First, it was a win against seven other Wilmington area bars. Then, Jimmy’s in Wrightsville Beach bested a regional bracket against such well-known spots as Player’s Retreat in Raleigh and Chapel Hill’s He’s Not Here.
Now, the local bar is going head-to-head against a bar representing Clemson University, the Tiger Town Tavern (or TTT). Voting began at 3 p.m. Monday and continues for 72 hours until organizers can tally votes on Twitter.
“If you have Twitter, vote #bestbarjimmys,” said owner Jimmy Gilleece. “If you don’t have Twitter, download it.”
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The competition is part of an effort from Barstool Sports to find the best college bar in America. The springtime event coincides with the NCAA basketball tournament. Different Barstool university accounts help spur the action.
Breyden Sweeney, for example, helped poll people on the barstool_uncw Instagram page to come up with the initial local round. The eight bars included Pantana Bob’s, Husk, Goodfellas, Reel Café, 22 North and Blue Post. It came down to Jimmy’s against Might As Well Bar & Grill, which Jimmy’s won by about 1,500 votes, Sweeney said.
Then, in a new regional bracket of four, Jimmy’s competed against He’s Not Here (UNC-Chapel Hill’s representative), Player’s Retreat (North Carolina State University) and Coyote Joe’s (UNC Charlotte).
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Gilleece said. “Those are giant bars.”
With that win, Jimmy’s is now on the bracket as one of the country’s top 32 bars.
He credits Sweeney’s help with a marketing push, and posting information about some of the work that Jimmy’s does, such as hosting an annual toy drive that collects hundreds of bicycles for local children. There’s also a short video of patrons (and dogs) falling over in revelry.
On Twitter, those voting for Jimmy’s praise everything from the bar’s comfy sweatshirts to the adorable mascots — two dogs named Kruiser and Kash.
Sweeney said one focus will be on expanding the voting beyond college students.
“Jimmy’s isn’t just a college bar,” he said. “It’s a place that plenty of people enjoy.”
They’ll be doing another big social media push until Wednesday for the next win. It may be a tough one because of the social media disparity.
Clemson’s Barstool Instagram has 74,000 followers, compared to 24,000 for the local UNCW page.
The following round doesn’t get any easier. The UNCW/Clemson winner will face off against the representatives from East Carolina or Tennessee. For reference, Sup Dogs bar in Greenville has won the past two titles.
Gilleece urges people to vote, to see how far a Wilmington area bar can go.