This March, collegiate sports’ crown jewel the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, returns to downtown Buffalo. March Madness’ last visit to Western New York was back in 2014 and for many basketball fans and media alike, this year will mark their first time returning to the Queen City since.
Buffalo’s ongoing renaissance switched into high gear in the past few years with new bars, restaurants, and hotels popping up all over the downtown area. As a result, our basketball loving guests will have more choices on where to stay, what to do, and where to eat in between games. Let’s take a look at what’s new this time around!
The Canalside: After the games are over, basketball fans can take a quick walk down the street to Canalside. And weather permitting; our guests will be able to enjoy outdoor skating steps away from the arena in a picturesque, family friendly setting.
The Harbor Center: Completed at the tail end of 2014, the Harbor Center is the largest privately funded construction project completed in Buffalo. The building features two full size hockey rinks and has hosted the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine, 2016 NHL Draft, and several international hockey and sled hockey tournaments. The Harbor Center has placed Buffalo as the de facto capitol of USA hockey. But perhaps even more impressive than The Rinks, is the brand new Harbor Center Marriott, and 716 Food and Sport. Harbor Center Marriott is a state-of-the-art hotel offering its guests some of the best views of Buffalo’s evolving skyline. 716 features several bars, classic Buffalo cuisine, and one of the largest indoor televisions in the country! NCAA fans will be in awe of the world class facilities directly across from Key Bank Center and there is no doubt that Harbor Center is a great place to polish off a wing or two between sessions.
RiverWorks: This multi-use brewery, sports bar, restaurant, roller derby arena, skating/curling rink is Buffalo’s most distinctive new addition. Situated next to the old grain elevators (that will eventually house the venue’s own beer!) on the bank of the Buffalo River, Riverworks has left the concrete pillars and steel beams standing in the very shadow of the brand new construction that is the building itself. This mix of old and new is uniquely Buffalo and provides an interesting esthetic that also serves as a metaphor for Buffalo’s own rebirth. This huge venue offers sport and entertainment for kids and adults alike and is only 5 minutes from Key Bank Arena.
Micro Breweries – Hydraulic Hearth, Big Ditch Brewing Company, Resurgence Brewing Company: These three breweries have become a frequent destination for Buffalo beer-lovers. They all have room to accommodate the tourney-time rush. Big Ditch brews all their beers right on site at Ellicott and Huron. And while the beer is clearly the star, they do have a full menu of pub favorites so you have something to nibble on in between drinks. Hydraulic Hearth in the Larkin district has a limited menu of mostly pizza and appetizers, but more than makes up for that with its expansive beer and cocktail offerings. The games don’t end when the horn sounds at the arena, as Hydraulic Hearth features a large outdoor area for shuffleboard and other games. Resurgence features 17 beers on tap, life sized Jenga, corn-hole and a solid crop of appetizers to wash the beer down with. All of these great watering holes are less than 10 minutes from the Arena so NCAA patrons won’t have to go far to wet their whistles.
For the Foodies: In the event that some NCAA fans possess a more discerning pallet, not to be satiated by standard arena fair, we are prepared. Toutant, Oshun, and Buffalo Proper are new additions offering high end food and drink options. These establishments offer modern décor, an exceptional atmosphere and delicious entrees such as Lake Perch in a Seafood Paella (Oshun), Braised Burgundian Escargot (Proper), and Wood Grilled Gulf Red Drumfish on the Half Shell (Toutant). Pretty fancy!
The options above aren’t your thing, not to worry. Deep South Taco, Dinosaur BBQ, and Allen Burger Venture offer Mexican, BBQ and classic American food and they are excellent at it! The menus at these restaurants are full of creative twists on all your old favorites, doctoring up hamburgers, tacos and BBQ into something that feels brand new. The welcoming, fun-filled atmospheres make sure that you’ll leave both happy and full!
There is too much happening in downtown Buffalo to list every new addition, but it is clear that everyone visiting Western New York on March 16th-18th for the NCAA Tournament will have plenty of new things to try.
Win a pair of NCAA Basketball Tix!!!
Please make sure to like Kenmore Development’s Facebook Page. Our next Facebook contest will give you the chance to win tickets to the 3rd session of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament!!!