Edmonton bars prepare for gold-medal crowds

Team Canada fans searching for camaraderie and suds Sunday morning will now be able to watch the men's gold-medal game on a bar stool, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with other super fans.
Bars in Alberta will be opening their doors extra early Sunday, just in time for patrons to cheer on the gold-medal men's hockey final. (Katherine Holland/CBC)

Team Canada fans searching for camaraderie and some suds Sunday morning will now be able to watch the game on a bar stool, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with other super fans.

On Friday, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission confirmed all licensed establishments in the province were authorized to serve and open at 5 a.m. Sunday – just in time for the gold-medal final game in men's hockey. 

MKT General Manager Lindsay Pennock said the province’s decision caught him by surprise.

"It was definitely a scramble,” he said, “basically a lot of begging and pleading with our staff to come in and work it."

Pennock says every table at MKT was reserved within two hours of the announcement the bar would be opening early.

"Easily we'll have 400 people in here for sure."

Several other bars, including Schanks Sports Bar, Kelly's Pub and The Canadian Brewhouse, say they’re expecting similar numbers.

While many are excited at the prospect of cheering on Team Canada with other fans nearby and a drink in hand, the AGLC ruling is raising some concerns about drinking responsibly.

"What we're hoping doesn’t happen is a continuation, and this becomes an ‘after-party’ - so to speak - from a responsible service perspective.  We think it is important there be a break between Saturday night and Sunday morning," said Jody Korchinksy with the AGLC.

MKT server Jennifer Gatza said she's a little worried that some bar patrons will take advantage of the early opening hours to pull an all-nighter. (CBC)

Server Jennifer Gatza agrees.

"Not going to lie - a bit of my concern is people getting out of the bars at 3 a.m. and deciding to carry on at home for the next hour and then come back here. Maybe we'll have some belligerent people if things don't go their way.”

As a precaution, MKT will be fully staffed, complete with doormen to make sure things don’t get out of hand.

EPS asks Edmontonians to behave

Speaking for EPS, Insp. Chad Tawfik asked that anyone who takes advantage of the early opening hours drink responsibly and make arrangements to get home safely afterwards.  

​"Like all the Edmontonians, the members of the Edmonton Police Service are really proud of [how] the Canadian hockey team has done and we'd like to be able to ... celebrate in a safe and respectful manner."

Asked about the city's previous Whyte Avenue hockey riot, Tawfik said police have a plan in place should things get out of hand.

"Of course, we have to prepare for every instance that could occur, and we certainly will do that – but again we're hoping that Edmontonians will take pride in this," he said. "Successful or not, our response reflects on us as Edmontonians. We'd like everyone to obviously behave responsibly and not engage in those types of activities."

However, EPS will be prepared if crowds should get out of hand, he added. Tawfik said extra officers will be patrolling in the main bar areas to help deal with the increased crowds, and that protocols are in place to deal with any outcome.

Where you can watch the game

The following Edmonton bars will be opening their doors to hockey fans bright and early Sunday:

  • Beer Revolution (11736 - 104th Avenue)
  • Boston Pizza (238 - 199th Street and 17002 - 90th Avenue)
  • The Burg (10190-104th Street)
  • The Canadian Brewhouse (10338 - 109th Street, 9538 - Ellerslie Road, 200-270 - Baseline Road, 12711 97th Street)
  • Central Social Hall (10909 - Jasper Avenue)
  • Craft Beer Market (10013 - 101A Avenue)
  • Hudsons Canadian Taphouse (10307 - 82nd Avenue and 11248 - 104th Avenue)
  • Kelly's Pub (10156 - 104th Street)
  • Mercer Tavern (10363 - 104th Street)
  • O2's Tap House (11066 - 156th Street)
  • On The Rocks (11740 - Jasper Avenue)
  • The Pint (10125 - 109th Street)
  • Schanks Sports Bar (9927 - 178th Street)
  • Shamrock Curling Club Lounge (9330 - 80th Avenue)
  • Sportsman's Pub (5708 - 75th Street)
  • Tavern on Whyte (10507 - 82nd Avenue)

Most bars CBC spoke to say they plan on opening their doors around 4:30, with food and beverage service starting at 5 a.m.

If you'd prefer to skip out on the bar scene, Celebration Church (7215 - Argyll Road) will also be opening its doors to hockey fans.

Know of a venue we missed? Tweet us @CBCEdmonton or send us an email at webedmonton@cbc.ca.


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