Sunday is going to be a bad day if you’re a chicken wing.
Thousands upon thousands are going to be consumed in sports bars and restaurants around town as football fans take in the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event of the year, and hockey afficionados watch the Winnipeg Jets visit a little team called the Montreal Canadiens.
It stands to be a long day for bartenders and servers as the Jets game starts at 1 p.m. and the Super Bowl will kick off at 5:30 p.m. It’s not likely to be the busiest day of the year at licensed establishments — the Jets’ home opener back in October and the Grey Cup in November that featured the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be hard to top — but it’s expected to be right up there.
Andre Trudel, general manager of 4Play Sports Bar, said he expects fans to be lined up when he opens the doors at noon and not leave until the Vince Lombardi trophy has been presented well after supper.
"It would be kind of silly to come watch the Jets game and get a good seat with your friends and then leave. If you’re here to watch the hockey, you’re going to stick right through," he said.
A couple of hundred tickets have been given out to 4Play’s regular customers, who will enjoy a special buffet including chicken wings and nachos, and all 700 people who are expected to cram in can get their faces painted in their favourite NFL colours, he said.
Not every establishment in town is going to show both games, however. Luxalune Gastropub, for example, never opens up in the afternoon and it’s not going to make an exception on this most super of Sundays, according to Kim Slezak, its manager.
Once the doors open in the evening, she said she expects an electric atmosphere.
"It’s going to be really loud. Big groups are going to come in," she said.
Where it will make an exception is by broadcasting the Super Bowl’s audio over its sound system.
"We don’t normally play the sound because we want to keep it more of a gastro pub than a sports bar. But we’ll do it for the Super Bowl. This place gets excited for that," she said.
A big crowd is also expected at the Polo Park Earls location. Lauren Sosnowsky, its bar manager, said it always has a big turnout to watch Jets games on its 103-inch plasma television and the Super Bowl will only make things crazier.
"It’s going to be a steady packed house all day," she said.
Earls won’t be outfitting its walls with any Super Bowl banners or posters but it will encourage its service staff to wear jerseys of their favourite players to show their support.