and cranny, the décor at Deep South Taco seems like the perfect prescription for the Seasonal Affected Disorder that blows across Buffalo every winter. The restaurant also features a vintage stereo system built around playing vinyl records, a touch that will no doubt be appreciated by the touring musicians stopping in from Mohawk Place across the street.
Resurgence Brewing Co.
1250 Niagara Street, Buffalo NY 14213
10 min drive from KeyBank Center
One of our favorite hangouts if you’re in need of a beer and a chill atmosphere. They have a long list of beers brewed in house – if you’re from out of town you simply must try the Sponge Candy Stout and the Loganberry Wit, two beers brewed in honor of hometown favorites. Their food menu is more chill than some, but you can definitely grab a snack and relax while watching a couple flat screens and sitting on beer hall style seating.
On the Way Out
Ebenezer Ale House
4348 Seneca Street, West Seneca NY 14224
19 min drive from KeyBank Center
Home to Rusty Nickel Brewing and 21 ever-changing taps, the Ebenezer Ale House knows beer and serves it up perfectly. They’re ready for hoops fans and St. Patrick’s Day celebrators this weekend with great beers like the Hamburg Irish Red and the Resurgence Irish Breakfast Ale. Happy hour runs from 3-7 Friday (there will be a lot of games happening at that time) and Ebenezer Ale House is also ready with baked pretzel sticks, wings, BBQ chicken salads and amazing sandwiches and burgers.
5759 Main St, Williamsville NY 14221
23 min drive from KeyBank Center
Okay so this one is not a bar, but hoop fans have to eat too right? This brand new spin-off restaurant of one of our favorites on the west side opened a few months back in Williamsville. Sun is the home of black rice sushi and always kills it when it comes to mouthwatering Asain food, service, and prices. If you’re open to trying new things and are favorable toward Asian fusion, you literally cannot go wrong here. Head to any of the nearby Williamsville Bars (try Moor Pat!) afterwards for your beer & b-ball.
20 Monroe Street, Ellicottville NY 14731
1 hr 5 min drive from KeyBank Center
After a week of snow storms, maybe you’re thinking about taking this Friday off to ski down in Ellicottville at Holiday Valley or Holimont. It’s a good idea, but you’ll want a spot to stop after hitting the slopes to enjoy a beer and watch some hoops action. Balloons is a staple in Ellicottville with great beer and menu options including their Cajun Chicken Alfredo, Hickory Smoked BBQ Chicken Sandwich and delicious wings aplenty.
Brickyard Pub & BBQ
432 Center Street Lewiston NY 14092
43 min drive from KeyBank Center
If a great combo isn’t quite enough and you’re looking for basketball, beer, and BBQ this week take a drive to Lewiston and check out the Brickyard Pub & BBQ. Offering a beer list full of your favorites, Brickyard can also pair them with mouthwatering options like a Brickyard BBQ Pulled Pork Melt or a Beef Brisket Sandwich. They also have desserts including their Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie or Mile High Apple Cack to dig into to celebrate your team’s victory.