by Eric Ginsburg
If you’re looking for a place to watch the Carolina game this Saturday in High Point, I know just the spot.
On Easter Sunday, hours before UNC would knock off fellow ACC holdout Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight competition, Tipsy’z Tavern proudly proclaimed its Carolina loyalties on a printed sheet consisting of the day’s specials.
It may be safe to say that many Triad taverns will become de facto Carolina strongholds on Saturday. After all, the Heels are up against the Syracuse Orange in the Final Four, and I’m betting more people around here will cheer for ’Cuse because they’re Duke or State fans than out of some allegiance to the New York institution of higher learning.
Yes, the bandwagon grows as Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson and the rest of the team draw closer to the NCAA Championship (against Villanova or Oklahoma, in case you slept all weekend). Maybe a few venues in High Point will swap out those purple flags for the Third City’s university that are so prevalent and replace them with Heels paraphernalia (though not, I’m guessing, at Liberty Brewery & Steakhouse, where brewman Todd Isbell will be rooting for the Orange).
But wouldn’t you want to drink somewhere that the support felt genuine?
If you’re going to Tipsy’z for the 8:50 game, be sure to arrive with plenty of time to spare — the place filled up around 5 p.m. on Sunday, and the other Final Four matchup this upcoming Saturday at 6:09 will likely bring in its own crowd.
The bar admittedly possesses a stupid name. There’s no way around it. But as with most things in High Point, or maybe even the Triad, you’ve gotta take what you can get.
Luckily nothing else is stupid about Tipsy’z, save for the placement of the dart board, which would require a minimum of seven seats to be abandoned in order to safely throw.
Tipsy’z is a step above a dive, and certainly more than a hole in the wall. There’s a full kitchen, for starters, cooking up the kind of burger-forward bar food that you’d look to find on game day, including newly added buffalo chicken nachos and fried pepperjack — yep, it’s battered and fried cheese with some sauce.
Here you’ll find a group of regular stiffs chugging beers and egged on by their bartender, but also a few middle-aged couples sharing an early dinner, a group of their friends in their thirties getting together and a young guy trying to hit on one of two college juniors that he’s just met. And all of this while the sun is still high.
You may know Tipsy’z from its food truck, specializing in stuffed burgers. Or maybe you’ve seen it on the corner there by DeBeen Espresso and a Sheetz gas station. But it’s bigger than it looks and nicer than it sounds, the kind of place where you could order the Hangover Special for brunch with a grapefruit mimosa with a strawberry garnish or where you might hear “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark.
This is a domestic beer kind of bar, the kind that attracts patrons that those Budweiser Super Bowl ads are aimed at but where Red Oak, Foothills and Dale’s are still on draft.
The space is split, with some seating separate in a more food-oriented space but most of the building occupied by the bar and TV centric orientation. But the bar is laid out to accommodate dining — think of Cooper’s Ale House in Greensboro, the sort of place that is most definitely a bar but one that emphasizes seated interactions over large open space. High and low tables abound, including a rare find that will seat nine, great for allowing larger parties to stick together without forcing half the people to stand or float.
In that way, Tipsy’z doesn’t just cater to groups there to watch a game — three televisions projected sports matches before the NCAA men’s tourney came on but very few patrons paid them any mind — or knock back a six-pack. You’re just as likely to find a family there with two small children, or as the case was on Sunday, a little bit of everything.
Tipsy’z is not the kind of bar you haven’t seen before. This is still High Point, North Carolina. But it’s cleaner, more welcoming sort of salad-sandwich-burger bar than most, not just in the Third City, but the Triad. Plus, they’re Carolina fans.
Visit Tipsy’z Tavern at 805 Westchester Drive (HP) or find it on Facebook.