Gearing up for upsets, buzzer beaters and bragging rights with others in your bracket? Nothing beats the excitement that is March Madness. The first round begins Mar. 12 and will carry through to Apr. 3, making for countless opportunities to grab the kids and get in on the action. But where to go? Here are our picks for the top nine spots in Portland and surrounding areas that are kid-, parent- and b-ball friendly.
photo: Brady Kennedy via The Independent
The Independent Bar & Grill
With a children’s menu (the owner’s kids love the pretzels and hot dogs!), 32 big screen HD TV’s, a giant 9′ by 6′ projection screen and their own bracket—this kid-friendly sports spot might just be your March Madness headquarters. Enjoy food and drink specials along with prizes during the tourney. They are also the home bar to University of Arizona and Michigan State if you’re looking for fellow fans! Little ones are welcome until 10 p.m.
225 SW Broadway #100
Insider tip: Happy hour takes place weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and offers beer, liquor and food specials.
photo: National Joshographic via flickr
Giving you the opportunity to play, party and watch all in one location, Big Al’s is a great place to bring the whole team. Between 42 bowling lanes, shuffleboard, billiards and even a 7,000-square-foot arcade, Big Al’s is a mainstay that entertains children and adults of all ages—even if they don’t have an attention span to last an entire game. With a special kids’ menu, arena-style seating and a 55-foot HD projection screen, you’ve got the ideal place to catch a game or two while having some fun. Last year they had beer and drink specials plus games, prizes and more!
photo: Thomas Le Ngo via flickr
Portland’s destination for sports, Blitz Ladd has 32 TVs and superior service so you won’t miss a thing. With an arcade, games, and one of those challenging plush toy machines there’s fun for everyone. If your game is on during happy hour you can enjoy $1 off all draft beers and well drinks. Swish! They boast 36 beers on draft including local award winning craft brews. This spot is open to minors until 9 p.m.
2239 SE 11th Ave.
Insider tip: Happy hour takes place daily from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and offers drink and food specials.
photo: Matt Flores via flickr
YNot Have Fun
They asked and we can’t figure out an answer. There’s countless reasons to have fun at YNOT: laser tag, arcade games, grill, and a bar. While there are no age or height limits for laser tag they recommend being over the age of six because the packs are about 6 lbs. With laser tag games that last 25 minutes and generally no reservation required for parties under 12, it’s a great way to start your own kind of madness or finish the night off. Fuel up your games with their sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, or salads.
6540 SW Fallbrook Pl.
Insider tip: Happy hour takes place everyday 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Migration Brewing is all about making moves towards your dreams and your beer. This neighborhood favorite is a great spot for the whole family to enjoy not only March Madness but Timbers and Blazers games. Just celebrating their 7th anniversary, this brewery reps straightforward pub grub (mac and cheese & chicken sandwiches) that will appeal to all ages. Just a heads up, in the case that a Timbers game overlaps, as this establishment is firmly RCTID (Rose City til I Die). Minors are welcome until 8 p.m.
2828 NE Glisan St.
Insider tip: Happy hour takes place weekdays 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and offers beer, wine and food specials.
photo: Spirit of ’77 via Yelp
Spirit of ’77
Named for the spirited 1977 season the Trail Blazers had with Bill Walton leading the legitimization of Portland as a sports city, this is a great spot to watch others make history this season. We recommend you bring bigger kids (who’re old enough to safely navigate the tall bar stool seating) to enjoy the game with you. From The Buzzer Beater Basketball Arcade to skee-ball, and pinball to “Baby Foot” foosball there’s plenty to do if kids get a little restless. Minors are allowed until 10 p.m., so go ahead and cheer for overtime.
500 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.
Insider tip: Happy hour takes place weekdays 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and offers drink specials.
Buffalo Wild Wings
When you have multiple games to watch, you need multiple TVs to watch them on. With 30 plus flat screen TVs across the dining room and the bar at this official hangout for NCAA sports you won’t miss a thing. There are eight locations in the Vancouver and surrounding Portland areas, each offering fan favorites for food. Wings of course being their specialty, their menu has something for everyone on the team. They have high chairs and boosters for your shorter players, plus cute little crowns for kids (or adults feeling like having some fun).
photo: Stephanie-Rose Revels via flickr
Skybox Pub & Grill
Is your home team in Sellwood? Since 1999, this neighborhood staple has been the go-to sports bar. They come with a stacked lineup featuring a non-smoking, friendly atmosphere just three blocks from Westmoreland Park; 20 beers on tap and more than 18 TVs, including 92-inch and 102-inch projector screens. While they do not have a kid specific menu, everyone in your party is bound to find something they love with a classic menu that includes everything from burgers to sandwiches to salads (plus breakfast on weekends!).
7995 SE Milwaukie Ave.
Insider tip: Happy hour takes place weekdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. offering drink and food specials.
The Station is a local family-friendly restaurant that specializes in sports and pizza. Housed in a historic building that once supplied electricity to the area, their atmosphere is a perfect blend of what was with what is (five TV’s and two projector screens). They offer a full menu for adults and a separate one for kids, but we’re sure your kids will want to have at least a couple of bites of your hand tossed pizza cooked in their triple-decker pizza oven. You’ll be cheering both for your favorite team and their kids’ area complete with toys and games. Kiddos welcome until 9:30 p.m.
2703 NE Alberta St.
Insider tip: Happy hour takes place weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6p.m. and daily from 9:30 p.m. to close and offers drink and food specials
Where’s your go to spot for sports? Let us know in the comments!