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Work or basketball on Friday? Wichita-area sports bars think they know your answer

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 6:07 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, June 7, 2014, at 12:49 p.m.

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This will upset you because you have an excellent work ethic.

But there are people in Wichita who will find some excuse to miss work Friday and visit local sports bars to watch the state’s three Division I men’s college basketball teams start play in the NCAA Tournament on national television.

With the University of Kansas leading off at 3:10 p.m., followed by Wichita State at 6:10 p.m, and Kansas State at 8:40 p.m., your fellow workers could very well spend the entire day at their favorite watering hole instead of carrying their weight in the office.

And don’t think those watering holes don’t know that.

“We anticipate a full house and selling a lot of burgers and a lot of beer,” said Eric Davisson, general manager of Heroes, 117 N. Mosley in Old Town.

Heroes will nearly double its staff and has ordered extra supplies. Every chair will be occupied, all eyes focused on Heroes’ 33 TVs and two big-screen TVs, he said.

“This is the best month of the year,” Davisson said.

“It very well could be one of the all-around biggest days we’ve had, especially with all three teams playing back to back to back,” said Daron Adelgren of the Pumphouse, 825 E. Second St.

Having plenty of staff on hand means people who are just getting back home from spring-break travels are having to come in to work, he said.

“It doesn’t change a whole lot of what we do except for things like staffing real heavy,” Adelgren said.

“We’re making sure everything is working, that there’s plenty of TVs and projectors. I’m troubleshooting a projector as we speak.

“It’s just great. I wish every weekend was like this – we would take it.”

Adelgren said the Pumphouse had been getting calls from people wanting to make reservations, but it really wouldn’t work, especially with the games ongoing. When people ask how early they should arrive, he’s answering, “There is no ‘too early.’ ” The Pumphouse and several other bars will be opening at 11 a.m.

Lt. Dan East said Wichita police do not plan any special patrols or an increased presence in Old Town during the NCAA Tournament.

“We don’t have a noticeable increase with fights or disturbances because of sporting events,” East said. “Bar owners communicate with us if they see issues start to arise.”

Police encourage fans gathering in bars to watch games to drink responsibly, use a designated driver and avoid drinking and driving.

Magoos Bar & Grill at 2304 S. Oliver is taking reservations. Some people are coming in for the KU game, some are waiting for the WSU game, and some plan to make a marathon of it, bartender Joy Bigley said.

“We have a great big screen, so we usually have a big crowd. All of our TVs will be on the game,” Bigley said.

“I imagine it’s going to be beautiful.”

“We’re expecting a very, very busy day,” said Myles Eufinger of the Old Chicago at 2240 N. Tyler. “We expect to be either full or have people on a wait list early in the evening.”

“We’re really just making sure the building is staffed as best as possible with servers and cooks. We’re making sure we have plenty of beer on hand as well.”

Jordan Hoefler, manager of Deano’s Grill & Tapworks, 9747 E. 21st St., anticipates a big day from noon until 11 p.m. Deano’s will offer drink specials honoring each Kansas team during their games and special sandwiches.

Deano’s is beefing up its staff and adding tables so plenty of people can view the bar’s 23 flat-screen TVs, all bigger than 60 inches.

“This is pretty comparable to one of the busiest days we might have,” Hoefler said. “It’s not a Saturday, but I know a lot of people have taken the day off and set their priorities for the madness.”

Brad Haskins, kitchen manager at Madrocks Sports Bar, 1821 E. Madison in Derby, said he’s doubled his food order for today.

“We’re anticipating a madhouse,” he said.

Mardrocks normally takes reservations, but it isn’t taking any Friday because the bar already has reserved tables for their loyal regulars, mostly Shocker fans, who got first dibs.

Madrocks will add staff because people tend to arrive in waves just before games, Haskins said.

“It’s going to be a packed house, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

“Once it’s over, you look back and say, ‘Wow, that just happened?’”

A line is expected to form by 10:30 a.m. outside Larry Bud’s Sports Bar & Grill at 6200 W. 21st St., a half-hour before opening, said Leslie Dick, manager.

“I’m sure they’ll stay all day and see all three games,” she said.

Business already was bustling on Thursday, the first day of the tournament. A shuttle bus dropped 40 men from Hutchinson off at the bar before it opened, and the men spent the day filling out tournament brackets and watching the first-day action, Dick said. They plan to return today.

The place was bursting even for the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament featuring Wichita State two weeks ago, Dick said. With all three teams in action today, “I’m sure we won’t have seats by 2 p.m.,” she said.

The fun may be just beginning.

“If Kansas State wins, then they play WSU on Sunday, and that’ll be just as packed,” Dick said.

Contributing: Stan Finger of The Eagle

Reach Fred Mann at 316-268-6310 or fmann@wichitaeagle.com. Reach Annie Calovich at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com.

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