Where to watch? Local establishments vying to be go-to home for FGCU-UF game

Michel Fortier/Staff
FGCU held their first public practice at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Thursday March 28, 2013.  FGCU will play the Florida Gators in the NCAA Men's basketball tournament Sweet 16 game on Friday night.

Photo by MICHEL FORTIER // Buy this photo

Michel Fortier/Staff FGCU held their first public practice at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Thursday March 28, 2013. FGCU will play the Florida Gators in the NCAA Men's basketball tournament Sweet 16 game on Friday night.

Caught up in Eagle fever but don’t have a ticket to Texas? No problem.

For those not fortunate enough to travel to Arlington for Florida Gulf Coast University’s big basketball game Friday night against the University of Florida, there are plenty of establishments vying to be the local gathering spot for fans.

Florida forward Patric Young

His surprise with Eagles' success.

But if you think you can walk in five minutes before tip-off and get a good seat, think again.

“Get here early. It’s a later game, but get here early,” said Tavern on the Bay general manager Mike Bono.

The following are running specials and events for Friday’s game, which airs at 9:57 p.m. on TBS.

South Lee County

Germain Arena will host a free game watching party following the Everblades game against Orlando. The Everblades game starts at 7:30 p.m. The FGCU game will be shown on video boards in the main rink as well as at Breakaway’s Sports Pub at the arena.

Breakaway’s will offer half-price appetizers and happy hour drink specials during the game. Concession stands will remain open as well. In addition, all FGCU students can attend the Everblades game prior to the party for $5 with a student ID.

■ Bar Louie, 10035 Gulf Center Drive, Gulf Coast Town Center, is hosting a watch party for FGCU alumni. But you don’t have to be an alum to enjoy its March Madness promotion with $2 domestic drafts.

Kitchen Manager Jacob Fowler said Bar Louie also has a $3 signature drink for Eagles fans. Called The Eagle, the drink is “bluish-green and tastes like a Sweet Tart.”

Panorama of Cowboys Stadium

FGCU to face Florida in Sweet 16.

■ Elevation Burger, 9902 Gulf Coast Main Street, Gulf Coast Town Center, will host a March Madness celebration.

The festivities include a buy one, get one free burger offer for any student, staff or alumni with a valid FGCU ID; hand-scooped vanilla milkshakes topped with blueberries and Key lime honoring the university’s colors; “Guess the Score” prize-winning contests; a big screen TV for guests to watch the game live; and extended hours to accommodate the late game, General Manager Sean Rowland said.

■ Big Al’s Sports Grill, 25101 U.S. 41, Bonita Springs, will offer a special discount to Eagles fans.

From 10 a.m. Friday until 1 a.m. Saturday, Big Al’s will give 10 percent off to customers showing Eagles spirit by wearing blue and green. If the Eagles win, Big Al’s promises to offer the deal every game day that the Eagles are in the tournament.

■ The Holiday Inn, 9931 Interstate Commerce Drive, Fort Myers, will host a party with pre-game events beginning at 9 p.m.

The hotel will show the game on 11 TVs, including four by a fire pit. There will be happy hour drink prices all evening and a special drink, the Eagle Elixir. There will also be gator stew, Everglades nuggets and deep fried gator balls.

Fans can shoot hoops for drinks on the patio and the first person to guess the exact winner and final score of the game will win a weekend for two, including dinner for two and two tickets to FGCU’s home opener in 2014.

■ And for those Gator fans out there, the University of Florida official alumni watch party is being held at the Fort Myers Country Club, 3591 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.

Collier County

Eagles first practice at Cowboys Stadium

Players meet fans, sign autographs.

■ Boston Beer Garden, 2396 Immokalee Road, is hosting a watch party for FGCU alumni in North Naples. The restaurant has 64 TVs so that fans can see the game from anywhere in the restaurant.

■ Tavern on the Bay, 489 Bayfront Place, Naples, will host a Sweet 16 Showdown party for the game, complete with $5 screaming eagle shots and $7 gator bombs. Bono said the drinks will be the same colors as the team logos, blue and green for the Eagles and blue and orange for the Gators.

■ Waldorf Astoria Naples, 475, Seagate Drive, Naples, will show the game at the bar. Patrons will receive a “Dunk City” shot for every Eagles’ slam dunk.

■ Pelican Larry's Pine Ridge, 1046 Pine Ridge Road, will be having a party tonight for the game with DJ Jason Paul playing before and after the game. Giveaways include free drinks and FGCU gear. Free draft, well or wine to any FGCU students or faculty.

■ Beacon Bowl, 5400 U.S. 41 N., North Naples, and Woodside Lanes, 8525 Radio Lane, East Naples, will hold watch parties inside their respective Nemo’s Sports Cafe. Fans can visit either location’s Facebook page to print a coupon for a free drink during the game.

NCAA Tournament

The Florida Gulf Coast men's basketball team was the first 15-seeded team to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. The March Madness run ended in Texas where the Eagles were defeated by the Florida Gators 60-52 on Friday, March 29 in Cowboys Stadium. Join in on the discussion by using the hashtag #ndnfgcu in your Twitter updates and/or Instagram photos.

Get complete coverage of FGCU's road to the NCAA tournament at dunkcitypride.com »

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