MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee played host to NCAA Tournament teams on Thursday, March 16th -- and downtown Milwaukee was a busy spot as the tournament got underway.
The party started early in downtown Milwaukee, with many bars and restaurants opening hours ahead of schedule and the fans appreciated it as many were visiting from out of town.
The tournament continues this weekend, and it's sure to be a blast for basketball fans and bring big business for bar owners.
Andrew Meeks and his friends are staying in Milwaukee throughout the tournament.
"It's been fun. We just grabbed breakfast. We just got tickets," said Meeks from Minnesota.
All their favorite teams are playing in Milwaukee.
"We're all coming in from Minneapolis, but we went to school in Minnesota, Purdue, Iowa State -- so all of our teams ended up in one spot which is perfect," said Meeks.
The group picked the perfect party spot, the tent at The Loaded Slate.
"We play all the games, hang all their banners up, their flags up, make it a great experience for everyone that comes in the city," said John Kuntz, The Loaded Slate owner.
The large space accommodates 800 people with 10, 60-inch televisions surrounding the interior, two bars with draught and canned beer and two 240-inch projectors displaying the games on the ceiling.
"It's amazing. The best part of it is making people smile. Customer service -- that's why we're in this business, to make people happy," said Kuntz.
Many bar owners said they ordered extra kegs and food to ensure they have enough for the wave of basketball fans.
It'll be a busy weekend for hotels as well. Many in the Milwaukee area are booked through the weekend.