Go Bruins! 4 Sports Bars for Final Four Showdown

— by Caroline on Crack

John W. McDonough/SI

I’m not a huge college basketball fan, but I am a Bruin and the fact that UCLA hasn’t made it into the Final Four since I lived in Westwood has incited even me to consider braving a Westside sports bar this Saturday in support of my team.

But the closest I’d dare to get to my alma mater for a game is Q’s Billiards on Wilshire. I’ve watched a couple of big showdowns there before and they convert the downstairs pool hall into the ultimate viewing room for sporting events with a huge television screen the size of a mini movie theater screen and pool-tables-turned-dining-tables. And if that room is too packed for you, there’s always upstairs or the many TVs hanging over the bar. With all the fried bar food you can order, a nice variety of beers bottled and on tap and Bruins abound, it could be the ultimate place to cheer UCLA on.
11835 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90025
(310) 477-7550
Cross Street: Granville Avenue_

The last time I watched a big game in Yankee Doodles in Santa Monica was long ago when the Lakers were winning the playoffs every year so I vaguely remember what it was like. Now, I wouldn’t watch the game here, myself, as this bar/restaurant in the middle of a tourist destination can get really crazy. But with tourist-fans cheering the opposing team, it might fuel the fun of watching the game. And the good thing about 3rd Street is you wouldn’t really have to worry about having to find parking with all the available parking garages.

_1410 Third Street Promenade
Santa Monica, California 90401
_ (310) 394-4632
Cross Street: Santa Monica Boulevard

Barney’s Beanery ****in Santa Monica is just up the street from Yankee Doodles, and my friends always like to go here to watch “The Big Game” of whichever season. With about 132 different imported and domestic beers and rows of TV screens as well as an extensive menu of stomach-gurgling bar food, it’s no wonder that, according to the bar/restaurant’s Web site, it was voted the “#1 place to watch sports in the L.A. area.” By whom? Who knows? But sounds good.

1351 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, California 90401
(310) 656-5777
Cross Street: Santa Monica Boulevard

I like to think of Busby’s as a sports bar for grown-ups, young professionals and, as the bar’s site says, “single upper-middle income earners,” aka those who don’t mind paying a little more for their beer and bar food. La-dee-dah! There’s ample booth seating and 25 plasma TV screens for your viewing enjoyment. On Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 2pm they throw a brunch fer goodness’ sake. No idea if they’re planning to do anything special for game day, but I’d feel weird about wearing a jersey to a sports bar with a dress code anyway.

3110 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, California 90404
(310) 828-4567
Cross Street: Centinela Avenue