It's Back!  The NCAA MEn's Basketball Tournament is back in Buffalo this week, on St. Patrick's Day nonetheless.

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The Buffalo arena will be hosting two sessions of games on Thursday, March 17th with the following matchups.

WEST REGION

#4 Arkansas vs. #13 Vermont

#5 - UCONN vs. #12 New Mexico State

MIDWEST REGION

#4 Providence vs. #13 South Dakota State

#5 Iowa vs. #12 Richmond

You can see the full bracket below.

If you're heading to the arena for the game, there are a couple of notable changes that you should be aware of.  First, the arena has lifted its mask and vaccination requirements for all events, which means that neither is required for you to go to the games this week.  Second, the NCAA Division I Council adopted a rules change back in 2018, that made it legal for fans to buy alcoholic beverages at NCAA championship events.

If you are looking to pre-game before heading to KeyBank Center, you will not have a hard time finding a party atmosphere, as Buffalo will be showing its best Irish for St. Patrick's Day.  There are several great options within walking distance or a short ride to the arena.  Here are 10 that are worth checking out.

1. Swannie House - 170 Ohio St, Buffalo

A classic Buffalo dive bar.  They claim to be the oldest bar in Buffalo.  A hidden gem when it comes to some of the best wings downtown.  Cheap drinks, but be prepared it's cash-only, but there is an ATM on site.

Credit - Nik Rivers
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2. Southern Tier Brewing Co. - 7 Scott St, Buffalo

Formerly 716, this is your closest option to the arena and offers indoor access to the arena on the second floor through the parking ramp.  Offering a full menu, ad all of the TVs that you can handle, this is a sports lover's dream.

Credit - Nik Rivers
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3. The Union Pub - 38 Swan St, Buffalo

The small pub located just up the street from KeyBank Center in the shadow of Shalen Field, claims to have the 'best wings in Buffalo'  They're pretty damn good, but we'll let you judge for yourself.  Cheap drinks as well, make this an ideal pre-game spot.

Credit - Nik Rivers
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4. Stixx Sports Bar - 1 Fulton St, Buffalo

Located inside of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, you can get your bartop video poker fix in, while you wait for the games to start.  They usually have Happy Hour deals before KeyBank Center events.

Credit - Nik Rivers
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5. Resurgence Brewing Co. - 55 Chicago St, Buffalo, NY 14204

Newer to the downtown bar scene, this state-of-the-art brewery & taproom opened in 2019.Y. You experience the brewing process up-close, and can chow on a deep pub-style menu.

Credit - Nik Rivers
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6. Buffalo RiverWorks - 359 Ganson St, Buffalo

A short walk over the Buffalo River from Swannie House, they offer up a full menu, in what is sure to be a party Atmosphere.

Credit - Nik Rivers
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7. Deep South Taco - 291 Ellicott St, Buffalo

If you want to avoid the St. Patrick's Day theme a bit, stop here.  One of the best Taco joints in town, a Southern-inspired authentic taqueria, and bar with that Nashville funky edge.

Credit - Nik Rivers
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8. Pearl Street Grill & Brewery - 76 Pearl St, Buffalo

A Massive menu, complimented by their house-brewed beers makes this a prime pre-game stop.  It doesn't hurt that it's a short 5-minute walk to the KeyBank Center.

Credit - Nik Rivers
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9. Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill - 189 Delaware Ave, Buffalo

A little further out of the way, yet easily accessible via the Metro Rail.  If you have a big appetite, try the Angry Fan! An 8 oz. burger, spicy chicken fingers, smoked bacon, provolone cheese, and chipotle mayo on toasted focaccia bread.

Credit - Nik Rivers
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10. Hofbrauhaus Buffalo - 190 Scott St, Buffalo

Another bar in the shadows of the KeyBank Center, this is one of downtown's newer establishments, and always brings the party. A German-themed bar that lets you feel Bavaria bursting through every inch; from the long wooden tables in the Bier Hall to the live band brought to you straight from Munich, Germany.

Credit - Nik Rivers
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