The Sports Exchange

 

When it comes to sports bars, this spot is a slam dunk for the Gables during March Madness.

Sports Exchange 1

By Kyle Teal

For some folks, a sports bar in the Gables might conjure up images of sweater vest-clad yuppies making plans for 18 holes on Saturday morning. OK, there’s occasionally a little of that going on, but this easy going crowd has everything in common: a love for food and games.

The Sports Exchange – formerly City Cellar – on Miracle Mile opened its doors in the beginning of April 2009 and is among our top choices to watch NCAA Men’s Basketball games during the annual March tournament. During tournament games they will have $2.50 Bud Light drafts and $5 Bacardi light drinks as well as $13.99 special on 15-pieces of buffalo wings.

The huge restaurant already has regulars who’ve persuaded managers to purchase draught beer. Management initially opted to keep the beer selection to bottles only, in an effort to turn off drunken, ferocious derelicts. The reality, however, is that fans could have a difficult time watching a Dolphins game, or any other contest, in any other condition.

The result of management’s democratic nature: beer like Guinness, Miller Lite, Yuengling and Blue Moon on tap. Also behind the bar, Scotch whisky like Johnnie Walker sells often, as do $10 mandarin cosmopolitans made with Grey Goose L’Orange vodka. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. It offers buy-one-get-one free, $5 well, $3 domestic, and $3 house wine drink specials, as well as half-priced appetizers and $5 pizza specials. Personable bartenders greet you quickly, despite walking the length of a 50-foot, fully stocked bar.

There’s also late-night Happy Hours, Monday to Friday from 11 p.m. to close, and a "Ladies Night" happy hour every Thursday from 9 p.m. to close.

But the bar is upstaged by the food and the games. “The Shrine,” a 25-by-8 ft collage of high-definition plasma TV screens glows above the bar and shows feeds of nearly every sport imaginable with the grave exception of cricket – a devastating exclusion to the 11 cricket fans in South Florida. Fans can gnaw on crazy-tasty pork sliders, tender ribs, or a meatball and spaghetti pizza while screaming at any of the 23 high-def TVs.

Plush booths make staying for the entire game a comfortable option. Outside seating is also available, featuring a view of Coral Gables’ charming, and increasingly vacant, Miracle Mile. A replica of a Wall Street ticker flashes the scoops – hence the name Sports Exchange. News channels are also left on some TVs.

The Sports Exchange also offers a private Sky Box Party Room. The Sky Box seats up to 70 people (accommodating various seating arrangements) while providing three 42-inch plasma screens, a 104-inch high definition projector screen and its own sound system.

The restaurant has had no trouble attracting the female sports fans: “It’s a lively place,” customer Brenda Morales said. “I just wish there were more guys here.”

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