Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cultivating the Garden

I can’t believe we’re already on Challenge #6 in the “Biggest Fan of the Big East” contest, but here it is! And the challenge question is: What are your favorite places to watch your team when you can't be at your hometown arena (for me … The Purcell Pavilion)?

This is a tough question for me … because anyone who knows me, my friends, family … my children; know how VOCAL I am when I watch Notre Dame basketball. Or Notre Dame anything for that matter! And I have also been known to hurl things at the TV, jump up and down, and/or storm out of the room; but THAT is neither here nor there!

If I’m in St. Louis, and need a place to watch Notre Dame basketball, my first choice (if I’m not screaming on my couch) would have to be to hop in my brand new Volvo S60 and head on down to a Notre Dame Alumni Club of St. Louis sponsored Game Watch party.

We have a few regular haunts that we have Game Watch parties at, and they are always a good time because you know that there will be fellow alum & fans there to either commiserate or celebrate with. This, of course, is much better when you are winning, as opposed to crying in your beer, but strength in numbers is always good regardless.

When the St. Louis Alumni Club is not sponsoring a Game Watch party, I either go one of two directions. There are two very “college” type bars here in St. Louis, that are wonderful places to watch basketball. One is a St. Louis University establishment: Humphrey's, and one is University of Missouri establishment: Harpo’s (based off the original Harpo’s in Columbia, MO), and they are simply awesome places to watch ND basketball because both St. Louis University and Mizzou alums are also very passionate about basketball … so they make fun game watching pals!


Humphrey's was established nearly 40 years ago, on June 18, 1976, by Robert "Humphrey" Mangelsdorf and his wife, Janis. Humphrey was a 1969 graduate of Saint Louis University's Cook School of Business, and was an active member of the fraternity Phi Kappa Theta. His original concept was to have a higher end bar, which led to the creation of the still used logo of "The Humphrey Man" in a tuxedo. Today, Humphrey's is known for its reasonably priced food and beverages, and is a favorite hangout for students and alumni alike. Robert and Janis restored the 1904 building that became the first part of the current home of Humphrey's. Robert started the famous tradition of a free libation from a plunger on your birthday (if you are of legal age), which is still carried on today. Humphrey's is an avid supporter of Billiken Athletics, and they have made it a very festive place to watch college basketball.


The original Harpo's was established in Columbia, Missouri, near the campus of Mizzou 40 years ago as well. Harpo’s has been a Columbia landmark for generations and has entertained countless University of Missouri students and Columbia residents. Seeing as there are so many Mizzou alums in both St. Louis and Kansas City, they have opened satellite bars in both cities so that the alums could continue enjoying the Harpo's tradition. It is a great place to watch basketball as it is always filled with spirited Mizzou alum & sports fans!

Secondly … I go the Irish route. They are some great Irish establishments in St. Louis that are also great places to watch basketball. And as a Notre Dame fan, you are always welcome in an Irish bar, especially when your sur name is McGuire or Kelly!

McGurk's Irish Pub

John D. McGurk’s Irish Pub and Garden was established 30 years ago and has risen to the top of the class among the Irish Pubs in St. Louis. In fact, Esquire Magazine, in its June, 2007 Edition, saluting the best bars in America, chose John D. McGurk’s as its only bar so honored in the State of Missouri.

McGurk’s is known throughout the Midwest for its great Irish music, food, drink, and its 8,000 square foot outdoor garden, complete with breathtaking landscaping, a fountain, a waterfall, and two terrific outdoor bars ... plus plenty of TVs to watch your favorite Notre Dame Fighting Irish sporting event. Inside and out, McGurk’s is nearly 20,000 square feet of pure Irish fun.

The inside of McGurks is a series of strung together dining rooms and bars. Its brick and wood décor with wonderful Irish artifacts makes one think they are enjoying a pub in Dublin. The atmosphere is remarkable, the Irish food is second to none, and it is by far one of my favorite places to enjoy a Notre Dame basketball game. Sáinte!

Helen's Fitzgeralds

Helen Fitzgerald's is really an American sports bar and restaurant with a tinge of Irish flavor, but we still claim it as an Irish establishment! Plus it's one of the best sports bars around with walls of flat screen HD TVs to watch the big Notre Dame basketball game. Plus if you need your Emerald Isle fix, the Irish Stew with a side of of Jameson can't be beat!

The Dubliner

The Dubliner is for sure a crowd favorite as far as Irish bars in St. Louis that are great basketball watching places. The Dubliner is an authentic European Gastropub with Irish inspired food that is to die for. Great Irish food, drinks, and basketball ... seriously. How can you go wrong?

BUT … if you really want to know where I’d most like to be watching a Notre Dame basketball game when NOT at the Purcell Pavilion … I’d have to say Madison Square Garden.

Where better to watch a Notre Dame basketball game than at the Garden?

History is made each and every year at the "Mecca of College Hoops!"

Each season, some of the best teams in the nation visit New York City to play on The Garden’s famous hardwood. Since 1934, generations of College Basketball fans have flocked to "The World's Most Famous Arena."

Plus … what could be better than enjoying Notre Dame game, at the garden, with good friends and ice cold BEER. Yep, I said beer. No beer imbibing at the Purcell Pavilion … so that is an added bonus of The Garden for sure. Even if it is more expensive than if I were enjoying it on my couch, it is definitely more fun to be at a game at The Garden!

So there you have it, my top places to watch Notre Dame basketball when NOT at the Purcell Pavilion! Hey, I'm in 7th place in this voting thing, and am getting KILLED by St. John's and Nova. Please tell your friends, family, your Grandma, your boss ... basically ANYONE you can think of, to swing by my "Biggest Fan of the Big East" profile and cast a vote my way! THANKS!



  1. I've only been to St. Louis twice in my life. Thank you for pointing out some worthy establishments to catch a Notre Dame basketball game at the next time I'm there. And the price of admission this March to see you win this contest at The in hand..would totally be worth it. C'mon Irish Nation, help push this Irish girl over the top. GO IRISH!!..GO LISA!!

  2. Now I want to come to St. Louis to visit all these great places! And I know what you mean when you talk about getting so excited for Notre Dame! Once during a game, I got so excited that I fell right off my chair and nearly knocked over my pregnant friend! GO IRISH!!! Keep up the great work on these challenges! You should be in the lead! Cathy