Guide to Game Weekend in Manhattan

Every visiting fan starts out at a disadvantage when they go to a road game at a school they've never visited.  They've never seen the place, don't know how it's laid out, don't know where the hotspots are, etc.  As such, I decided to do a service for all the fans who will visit K-State for football games this year.  I'll break the information into sections, then describe my ideal Manhattan weekend...

Restaurants
The following are, in absolutely no particular order, my favorite places to eat in Manhattan, labeled by what part of town they're in.

Aggieville
Coco Bolo's:  If I had to describe it, I'd call it Tex-Mex with a Twist, but the menu includes many food styles.  I'd recommend the three-salsa sampler to share with your friends, and the Evil Desert Chicken for an entree.  Unless you really like it hot, stick with the 'spicy' level.  To cool off your mouth I'd recommend either a sangria or a Boulevard Wheat (if they don't have Boulevard Beer in your area of the country, I'd highly recommend trying it while in Manhattan).

So Long Saloon:  This place plays up its old-west theme big-time with the mirrored saloon bar area and the eclectic wall decorations.  I'd highly recommend the Jack Smack Burger, but if you're in the mood try the Red-Hot Chickin (that's how it's spelled).  Again, a pint of Boulevard would be highly recommended.

Pat's Blue Rib'n Barbeque:  It's not KC barbeque by any stretch, but it's not bad if that's what you're looking for.  It's been a while since I've eaten here, so I don't have any good recommendations.  Like most places in the 'Ville, it's small, so get there early and plan on a little wait.

Tubby's:  In my opinion, the only true sports bar in the 'Ville, with plenty of flat-screens and good food.  If you want to keep track of other college football games before heading to the stadium, you might try this place Saturday.  While you're there, order one of their burgers with guacamole and pepperjack cheese, along with the seasoned fries.

Planet Sub:  Kind of a counterculture-inspired home for sub sandwiches that I highly recommend.  If you're in a hurry, you can call in your order before you leave and pick it up when you get there.  If you eat in, they'll give you a playing card (King of Spades, for example) which is their way of giving you an order number.  Green Turkey or Spicy Southwest Chicken are the recommendations here.

Rock-a-Belly Deli:  Somewhat upscale sandwich shop.  I recommend the Belly Buster or the Pastrami with Sweet Beaver Mustard (yeah, that's what it's called).

Miscellaneous Aggieville Selections:  Kite's, Porter's and Rusty's all serve bar food of varyingly edible degrees.  Some of it's pretty good, but I usually drank there rather than eating, so I'm not much help.  Some would recommend the Hibachi Hut and Texas Star Cafe...I won't turn you away, but they're not at the top of my list.  If you like Chinese, there's a place called Happy Valley on the south side of the 'Ville...or you can try Hunam Express on Moro.  Hunam has been cited for multiple health code violations, but I've eaten there countless times and never gotten sick, and the food is pretty good in my humble opinion.  If you need to order a pizza or need something at 2 a.m. to reduce the next morning's hangover, my pick is Gumby's.  Aggieville has a lot of other places to eat, including Buffalo Wild Wings and Chipotle.

Westloop

Valentino's:  Italian buffet that started in Nebraska, hence my long-standing affinity for it.  You pay for a plate, then get to fill it up as many times as you want.  Really good pizza and cinnamon sticks.

Little Apple Brewing Co.: They tout their black Angus steaks and hand-crafted beers.  If you're into beer experimentation and good steaks, give this place a try.

El Cazador:  Just your typical Mexican restaurant.  I like their salsa and guacamole to start with, then just order whatever your favorite Mexican dish is, they have them all.  Wash it down with a margarita.

There's also a Famous Dave's BBQ on the west side of town (at Seth Child and Fort Riley, behind Target, although you'll have to turn into Target from Seth Child to get there).  Supposedly there is going to be a Dickey's BBQ opening soon, but I don't know when or where.  Stay tuned if that does open, because it's a pretty good BBQ joint.

East Side

Los Potrillos:  Similar to El Cazador on the other side of town.  I'd recommend their cheese dip in addition to guacamole and salsa.  Margaritas also come highly recommended here.

Vista:  A little further north on Tuttle Creek, you can find the throwback Vista hamburger joint.  Burgers, fries, limeades, shakes, etc.  Best burgers in town, pretty cheap and pretty fast.

There is quite a bit of development taking place on the east side right now, so there may be some other good restaurants open now that I don't know about.  I know they were putting in a Red Lobster, but I don't know if it's open yet.  Anyone who does, please advise in the comments.

Entertainment

If you're looking for ballet and opera, you're probably going to be disappointed in Manhattan.  But there is plenty to keep you entertained if you know where to look.

If you like golf and have the time, give Colbert Hills your best shot.  From the back tees it's 7,525 yards with a 77.5/152 rating and slope.  I would recommend moving forward a tee block or two unless you're a pro.  If you have the connections, a round at Manhattan Country Club would also be enjoyable.  I was privileged to work there for a couple years and can attest it's a very enjoyable course.  Unfortunately, it's private and not especially easy to get access to.

As for the nightlife, it pretty much all centers on Aggieville's bars.  The bars in the 'Ville will generally be filled with the college crowd, so if that's not your thing try Bobby T's (Kimball Ave. and Seth Child Rd.) or Porter's West (on Anderson, just west of Seth Child in Westloop).

In Aggieville, it all depends on what you're looking for.  If you want a more laid-back atmosphere without dancing and blasting music, check out Porter's (Manhattan Ave., just south of Anderson/Bluemont).  

Another bar along those lines is Pat's (the bbq joint, like most restaurants in the 'Ville, becomes a bar at night).  They often have live music on the weekends, but they have a back room and a patio.  The music is usually not deafening, so it's another good place to relax and carry on a conversation.

Other more laid-back bars to try include the Purple Pig and the sports-bar side of Tubby's.

If you're looking for more action (i.e. girls/guys and dance floors), the first recommendation is Kite's.  When I was in Manhattan last week I heard they're expanding, which will be a welcome addition to what was a fairly cramped bar.  It's considered one of the "greekier" bars in Manhattan, take that for what it's worth.  We often heard those immortal words at 1:45 a.m. "Get the f*** outta Kite's!"

Rusty's is the bar that's always assocaited with Manhattan, primarily because it takes up most of the block it occupies.  It actually comprises several sub-bars, including Rusty's Next Door, Rusty's Other Side, Rusty's Last Chance, and the back patio area.  If it's a nice night outside, sitting on the back patio is pretty enjoyable.  It's not my favorite bar in Manhattan, but all your friends will probably wonder what's wrong with you if you come back to town and didn't go there.  It's ranked the 12th-best sports bar in the nation, but I can truthfully testify that I've watched exactly one athletic even there...the USC-Fresno State game two years ago.

Other notes on the bars:  O'Malley's is the obligatory Irish pub, and has a fairly large, fenced-in back porch area.  I highly recommend dropping in for a Belfast Bomber (basically the same as an Irish Car Bomb...my Catholic friends joke that it's the difference between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants).  Auntie Mae's is a quaint little place across the street from Kite's, and serves a lethal cocktail called the "tarantula."  If you have your friends along (and why wouldn't you?) you might try Fats for a fishtank of your favorite cocktail.

I'd say that fairly well covers the basics, now I'll give you a chronoligical narrative of my dream weekend in Manhattan.  We'll assume a 6 p.m. kickoff for maximum entertainment value.

Friday:  
5 p.m.  Arrive in Manhattan.  Check in at the motel and then head down to So Long Saloon for a Jack Smack and a Boulevard.  It'll be a fairly long wait to get in, but it's worth it.  
8 p.m.  After a satisfying meal, amble over to Porter's.  If none of the drink specials interest me, a few Dos Equises and Red Stripes on the front porch as darkness falls will do.
10 p.m.  Wander over to O'Malley's for a drink on the back porch, followed by a Belfast before we walk out the door.
11:30 p.m.  If the line's not too long at Kite's stop in and assure that I will be deaf at 50.  Toss down a shot or two in order to improve my seriously pitiful dancing skills...then proceed to the floor.  If the line at Kite's is long, head over the Rusty's and take a tour of the gargantuan facility.
2 a.m.  Avoid getting into a fight on the street and take a cab to the hotel.

Saturday:
10 a.m.  Tee time at Manhattan Country Club.  Shoot a stunning 71 and take a few bucks off the boys.
2-5 p.m.  Enter the grass lot east of Snyder Stadium with a truck, a grill, a football, a washers board, folding chairs, a lot of food and a lot of beer (keep the beer in a cooler or otherwise concealed when you drive in, and keep it in a plastic cup in the lot).  Soak up three hours of sun, eat way more hamburgers than necessary, down just enough cold ones and play some games to wile away the day.  Invite fans of visiting teams over for a burger, beer and discussion of the day's game.
5 p.m.  Enter the holy shrine.
5:01-6:00 p.m.  Enjoy the pregame, including the Wabash Cannonball, Wildcat Victory, Alma Mater, and Willie punking some student dressed up as the other team's mascot.  Top it off as the stadium roars "K!  S!  U!  WILDCATS!" at Willie's instruction, and "welcome our guests, from (your town, your state)" with a shower of boos.
6:05-10:00 p.m.  Watch Prince's boys kick some visiting team's arse.
11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.  Celebrate the Cat's win with a Belfast, a tarantula, and multiple Crown and Cokes.

Sunday
2 p.m.  Wake up.

Finally...
Getting Aroung Manhattan

Manhattan is a small town, and is generally laid out in a fairly easy-to-understand grid.  The main east-west road is Anderson/Bluemont Avenue.  It's Anderson from the west side of town until it hits Aggieville at Manhattan Ave., and from there to the east side of town, it's Bluemont Ave.  Aggieville (the main 'entertainment' district) borders the southeast side of campus.  Other important roads to know know...

East-West Roads
---Kimball Avenue:  On the north side of town, and takes you past the sports complex (including Snyder Stadium).  Also connects to Tuttle Creek Blvd. (US 24) on the east side of town and takes you out to Colbert Hills Golf Course on the west side of town.
---Poyntz Avenue:  A few blocks south of Aggieville, connects to downtown and the mall area.
---Fort Riley Boulevard (KS 18):  On the south side of town, connects to Tuttle Creek Blvd. (US 24)on the east side of town and Seth Child Road (KS 113) on the west side of town.

North-South Roads
---Seth Child Road (KS 113):  Runs down the west side of town, including the Westloop Shopping Center (dining, shopping, etc.).
---College Avenue:  Borders the west side/parking lots of the sports complex.
---Denison Avenue:  Just east of the sports complex, takes you from that area down to campus.
---Manhattan Avenue:  Borders the east side of campus and connects to Aggieville.
---Tuttle Creek Blvd. (US 24):  Runs down the east side of town, past the main shopping and dining area.

Questions?  Comments?  Leave a comment or email me at bringonthecats@gmail.com

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