Unlike their Toronto counterparts, Hamilton bars won’t be allowed to serve alcohol early Sunday morning for the Olympic men’s hockey final, but that is not stopping some of them from opening early.
“We will be open Sunday because we think that the game should be watched communally, “ said Cathy Nesbitt, manager of Thirsty Cactus, a sports bar in Dundas that will open at 7 a.m on Sunday.
Stonewalls Restaurant in downtown Hamilton will also open at 6:30 a.m. as the Canadian men’s hockey team faces off against Sweden for the Olympic gold medal in Sochi.
Staff have been fielding calls all day from patrons who want to find out if Stonewalls will be open for the game, said Alauna Maclean, one of the managers.
Some servers even volunteered to work the early shift, Maclean said.
“They volunteered because they want to be part of it,” she said.
However, one thing wouldn’t be on the menu: booze.
Toronto City Council passed a motion this week to allow early alcohol sale for the remainder of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, but Hamilton’s bars will remain dry.
Unlike the City of Toronto, which was given control eight years ago over setting when bars can serve alcohol, Hamilton’s liquor venues are still regulated under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
Nesbitt from Thirsty Cactus said that won’t stop fans from enjoying the game.
“The day should be about the hockey game, not about drinking,” she said.
Instead, Thirsty Cactus is serving the next Canadian thing: Tim Hortons coffee and donuts.
“If you can’t do beer with hockey, you might as well serve the next best thing,” she told CBC Hamilton.
Maclean of Stonewalls said, however, that Hamilton bars are missing out.
“Everybody finds it unfair. It’d be nice to have a one-time thing.”