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A-Day Meetup and Open Thread: RBR's Quasi-Definitive Guide to Tuscaloosa

Saturday, April 18th at 2:00 p.m. the Alabama Crimson Tide take the field versus the Alabama Crimson Tide, but we'll all have been mixing it up since Friday.

BDS, oh how we've missed you.
BDS, oh how we've missed you.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy A-Day, everyone!

Saturday, April 18th at 2:00 pm, the Alabama Crimson Tide wrap up spring practice with the annual A-Day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. This post will serve as our official meetup thread. Here, we can RSVP, share our favorite restaurants, bars, etc., introduce ourselves, and generally thumbnail the week.

General Information

  • The University, including all parking areas, the Quad, all buildings and all athletic facilities, are now 100% smoke-free. This is a departure from the old policy, and I have no idea how UA is going to enforce a no-smoking rule at tailgates, but it is technically the rule. And, yes, I have seen it enforced in parking lots for other athletic events.

  • The game itself is free; however, seating is general admission only. The Gates open at 12:00 p.m., and the Walk of Champions begins at 12:15. The usual rules apply: no umbrellas, huge backpacks, flash photography, booze in your shoe and the like.

Tuscaloosa has a wide variety of food and beverage establishments; below, I've included a few of mine. Chime in with your own.

  • Barbecue: Archibald's (top-five pulled pork in the nation and even better than Oklahoma Joe's IMO;) Dreamland (what it lacks in tenderness, it makes up for in seasoning, historicity, simplicity, ambiance, and that sauce. The banana pudding is vastly underrated.) Big Bad Wolf Barbecue (They have a truck at the stadium. You will thank them for this.)

  • Local legends: Avenue (perhaps the best burgers in town;) Waysider (breakfast, of course -- the biscuits are legendary;) Five (fantastic pub grinds and a wonderful brunch;) Baumhower's (sports bar and the best wings in town. BB operates a Victory Grille in Midtown that isn't that inspired and is really nothing more than an upscale Wings. Stick with the original.)

  • Cheap Grinds: Mr. G's (One of the best places in town you rarely think of. Lunch combos every day, including Sunday's Lasagne;) City Cafe (most come for the lunch; the breakfast is equally delicious, ample, and affordable;) Pepito's (On a Strip that has lost most of its character to corporatism and "family-friendliness," this quaint little Mexican place still has the best quesadilla in town and the coldest Dos Equis on tap;) Mr. Chen's (great divey Chinese restaurant right off of Hackberry with one of the largest menus in town, also houses a Chinest marketplace.)
  • Nicer priced: DePalma's (delicious, family-friendly Italian at a reasonable price;) Southern Ale House (top-shelf and interesting Southern diner food, best bourbon selection in town. I've never heard a bad thing about SAH;) Nick's in the Sticks (filets, filets, filets. Go early and eat fast -- this place stays wrapped.) Cypress Inn (On the river, always beautiful, always great service, and you can never go wrong with Shrimp Cypress Inn. Reservations required.) Ruan Thai (Beautiful, out of the way Thai restaurant, actually nestled upstairs by the Foot Locker on the Strip. The coconut shrimp curry is the best I've had, including in Hawaii.)

  • Dive and eclectic bars: Egan's (A Tuscaloosa institution, and one of the last bastions of weird in a sanitized Strip;) Gray Lady (Interesting mix of young/old, local/student, gay/straight. Super cheap, too;) Downtown Pub (Smoky, skeazy, cheap, centrally-located. A true dive in the best sense of the word;) Jackie's (Grizzled locals and VFW your scene? Quiet during the day, you should come for one thing only -- pound 'em down.)

  • Niche bars: Icon (GLBT and friends. All welcome, though;) Catch 22 (infused cocktails and probably the best pour in town;) Alcove (smoke-free, quiet, eclectic. A great place for grown-ups to pay an honest price for an honest pour. Not cheap by any means, but the clean, intimate atmosphere is great for couples.)

  • Loud and proud: These aren't my scene (anymore,) but having been to all of them, they are mostly interchangeable -- Smoky, blaring TVs, sports-centric, bro-heavy, oft with live music: Copper Top, Speakeasy, 4th & 23rd (really, take your pick down by the River...;) The Houndstooth (Alas, the new one is more of a tourist destination than an every-day watering hole, but, of all these, the purest sports bar,) Gallette's (Like Egan's, one of the last remaining bastions of the Old Strip. Known for puke sticking to your shoes, live music, Panhellenic Greek mating rituals, the not-so-secret upstairs, and the Yellowhammer shooter, I think I'm a little too old for this one now.)

  • Taprooms and beer: Loosa Brews (fantastic taproom serving all three of Tuscaloosa's brews. Dozens of others on tap, including growlers;) Druid City Brewing (Friend of the Blog, DCB has the single best beer made in town -- the DCB Northporter. Smaller taproom, but interesting live acts and ample outdoor space;) Black Warrior Brewing (beautiful spacious taproom;) Tavern 1831 (Not affiliated with the brewers, just a nice, upscale tavern catering to craft beer enthusiasts.)

That said, in the comments below tell who you are, where you' be, and some of your favorites. We'll leave this guide pinned to the front page for easy access. Roll Tide.