College basketball is a game of tradition. Fans line up days before a big game to make sure they get good seats, they do the same chants, wave their arms in the same way and cheer the same way all in an effort to propel their team to victory. The food fans eat is also a big part of the tradition, whether before the game, at it or after it.
There is one small problem, though, with college basketball food traditions: the weather. It's cold outside and, while football breeds legendary tailgating and outdoor eating, college basketball fans are stuck indoors. Fortunately, the basketball arena itself or your local watering hole, restaurant or sports bar is there to be the cornerstone of your basketball eating traditions. Here are just a few of the more popular food destinations in great basketball cities.
Free State is a local microbrewery in Lawrence that's almost always packed full of hungry and thirsty Jayhawks. Known across eastern Kansas for its excellent ales, including the hoppy Ad Astra ale, Free State has been a Lawrence hangout for decades. It's located on one end of Massachusetts Street, a five-block area in Lawrence filled with restaurants, bars and eclectic stores, making it a wonderful place to grab a good dinner and a beer before catching a bus to campus, cheering the Jayhawks to another home victory and then returning for a postgame celebration.
Eskimo Joe's is an institution in Stillwater with a national reputation because of its simple, but always recognizable T-shirts with the Eskimo logo and sled dog logo. Eskimo Joe's is a multistory, multibar, multi-TV eating-and-drinking establishment that is perfect for Cowboy fans to get to before, during or after the game. The food is amazing, the drinks cool and the merchandise is legendary. Game days usually feature food and drink specials, and the atmosphere gives Cowboys and Cowgirls plenty of reasons to stay and party long after the drinking is over.
Perhaps eating KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut during a game isn't the most gourmet of food traditions. Still, when you're at a stadium named after the YUM! brands (the owners of KFC, Pizza Hut, etc.) you know that you'll be able to eat well at one of the stadium's concession stands which will sell you a Taco Bell taco, a Pizza Hut pizza, etc. Plus, KFC YUM! Center is fairly unique in that not a lot of basketball arenas are sponsored by large food concerns. At the very least, the presence of so many YUM! foods means you'll never have to eat stale nachos and that weird yellow cheese.
Players tops the list of the best sports bars in California, which is no small feat given the huge number of places where one can catch a game in the Golden State. However, San Diego gets high marks because of its proximity to one of the best emerging college basketball programs in the nation (San Diego State University). Players, though, gets high marks not for its local clientele, but for the fact it always keeps some of its large number of TV screens tuned to games from the Universities of Missouri, Texas, Illinois, and North Carolina, giving visitors and people who move to San Diego a little taste of home. Try their fried green beans and a burger when you drop in.
Located within stumbling distance of LSU's Pete Maravich Center, Walk-On's is a local chain of sports bars named after three LSU walk-ons (two of who happen to be the bars' owners.) Walk-On's is perfect for getting some postgame grub because of its proximity to campus and because it prides itself on being a center of food and fun for all LSU sports fans. Some of the fun may not be of the family-friendly variety, but that doesn't mean that the adventure seekers and college-students-at-heart won't find a great meal at the place voted Best Sports Bar by ESPN.
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