State College Bar Bracket, Pt. 5: The Final Four Is Here
The Final Four is finally here, and while there is no wily Darkhorse (pun intended) remaining, the two remaining matchups set us up for an exciting finish. With our apologies to fans of parity, all four No. 1 seeds made the Final Four, and only one of them had a particularly tough time making it through the quarterfinals to get there.
Two bars notched complete blowouts in their Elite Eight matchups. No. 1 Cafe obliterated No. 3 Darkhorse, collecting 2,137 votes to Darkhorse’s 892 (71 to 29 percent). No. 1 Phyrst clobbered No. 2 Mad Mex, by a vote count of 2,043-986 (67 to 33 percent). These two powerhouses find themselves on opposite ends of the bracket, so a showdown in the finale would rival the fireworks of 4th Fest.
The other two winners had closer battles. No. 1 Skeller was given a fight by No. 2 Pickle’s, but ultimately came away victorious, 1,763 votes to 1,266 (58 to 42 percent). No. 1 Shandygaff had the round’s tightest match against No. 2 Saloon, but held on, 1,638-1,391 (54 to 46 percent).
Two matchups remain. I’m going to break them down statistically, but if you don’t care what I have to say, scroll to the bottom and get your votes in.
Cafe 210 West vs. All-American Rathskeller
How They Got Here (Winning vote percentages noted):
Cafe vs. Westside Stadium/Rumors: 94.1 percent
Cafe vs. Chrome: 68.8 percent
Cafe vs. Darkhorse: 71 percent
Skeller vs. Olde New York: 94.9 percent
Skeller vs. Den: 75.6 percent
Skeller vs. Pickle’s: 58 percent
Though Cafe and the Phyrst are the top two overall seeds in the tournament, it’s the pair in this matchup that has received the most votes thus far in the tournament. Of course, their competition has contributed to that statistic, but fact remains: Cafe has 5,665 votes to Skeller’s 5,488 through three rounds. It looked like Cafe would have a distinct advantage after getting placed on 45.9 percent of ballots in the entry round to Skeller’s 28.4 percent, but both have bulldozed their way through the competition.
Skeller posted the biggest blowout of the whole tournament in its opening round against Olde New York, earning 94.9 percent of the vote, while Cafe owns the second-most dominant win, posting 94.1 percent in its opener against Westside Stadium/Rumors. The closest test either of these bars saw was Skeller’s Elite Eight match with Pickle’s, in which it posted 58 percent. Cafe’s closest match was in the Sweet 16 against Chrome, where it posted 68.8 percent.
Beyond the numbers, both bars have a lot to brag about. They each attract crowds from all sorts of student groups, are open all day, serve food, and have solid daily specials. Cafe hangs its hat on its teas, Skeller hangs its hat on its history. They’ve been the best-performing bars in our bracket thus far, but something’s gotta give.
Phyrst vs. Shandygaff
How They Got Here:
Phyrst vs. Corner Room: 81.3 percent
Phyrst vs. Kildare’s: 62.6 percent
Phyrst vs. Mad Mex: 67 percent
Gaff vs. Rotelli: 80.9 percent
Gaff vs. Primanti’s: 57 percent
Gaff vs. Saloon: 54 percent
You can see that these two have had a tougher time making it to the semifinals, but the Gaff stands apart from the trio of other No. 1 seeds as a struggler. The Phyrst leads the overall vote count, 5,241 to 4,571, and leads the ballot count, 41.3 to 32.5 percent. It does seem to me that the Gaff has had the misfortune of particularly tough competition throughout its journey to the Final Four, which is partially explained by our bracket gaining more popularity once the Sweet 16 began and attracting a new crowd of voters. Gaff owns the two closest matchups of any No. 1 seed, coming against Primanti’s (57 percent) and Saloon (54 percent), and its downward trend isn’t encouraging for its chances. After sliding in the Sweet 16, Phyrst came back to claim two-thirds of the vote against Mad Mex.
If you’ve read this site enough or scroll to my bio, you’ll discover I have a Phyrst bias. But these bars are about as equal as can be in terms of popularity with students, each having their own quirks. One has Phyrst girls, the other allows smoking. One boasts $6 pitchers, the other $3 tall boys. One has Table Wars, the other Gaffeoke. It’ll be a good matchup.
Now get to voting. You have four days, as the championship round will start on Friday. Godspeed, bars.