British Columbia

Canucks playoff run provides welcome boost to local sports bars

As the Vancouver Canucks prepare for their next playoff series, so do local sports bars that have seen fans come back in droves.

‘Sports coming back is just a huge boost to us ... I’m turning people away at the door’

Sports fans are streaming into bars once again as the Vancouver Canucks make a push for the Stanley Cup. (Mike Zimmer)

As the Vancouver Canucks prepare for their next playoff series, so do local sports bars that have seen fans coming back in droves. 

Bars all over Vancouver are reporting a surge in patrons thanks to the Canucks playoff qualifier series over the past week, which was clinched by the home team on Friday. 

"Sports coming back is just a huge boost to us ... I'm turning people away at the door," said Alan O'Donnell, general manager of the Red Card Sports Bar and Eatery. 

"It's at the stage where I can't even do my schedule for next week ... because I don't know when the Canucks are going to play, and I have to have extra staff on those days."

Crowds have been down

Despite the increase in guests, bars are still operating at reduced capacity due to physical-distancing requirements. 

At The Pint on Abbott Street, assistant general manager Maggie Rolfe says they cut their capacity in half, removed tables for spacing, limited seating, and eliminated bar seating. 

"Obviously with the restrictions on capacity, and seating people apart, we've been seeing less people coming in, so I think hockey kind of reinvigorated people wanting to come out which is nice," said Rolfe.

"We're not being able to stuff the place like we once did when we had really good playoff seasons, but yeah I'd say we probably doubled our patrons just to come see the Canucks, which is great."

Changing business models

Even nightclubs are now catering to sports fans, with places like Vancouver's Hotel Belmont offering Canucks, Raptors and Blue Jays games. 

"We've completely had to change what our business model is. Our bread and butter used to be sort of the nightclub scene," said Belmont general manager of food and beverage, Don Falconer. 

"We've brought in a new chef, we've got a great new menu, we're really going hard into the Canucks playoff games."

B.C. bars will be able to enjoy the boost in business for at least another four Canucks games, as the team gets ready for a first round match-up in the Stanley Cup playoffs against the St. Louis Blues.


Cory Correia

Associate Producer and Video Journalist

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