By Candace Byington and Chris Watson
It’s that time of year to gather around cheer on college basketball. March madness is upon us! The most likely place to enjoy the games are at a sports bar. What if you and a partner wish to enjoy March Madness but do not enjoy the ambiance of the sports bar? You want to see the game but not indulge in fried food or standard bar fare? Toledo offers several alternatives to the standard deep-fried, cheddar cheese covered scene.
Even though Mutz,(http://www.mbaybrew.com/mutz-sports-bar/) located in the basement of the historic Oliver House is listed as a sports bar, it offers so much more. There is a full menu of salads, daily soups, sandwiches and of course handcrafted brews from the Maumee Bay Brewing Company as well as an assortment of wine and mixed drinks. The atmosphere is relaxed. During certain nights of the week you can hear open mic featuring local talent and karaoke. The bar has a heated courtyard in the center of the Oliver House for dining and socializing that offers a vastly different atmosphere than the standard sports bar. Plus there is a legend that the Oliver House is haunted-you may see a ghost while watching the game!
A few blocks away from the Oliver House is the Blarney Irish Pub (https://www.theblarneyirishpub.com/) next door to the Mud Hen’s Stadium. This is another excellent venue to watch the game and enjoy Irish and American food as well the atmosphere of downtown Toledo. There are a few televisions positioned in the bar area. During the week there is live music if you need a break from basketball as well as a patio that faces the baseball stadium.
The Attic on Adams (http://www.theatticonadams.com/) is yet another unlikely spot to enjoy the game during the week. Located above Mano’s Greek restaurant, you and a partner can gather and enjoy the pub menu or the full menu from Mano’s while taking in the game. Excellent choice if you or your partner prefer lighter fare or vegetarian delights such as falafel and hummus. There are various micro-brews on tap as well spirits.
Finally, one of the most unlikely places to enjoy March Madness is La Fiesta in Maumee (http://lafiestarestaurante.com/). La fiesta features daily specials, currently has specials for Lent on Fridays, has a full menu of traditional Mexican favorites from quesadillas to fajitas and fried ice cream as well as vegetarian dishes- and of course there are a wide variety of margaritas. The bar portion of the restaurant features several flat screen televisions a few tuned to college basketball,while the others tuned to soccer from Mexico or ESPN in Spanish.
Although not strictly a sports bar Doc Watson’s has several TV’s on both sides of their wide and accessible bar. Besides sports they have great food. Sure, they have the usual pub fair but they also have a wide variety of “meals” and other favorites that will satisfy any appetite. Don’t hesitate to try the Chicken Koster. Plus they have music late on weekends!
The little sports bar that keeps growing now has 4 locations. Pretty straight forward pub fair but a great atmosphere plus lots of ways to watch the game. Locations include two in Toledo, one over the border in Michigan, and one in Maumee.
Pretty much just crazy grilled cheese sandwiches. We are not sure anything else needs to be said. Except for the grilled cheese shooters. They need to be mentioned as well.
But what if you don’t like basketball? You want to ditch the significant other and escape to someplace where people will be hanging on every play in the outside hope that they can win their office bracket pool? Not a problem. Try these “escape” venues for a basketball free experience
Yes, it is a bit of a drive but totally worth it. Live music, excellent Ohio made wine (M. Oak is a working winery, not just a winter) plus craft made beers. Check there web site as they also have food trucks visit over the weekend.
The food here is off the hood and no one is going to force you to watch sports. Great music from excellent local artists as well. Worth a visit during the Madness of March or any time.
Now with two locations (Central Ave and downtown on Madison) this is one of our favorite sushi places. Don’t be scared off, however. If sushi isn’t your thing the specials, meals, and udon noodle bowls are top notch as well.
No need to argue about what to eat or where to go! Get out and see the game or escape for the Madness! Support your local Toledo restaurants!