Sure, you could stay at home and watch the Cavs blast the Knicks from the comfort of your E-Z chair, but where’s the fun in that? At their best, sports brings people together. As does booze. So, instead of fighting the swelling, swarming crowds in downtown Cleveland, stay in LeBron’s backyard to cheer on King James with the people who never turned their back on him.

Here are the best places to do that:

The Game at Canal Park, 300 South Main Street, Akron, OH 44308

Why: Yeah, it’s at a ballpark (Canal Park to be specific) but it’s a great sports bar and they’re handing out serious goodies. The first 100 through the door get either a Cavs home opener T-shirt or a Kyrie bobblehead. There are drink and food specials all night, giveaways every quarter and a chance to win Cavs tickets and autographs. Plus, it’s sponsored by the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s D-league team, so you’ll get to meet the Canton Charge Girls, who we assume are basketball historians by day and solve comically complex mysteries at night.


The Tasting Room at Hoppin Frog (1680 E. Waterloo Rd.)

Why: Besides making the exclusive “King Gose Home” Ale, Hoppin’ Frog has an amazing tasting room where you can catch all the Cavs games while you’re sipping their award-winning, highly-rated brew, including a bunch of variations you won’t find in stores as well as an eclectic range of beers from other breweries. Not to mention their kitchen is always cooking up something great. Example: Tonight’s smoked rib special with spicy house-made B.O.R.I.S. Stout BBQ sauce.


The Matinee (812 W Market St.)

Why: Well, if you live in Highland Square, you can walk to the bar and back home when you’re done. There might not be a better reason than that because because every time LeBron James dunks the ball, you get a free High Life, thanks to neighboring Capri Pizza. Oh, don’t forget the best damn sammiches in Akron are made next door at Mr. Zub’s.


The Basement at Waterloo (255. Waterloo Rd.) or The Lakes (3420 Manchester Rd.)

Why: They’re masters of the art of sports bar science. There’s virtually nowhere you can sit that you won’t see a TV so no matter how crowded it gets tonight, you’ll catch the game. Unless enormous HD projection screens aren’t your thing.


Craft (1846 Front St, Suite G, Cuyahoga Falls)

Why: Maybe you live in Cuyahoga Falls. Maybe you just like badass gastropubs. Maybe you want to watch King James while you’re drinking some Alpha King by 3 Floyds and grubbing on soft pork Barbacoa tacos or white cheese bacon queso with tortilla chips. Maybe you just don’t take orders from nobody and you’ll go wherever the hell you want. Like to Craft.


If you’re looking for a good deal:

Dietz’s Landing has wings for 40 cents/each with domestic buckets for $12 and mystery buckets with 6 bottles for $10.

At Max McQ’s you can start with their new happy hour from 2 pm to 7 pm, featuring half-off appetizers and 22oz domestic beers for $3 each. Stay during the game for $5 one-topping pizza (when you order a drink) and domestic pints for just $2.30.


Not into basketball but you do want to go out? Check these events out:

John Carpenter’s original “Halloween” at The Nightlight, featuring a musical performance by Analog Fog at 11:30 p.m. (Japanese horror “House” at 9 p.m.)

Movies@Main‘s free Halloween double feature with “Toy Story of Terror” (22 mins.) and “Hocus Pocus” (96 mins) at the Main Library from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Blood of the Freakishly Short Animation Festival at the Akron Art Museum, 7 p.m., for $5.


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