Guide to the NBA Playoff Cities

Seven teams remain, each with a delicious city behind them

The NBA Playoffs are getting heated. Dallas just swept the two-time defending champions, the LA Lakers, and every other game is heading into double (or even triple) overtimes. Denizens in the seven cities that remain (Boston, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Memphis) are in the heat of the moment — thriving on the adrenaline of competition as every win leads closer to the NBA Championships.

But supporting your favorite team, whether you live in that city or not, doesn’t mean you have to abandon your creature comforts. Why munch on a sorry meal just because some restaurant has a TV? We’ve put together a list of places to eat, drink while watching the game, and stay overnight for the cities left in the running. Note: you can (and should) also drink in these establishments once your team has played their last Playoff game. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/alforque)

Boston

Currently squaring off against Miami (in a nail-biting series), Boston Celtics fans have a city full of fantastic food and drink options that range from sleek and modern to classic New England.

Where to watch the game: Saddle up at Beer Works on Brookline Ave. for a beer from their extensive list or Sweetwater Tavern (try the onion rings) near the Theatre District.

Where to eat: Dive into oysters and clam chowder at Neptune Oyster, grab tapas at Toro, or sober up over brunch at the Paramount in Beacon Hill. Don’t leave Toro without tasting the churros con chocolate. You’ll thank us later. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Deannster)

Where to stay: Beacon Hill Hotel, Lenox Hotel

Miami

Boston’s sizzling hot competitors, the Miami Heat’s fans get to sit Oceanside while they root for their favorite players. Everything from fine dining to cheap eats to Cuban food is available in Miami.

Where to watch the game:  Shucker’s Bar and Grill is known amongst Miami’s sports-lovers for 23 hi-def TVs and a solid drinks menu while Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill is a sports bar with a sense of humor, offering drinks like the Dreamsicle Martini.  

Where to eat: Indulge in wood-grilled steaks or succulent burgers at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak, spring for fritas at El Mago de las Fritas, or find a seat at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink for oysters and sweet and spicy pork belly salad. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/philip fibiger)

Where to stay: Delano South Beach, The Raleigh (where you should hit the pool)

Atlanta

Up against the best team in the league this season, Atlanta Hawks’ games will be playing on TVs all through their vibrant city from Buckhead to Little Five Points.

Where to watch the game: Start at Jocks and Jills, a classic sports bar with 9 varieties of jumbo buffalo wings, or celebrate a victory with a stogie at the Highland Cigar Company’s bar and lounge.

Where to eat: Tuck into some healthy Southern cooking like the white Cheddar quesadilla with avocado at Ria’s Bluebird, order up some crawfish at the contemporary, industrial Two Urban Licks, or peruse the wine list at Wisteria Restaurant. (Photo courtesy of Two Urban Licks)

Where to stay: W Downtown, Stonehurst Place

 

Chicago

The Chicago Bulls entered the Playoffs with one of the best records in the league. Up against the Atlanta Hawks in the conference semi-finals, Chicago’s fans populate a city well known for its lauded cuisine.  

Where to watch the game: Jimmy Green’s offers three-way calamari, homemade hummus, and an array of beers, while Murphy’s Bleachers, a classic Chicago joint across from Wrigley Field, offers up the full sports watching experience.

Where to eat: Ralph Lauren’s RL Restaurant in the back of his Chicago store has old-world ambiance and a mouth-watering key lime pie while The Publican serves fresh organic fare like lamb sausage and raw seafood. Stop by The Bristol for a charcuterie plate or one of their handmade pastas. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Sifu Renka)

Where to stay: Sax Chicago, Sofitel Chicago

Dallas

Having just ousted the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks are waiting with baited breath to see whether they’ll be playing Memphis or Oklahoma City next. Mavericks’ fans can dine and imbibe in the meantime.

Where to watch the game: A “Texas sports saloon,” The Nodding Donkey boasts 18 flat-screens, dart boards, and finger-licking Texan food like BBQ brisket grilled cheese. City Tavern is a gussied up sports bar in the Main Street area and Barcadia is perfect for the distracted sports fan with classic arcade games throughout.

Where to eat: The dinner and bar menus at Abacus are equally enticing with options like Japanese hamachi and lump crab salad. Pop into Smoke for a “100 mile cheese plate” and roasted oysters or find a spot at Samar in the Arts district for tapas. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/MDB 28)

Where to stay: The Joule (with its great pool), Guesthouse on Allen Street

Oklahoma City

One of the best teams in the league, the Oklahoma City Thunder is up against it (surprisingly) in this series with the Memphis Grizzlies. Fans can fuel up after all the multiple overtimes with the city’s signature heartland cuisine.

Where to watch the game: Stop into Republic Gastropub and stare in awe at their enormous list of beers on tap and bottled. Try the Belle Isle Burger with grilled onions and beer-cheese fondue . If you can’t watch the game without a slice, head to The Wedge for a much-loved piece of their wood-fired pizza.  

Where to eat: Pre-game meals at The Mantel should consist of crab cakes and parmesan-encrusted tilapia or artisanal cheeses and steamed clams with linguine at Stella. For a taste of Oklahoma City’s barbecue, head to Iron Starr BBQ for modern and classic BBQ dishes.

Where to stay: Skirvin Hilton Hotel (pictured above), Two Hearts Inn, Arcadian Inn (Photo courtesy of Flickr/soonerpa)

Memphis

The ultimate underdogs at this stage of the Playoffs, the Memphis Grizzlies hail from a town with two other loves — music and barbecue.

Where to watch the game: Head downtown to watch the game at the whimsical Kooky Canuck to take the Kookamonga Challenge or, you know, just eat a normal-sized burger. The Fox and Hound should be your go-to spot for wings, nachos, and cheese fries.

Where to eat: A local favorite for dishes like sweet potato pie and pork chops, a stop at the Four Way Restaurant would be well advised. Snag a table at Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar for their catch of the day or just go straight to the time-tested Corky’s Ribs and BBQ. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/1001 words)

Where to stay: The Madison, The Roulhac Mansion

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