The Packers are back in the playoffs – and this time, they're hopefully breaking through that NFC championship wall and returning to the Super Bowl. They've got all the advantages this year: The team's mostly healthy, they had an off week thanks to clinching the NFC's top seed and they get home field advantage at Lambeau Field throughout the bracket.
Most importantly, though, as with every year, they've got Packers fandom, urging them on all across the globe. And if you're hoping to gather with your Green Bay brethren for their playoff opener against the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, here are a dozen places throwing Packers parties that'll be a winning time – literally. (This is just the tip of the iceberg for Packer-ific places to take in Saturday's big postseason rematch, too; check out our Packers bar guide and sports bar guide for even more options.)
1. Izzy Hops Swig & Nosh
Izzy Hops on the East Side will be hopping on Saturday with a Packers-Niners watch party gearing up around kickoff at 7:15 p.m. And we mean "gearing up" literally as Izzy Hops will auction off a Packers jersey during the game. Attendees enter for a chance to win with every purchase of a Miller product throughout the night – so hopefully Miller Time will turn into winning time, for the Packers and for you.
2. The Explorium Brewpub
No matter which Explorium location you choose – either the original spot in Southridge Mall or its fancy new venue in the Third Ward – you'll find the Packers and a good time as both brewpubs will host watch parties on Saturday night, complete with game day specials, shots for every Green Bay touchdown and, of course, the big game on all of their copious television screens.
3. The Hounds & Tap
Need a place welcoming both two-legged and four-legged Packer backers? Sniff out the Packers watch party at The Hounds & Tap, as the combination bar and dog park will feature the divisional round spat on all of its TVs as well as tasty eats from Rose Gold's Bistro until 8 p.m. It should be a howling good time for every Packer fan and pup in attendance – especially if the Packers fetch a spot in the NFC championship.
4. The MECCA Sports Bar and Grill
The MECCA will be your holy place for watching the Packers on Saturday night. In addition to the game blasting on their stocked electronics store amount of TVs – including their monstrous 42-foot centerpiece screen – this Deer District hot spot will feature raffles every hour as well as $6 Absolut and Jameson cocktails and $25 beer buckets. Need something to soak all that up? Take a bite out of the special Pack-Attack burger, featuring Sprecher-braised pork, two strips of bacon, fried jalapenos, stone-ground beer mustard and cheese sauce as well as cheese curds. It's the only thing rivaling the deliciousness of a Packers victory.
5. Drink Wisconsinbly Pub
What better place to partake in that most Wisconsin tradition – Packers and drinking – than at the Sconnie-themed Drink Wisconsinbly Pub? Befitting its Wisconsin ways, the Deer District bar will have plenty of Packers specials for Saturday night's big spat – including raffles, giveaways, $4 Drink Wisconsinbly lagers and Miller Lites, $5 tap beers, $7 Brandy slushes and Crosby shots, which I assume are shots for every field goal. So here's to a 33-0 Packers win, with the 33 points earned the long way.
6. Company Brewing
This hoppy Riverwest hangout will put the party into their Packers watch party, with DJ Fuzzy Logic spinning some awesome jams while Green Bay hopefully dominates on the field. Here's to hoping DJ Fuzzy Logic plays during the broadcast too – would certainly be preferrable to having to listen to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on the call.
7. Matty's Bar & Grille
Looking for a fun outdoor patio to take in the Packers? Make your way to Matty's Bar & Grille, which features a tremendous patio set-up no matter the day or season. But they're going all out this postseason with the game on its new "Matty-tron" 18-foot LED screen out back, big bonfires to keep the cold at bay and several autographed jerseys and memorabilia for auction, plus Matty's tasty menu of beers and bar grub. It's an outdoor gathering with all the atmosphere of Lambeau but with none of the frostbite or fans refusing to sit down in front of you.
8. High Dive
The High Dive will be a high-quality place to take in the Packers-Niners game on Saturday night. One of the key reasons why? Cheese! Mac and cheese, which the Riverwest favorite will serve up to cheering cheeseheads at halftime. Of course, there will also be drinks – including touchdown shots – and the game on all the TV screens, so dive into The High Dive on Saturday evening.
9. Art Bar
Art is normally the featured presentation at this Riverwest staple – and that will still be the case as they host a Packers watch party on Saturday night. I mean, have you the beauty of an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass or the brutalist majesty of a 11-yard AJ Dillon rushing attempt? In case those moving images aren't enough of a draw, Art Bar will also serve up $3 gyros with all the fixins to sate any superfan's hunger for dinner while the Packers hopefully sate their hunger for victory.
10. Garfield's 502
This hidden gem will be a Green Bay playoff heaven on Saturday night as they'll host a "One Love Packers Party" (with hopefully the Packers being that one love). The bar will cook up tasty football-watching football along with drink specials, shots for every Green Bay touchdown, music at halftime and much more. Garfield's 502 should be a warm setting for a frosty night of Frozen Tundra football.
When think of drinking in the big football game, you might not typically think wine. But this Bay View vino venue – the unofficial wine bar of the green and gold – may just change your mind, welcoming a Packers watch party to its refreshing and fun-loving atmosphere complete with snacks, raffles, touchdown shots and more. A football party with class, Voyager will be the perfect place to watch the Packers pop the Niners' Super Bowl bubble, then pop the cork on celebrating another NFC championship birth.
12. 3rd Street Market Hall
One of the area's newest gathering locales will partake in one of the area's most timeless gathering traditions Saturday night, as 3rd Street Market Hall will air the game in its shiny new space – complete with specials like $3 Miller Lite taps and $18 buckets of Blue Moon and Vizzy. Plus, there's all the delicious food from the hall's fresh new vendors and the chance to walk away with an autographed Green Bay Packers helmet! It's an experience Lori Fredrich tested and Randall Cobb approved!
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.