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Bars, restaurants gear up for big sports weekend

CHARLESTON, W.V. -- If you can't make it in person to see West Virginia University take on Duke, it's still possible to watch the game with fellow Mountaineer fans Saturday night right here in Charleston.

Duke and WVU meet in the Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the 8:47 p.m. Saturday game. Fans without tickets can pick from a number of area establishments to cheer for the Mountaineers as they watch the game on television, munch on good food, and sip favorite beverages.    

"We will set up big screens in the middle atrium and all five banquet rooms," said Sam Jarrell, bartender for Embassy Suites Athletic Club. "We've had a huge turnout the last couple of games. We've had 400 to 500 people each time."

And specials abound whether you want to just hang out for the game or spend the night.

An overnight package for two, including tailgate buffets, is $119.

A tailgate buffet is set for 6 to 11 p.m. for $15 a person. Game foods include wings, pizza, nachos and sandwiches. Drink specials include a domestic bucket of six for $16 or a pitcher for $10. For reservations call 304-347-8700.

Roger Murad, owner of Murad's in Kanawha City, hasn't yet decided what the specials will be but he plans for a full house to watch the game on any of the 40 televisions.

"It will be packed, and we will have a full staff," Murad said. "We'll have five waitresses, five cooks and a couple of bartenders."

Chris Bukant, general manager for Sam's Uptown Cafe and Bar 101, said both Capitol Street spots are generally full on Saturday night but he expects an even bigger crowd this time.

"We've been packed for all the games," he said. "We've been having a great crowd so far."

For game night, the two spots will offer a domestic bucket of six for $10.50.

Sam's has 12 televisions and Bar 101 has five. All are big flat screens.

Meanwhile, Quaker Steak & Lube, 2931 Mountaineer Blvd., is gearing up for the game by adding a 73-inch TV to the two 50-inch TVs already on the patio. The establishment generally has a total of 26 televisions, including 13 flat screens.

"We are planning a party," said general manager Jennifer Stanley. "We'll have shot girls running around in referee outfits."

Blue and gold Jello shots made with either vodka or rum are $2 each. Plans are in the works for a draft beer special.

For the last couple of games "we've been packed from one end to the other," said Stanley, who recommends arriving early.

Arriving early would also be a good idea for those who plan to watch the game at Buffalo Wild Wings, 2501 Mountaineer Blvd.

"Saturday night was standing room only," said Jeff Ashbaugh, assistant general manager. "Some just got a beer and stood to watch the game."

West Virginia Radio will present a live broadcast this Saturday night when the party will also include prize giveaways and entertainment by Rapper 6'6 240. Some half-price appetizers will be offered from 8 p.m. to midnight and happy hour drink prices from 6 p.m. to midnight.

"The patio will be open with five flat-screen TVs," Ashbaugh said. "It's going to be 80 degrees. We have 55 TVS and they are all flat screens. Twelve of those are 10-foot screens."

Another popular game stop is Appalachian Power Park where the Power Alley Grill will open at 11 a.m. Saturday and remain open until the end of the game.

"If we win we'll be open until 2 or 2:30," said Jeff Meehan, director of food and beverage.

The regular menu will be featured along with $10 beer buckets with icy Bud products.

"We'll be open all day," he said. "Come early and save your spot."

Fans may watch the game on one of two new 120-inch projector TVs. There are also four 46-inch high definition televisions and 25 32-inch televisions.

"We've had a good crowd the last couple of games," Meehan said. "If we are full and have overflow, we have two 46-inch TVs in our clubhouse catering room."

So, it's just a matter of picking where to hang out with fellow Mountaineer fans. If your favorite spots are not listed, give them a call to see if there is a game night plan.

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.



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