Where to go Mad

“Where should we go to watch the March Madness tournament?”

I’m asked this question a lot this time of year. The easy answer is, it doesn’t matter—every sports book and casino bar in town will be jumping. But that advice can be refined.

If you haven’t experienced being in a sports book for the tournament, you need to give it a try, especially on the opening two days when the games begin early and run one after another all day long. The books air every one of them in real time and it’s quite the scene, because different customers concentrate on different games and the cheering, or groaning, is constant. The Super Bowl is good; this is better.

Again, all the sports books will be jammin’, but you’ll do better by avoiding the major casinos on the Strip (not as many deals there). The exceptions are the new Cantor Gaming books at the Tropicana and the Cosmopolitan. Cantor is the new big dog in Nevada sports betting, and it does it right. So if you’ve been looking for a reason to check out the Cosmo or the ongoing renovations at the Trop, you can kill two birds here.

Two strong plays are the Gold Coast and South Point. The Gold Coast is holding viewing parties all weekend with dollar dogs and $2 drafts. South Point is also doing dollar dogs and $2.50 Buds (when you buy a bucket); plus there’s an excellent deli in the sports book and the new Steak & Shake burger joint.

The Palms is where I’ve set up personally the past couple of years. This year it is offering $1 Miller in the bottle and $1 Nathan’s hot dogs. And if you want to get fancy, you can pay $20 to hang all day in the Playboy Club.

I’ll also throw M Resort and Green Valley Ranch into the mix. M is another Cantor book, buzzing with a younger crowd hanging out at the awesome 32 Degrees Draft Bar (where bottled beers are just $3 now, due to a 24/7 resort-wide price reduction at M’s bars). Green Valley Ranch has one of the city’s great sports book gems in the table area next to the bar.

Rebels fans, your game tips off at 6:20 Friday evening. I’m guessing the Born and Raised bar at Warm Springs Road and Buffalo Drive is gonna rock.