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State College Bar Bracket, Pt. 4: Elite Eight Begins

With another week of voting in the books, we’re getting closer and closer to discovering the One Bar To Rule Them All. The Sweet Sixteen featured eight hard-fought battles. All four No. 1 seeds moved on to the Elite Eight along with three No. 2 seeds and a No. 3 seed, bringing the first surprising upset to date.

Indigo was defeated by underdog Darkhorse, which took 57.3 percent of the votes with a total of 2,125 to Indigo’s 1,581. That makes the nightclub the first No. 2 seed eliminated in the bracket.

Mad Mex vs. Bar Bleu was probably the most boring matchup on the Sweet Sixteen round. The Mexican joint came out on top of the sports bar as Mad Mex racked up 2,131 votes to Bar Bleu’s 1,577, good for 57.4 percent of the vote.

In a blowout victory, the Rathskeller obliterated the Lion’s Den with a whopping 72.9 percent of votes. The Phyrst saw similar success, knocking out Kildare’s by earning 64.9 percent of votes.

Student favorite Pickle’s ousted local favorite Zeno’s with 68.7 of the vote. It was rough going for craft alcohol bars in general. Local Whiskey was downed by Saloon in a tightly-contest battle, with the latter taking 54.4 percent of voters.

The Gaff surprisingly had a tough time fending off newcomer Primanti Bros., taking the win with 57 percent of votes. The second largest victory of the week goes to Cafe 210 West, which grabbed 69.6 percent to overcome Chrome. The small liquor lounge ran a valiant campaign, but it was all for naught.

With that, here’s the breakdown of our four matchups for the next round, the matchups that will determine the State College Bar Bracket Final Four. If you want to skip right to the voting, scroll on down.

Cafe 210 West vs. Darkhorse

This one really comes down to what you like in a bar. Are you a fan of playing sex trivia on Tuesday nights or chilling in an outdoor patio and soaking in the sun? Do you prefer a grungier, tavern-style bar with live rock music or a more traditional college bar with bands like My Hero Zero?

This is an interesting matchup, mostly because I see Cafe as an overrated No. 1 seed and Darkhorse as, well, a dark horse. The tavern is a legitimate contender here, as evidenced by its upset victory over Indigo. This one will be tighter than most may expect.

Rathskeller vs. Pickle’s

In another battle of opposites, a basement bar and long-standing State College staple takes on Pickle’s, which has seen rising popularity recently. Pickle’s has seemingly stolen the Greek patronage from the late G-Man, and it’s a major force to reckoned with in this tournament.

The Skeller, however, is a top seed for a reason. It’s one of the oldest bars in town and has the hearts of students and alumni alike. There’s no doubt that this is one of the more interested matchups in the Elite Eight round. It’s a classic case of the Old Guard taking on the new. It’s an old Roger Federer against an upcoming Rafael Nadal. It’s the veteran San Antonio Spurs taking on the younger Miami Heat. May the best bar win.

Phyrst vs. Mad Mex

If you read this site on a regular basis, you may have noticed that I’m quite literally obsessed with the Phyrst. Now that my unadulterated bias has been stated, I can say with a clear conscience that this shouldn’t be a remotely close matchup.

I enjoy Mad Mex, more than most of my friends in fact. Their food is good. Their tequila is good, especially the impeccable value of a $9 shot of Patron anejo. And best of all, I think that Mad Mex on a warm afternoon tops Cafe for the best outdoor atmosphere. But the Phyrst has the best live music, signature drinks, bartenders, ambience, and french fries in town. There’s really no question that the State College staple takes the win here.

Shandygaff vs. Saloon

This is a similar matchup to the previous one, mostly in that there’s a clear favorite. Saloon isn’t a bad bar, but it isn’t particularly special, either. And while my opinion of the Gaff has wavered over time, there’s no doubt that it’s a fan favorite. The nightly line tells you that much. The Saloon is capable of drawing some votes, but it’s certainly a true underdog in this situation.

With that, it’s time to get to voting. Cast your vote in each of the four Elite Eight matchups and stay tuned for the Final Four, which will begin the Monday after spring break.

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About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a StateCollege.com reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.

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