Some Red Deer bars expect to be busy this Sunday, when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers battle the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 107th Grey Cup.
“I think we’ll have a full building,” said Lloyd Strickland, general manager of Hudsons Canada’s Pub in downtown Red Deer.
“We already have two big (reservations) of 20 and 30 people – so that’s 50 people just in (reservations). Then I’m sure there will be lots more walk-ins as well.”
The Grey Cup, which caps off the 2019 CFL season, isn’t usually the busiest sporting event at Hudsons, Strickland said.
“It’s typically not too bad. It depends on who’s in the finals, and it depends on the location it’s being played. But there’s usually a lot of interest and it fills our building pretty quick,” he said.
This year’s game will be played at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, which may have an impact on local bars, said Strickland.
“With it being that close, it’s possible we might lose some of the more passionate fans, because they’ll actually go to the Grey Cup if they can.
“At the same time, with the game being so close … people are definitely going to be a little more interested in checking it out,” he said.
Dylan Handfield, bar manager at The Canadian Brewhouse in the northeast part of the city, said he expects it to be busy Sunday, even though there isn’t an Alberta team playing in the game.
“We’re going to be full. We’re going to have a lineup definitely,” said Handfield.
“Anything to do with sports (is busy), especially football. This is Red Deer and we are a sports bar.”
Central Albertans are excited for the game, Handfield added.
“It’s a reason for people to get out of the house, have a few drinks with their buddies, families or whoever. They can have some dinner while they watch and have a good time.”
Jono Brown, assistant general manager of the Toad ‘n’ Turtle Pubhouse and Grill in the south end of Red Deer, said he would have expected Grey Cup Sunday to be busier if there was an Alberta team in the game.
“We have a couple of reservations, but I think ultimately, it’ll be a normal kind of Sunday for us,” said Brown.
“I feel like it’s getting less and less every year. I feel like it may be because people are doing more house parties and things like that for the game.”
The Grey Cup begins at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Country music star Keith Urban will perform during the halftime show.