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Coming into town for the tournament? Here are the best bars and breweries in Wichita

Central Standard Brewing is one of Wichita’s most popular breweries. It’s a short drive east of downtown – and you can also take the Q-Line trolley pretty close to the brewery.
Central Standard Brewing is one of Wichita’s most popular breweries. It’s a short drive east of downtown – and you can also take the Q-Line trolley pretty close to the brewery. File photo

In my estimation, there are three kinds of bars in Wichita: places where you go to party, places where you go to have a drink and enjoy the night with friends, and breweries.

Each have their place, but it can be confusing to figure out which are the best options.

Use this guide to help you plan your nights drinking in Wichita:

Best party bars

Pumphouse, 825 E. 2nd. Open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.

The Pumphouse is one popular Old Town spot. It’s a former gas station converted into a different sort of filling station. You’ll find packed dance floors inside and occasional live music on the patio. Be ready to be elbow-to-elbow with the clientele here, though.

Brickyard, 129 N. Rock Island. Opens for the season on March 15

During the summer, Old Town’s The Brickyard is one of the most popular outdoor watering holes for a young party crowd. There’s live music nearly every night, and it’s often so loud that it’s difficult to actually carry on a conversation with someone.

XY Bar, 235 N. Mosley. Open 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Thurs., 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Fri., 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat.-Sun.

XY Bar is a gay bar in Old Town that has a great dance floor, and is usually always crowded on weekend nights. Here you’ll find a more relaxed sort of party bar, with friendly regulars. People of all ages (over 21, of course) frequent this bar more so than the other “party bar” options listed here.

Revolution Lounge, 233 N. Mosley. Open 7 p.m.-2 a.m. daily

Revolution Lounge is a popular party bar in Old Town, but one that often has long lines waiting outside if you come during peak hours. On the inside, there’s a dance floor, lounge seating, and poles that patrons often climb up and dance on.

Industry Old Town, 126 N. Mosley. Open 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Wed.-Thurs., 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat., 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Sun.

Industry is popular mainly for its rooftop bar, which is the only true bar of the sort in Old Town. There’s often a DJ here. On its ground floor, there are multiple pinball machines.

Best chill bars

Public at the Brickyard, 129 N. Rock Island. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

The gastropub Public is the indoor section of The Brickyard, which specializes in cocktails and handcrafted dishes. It’s a place where you can go to drink and hear yourself talk. Fun fact: Food Network star Alton Brown has stopped here.

The Anchor, 1109 E. Douglas. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-midnight Thurs., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fri., 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.

The Anchor was recently voted the state’s “best beer bar” by Craftbeer.com, the Brewers Association’s website. The bar, owned by local woman Schane Gross, also serves some killer food – and has its own butcher shop, Douglas Avenue Chop Shop, attached.

Mort’s Martini & Cigar Bar, 923 E. 1st. Open 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Thurs., noon-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat., noon-10 p.m. Sun.

Mort’s was the subject of a lengthy USA Today profile in the late ‘90s and it has since gained a sizeable reputation, despite its teeny building at 1st and Washington. It serves the best martinis in Old Town, and also has cigars for sale. Its heated patio is popular year-round, and live bands often perform there.

The Monarch, 579 W. Douglas. Open 11 a.m.-midnight Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat., noon-midnight Sun.

This Delano bar is where you want to go for a bourbon-based cocktail in Wichita. It’s known for its craft bourbon and whiskey selection, the largest in the state. It’s in a former garage space, and when the weather warms up, it opens up the garage doors to its patio area. Crowds here can be hit-or-miss, depending on the weather.

Dempsey’s Burger Pub, 3700 E. Douglas. 550 N. Rock. Open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. Kitchen open until 10 p.m. Sun-Thurs., until 11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.

From the outside, Dempsey’s original location in College Hill’s Clifton Square is unassuming – it’s built into a former house. But on the inside, new Chef Bill Crites serves up some of the most finger-licking local burgers in town. The pub recently opened a second location at Central and Rock, in case you’re staying further east.

Best breweries

Central Standard Brewing, 156 S. Greenwood. Open 3-10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 3 p.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun.

Central Standard Brewing has quickly become one of the hottest spots in Wichita to enjoy local craft beer. It has plenty of varieties, including sour beers, and it’s dog-friendly. It and Hopping Gnome have collaborated on a special March Madness-themed beer.

Hopping Gnome Brewing Company, 1710 E. Douglas. Open 3-10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 3 p.m.-midnight Fri., noon-midnight Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun.

Though this brewery’s slogan is “Brewed for the locals,” that doesn’t mean you can’t sip it while you’re visiting town. The brewery, sandwiched between some of Wichita’s best Italian-style pizza (Piatto) and a niche cake donut shop (The Donut Whole) is in a prime location in the Douglas Design District.

Aero Plains Brewing, 117 N. Handley. Open 3-9 p.m. Mon.-Tues., 3-10 p.m. Wed.-Thurs., noon-midnight Fri.-Sat., noon-8 p.m. Sun.

Just west of downtown, you’ll find this brewery in the Delano District – its name is a play on the city’s aviation history. It often has food trucks parked outside. Its beers are available at more than 50 local establishments, but why not drink it straight from the source, in their Delano tasting room?

River City Brewery, 150 N. Mosley. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Tues., 11 a.m.-midnight Wed.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.

This Old Town brewery is one of the city’s oldest. It serves both its own beers and a full menu in its restaurant. On weekend nights, its second-floor bar, The Loft, opens and often features live music. There are balconies that overlook Old Town that are fun to hang out on.

Limestone Beer Co., 707 N. Waco. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.-Wed., 10:30 a.m.-midnight Thurs.-Sat.

Limestone is a quiet brewery actually located inside the restaurant Sweet Allie B's. As a result, it's open to people of all ages. It specializes in German- and Belgian-style beers. It's what the owner calls a "nanobrewery."

Wichita Brewing Company & Pizzeria, 8815 W. 13th Street, 535 N. Woodlawn. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.

The Wichita Brewing Company – again, one of the city’s oldest breweries – has both east-side and west-side locations, and they’re known for their pizzas. If you’re downtown and don’t want to travel to either side of town, WBC is also operating a completely mobile location across Emporia Street from Intrust Bank Arena, as part of the NCAA festivities.

Third Place Brewing, 630 E. Douglas. Open special hours during the NCAA tournament – 9:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Wed.-Sat.

This small brewery is just north of Intrust Bank Arena, off Douglas Avenue. While new to the local brewery scene, it’s quickly growing in stature as a local favorite. During the tournament, food trucks will be parked outside and there will be ample TVs inside to watch the games.

Augustino Brewing Company, 756 N. Tyler. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily

If you're looking for a brewery off the beaten path, try this west-side brew pub. Augustino is one of the city's newest breweries, and it's out at Central and Tyler. It's known for its brisket nachos.

Still curious about Wichita? Here are more handy tips about this city:

What to do between games: Wichita has more must-sees than you'd think

Here's where to find the NCAA parties in Wichita this week

Wichita's dining critic tells you where to eat while in town for the NCAA tournament

Basketball fans: You don't need a car to get around downtown Wichita this week

A guide to Wichita shopping for NCAA tourney visitors

That flag you're seeing everywhere? It's a sign of Wichita pride

NCAA haters back off: Wichita is an interesting and fun place, and this list proves it

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