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Friday, July 25, 2014

Wichita bars brace for crowds of KU fans

By Fred Mann
The Wichita Eagle

Wichita bars are anticipating big crowds to watch the telecast of Monday night’s NCAA Tournament championship basketball game between Kansas and Kentucky.

Emerson Biggins Sports Bar and Grill at 2330 N. Maize Road expects that even on a workday people will begin arriving when the bar opens at 3 p.m. so they can stake out a spot.

“They’ll be here at least eight hours. There’s people waiting at the doors to get their tables. Everyone’s superstitious and they don’t want to mess up their mojo,” said owner Renee Weingartner on Sunday.

The Emerson Biggins at 808 E. Douglas in Old Town will open at 11 a.m. and it also expects a huge crowd. Saturday night, the place was filled more than an hour before Kansas tipped off against Ohio State in the semifinals, said Jennifer Ray, general manager.

“It was an amazingly busy night, so we’re expecting the same thing,” she said. “I think people should be prepared to go early to get a seat. Hours early.”

Heroes Sports Bar and Grill at 117 N. Mosley in Old Town, with a capacity of 200, expects a big crowd. It also hopes not have a repeat of what happened in 2008 when Kansas won the national championship over Memphis.

As Kansas rallied from behind to send the game into overtime, some patrons got up on tables and squirted mustard and ketchup everywhere. They even broke a table, said Jason Rose, bar manager.

“It was 20 years since they won a championship, so I just let it all slide,” he said.

Not this time. The staff will take unspecified measures to prevent it from happening again, he said.

Heroes stayed open until 2 a.m. after the 2008 win and probably will tonight if the Jayhawks win again.

“If they lose, we’ll probably close at 10:30. Nobody sticks around,” Rose said.

Stadium Sports Bar at 620 Maple also anticipates a big night. Stadium will have its pool league Monday night as well, which should boost the crowd and fill the bar to its 90-seat capacity, said bartender Brittany Fry.

Fat Tony’s Sports Bar and Grill at 417 E. Douglas will have radio station T-95 broadcasting live all day Monday starting at 11 a.m. The bar anticipates a crowd as large as Saturday night’s, when the building was filled to its 248 capacity and people stood outside to watch the KU-Ohio State game on its 22-foot and 14-foot HD televisions..

One homeless man watched the entire game outside, said manager Matt Howard.

Fat Tony’s was two-thirds full by halftime of Kentucky-Louisville game that preceded the KU game.

The bar went through 2 1/2 kegs of Bud Light beer — a half-keg to one keg is normal — as well as four cases of bottled beers, and 30 pounds of tortilla chips during the game, he said.

Fat Tony’s probably will dye its beer blue or red tonight, Howard said.

Larry Bud’s Bar and Grill at 2120 N. Woodlawn expects its usual huge crowd..

“We packed them in yesterday,” manager Tim Townsend said Sunday, “and we’ll pack them in tomorrow.”

Reach Fred Mann at 316-268-6310 or fmann@wichitaeagle.com

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