By: Byron Maheia and Briana Cisneros
The Loyola Ramblers’ victories made history for more than just the university’s basketball team. Local pubs and bars, on and off campus, experienced a pleasant, if unexpected surge of both business and fame.
Rambler recognition went viral, with campus and neighborhood scenes broadcast around the country. But local sports bars such like Norse Bar located, at 6334 N Clark, and Ireland’s Pub 10, in the Damen Student Center on campus, were some of the biggest beneficiaries,
Ben Buhr, the Manager of Norse Bar, joked that he was even getting calls for reservations, a rarity for the friendly neighborhood joint.
“We are getting tons of calls on weekends before games from people asking to reserve a table. Clearly, they don’t know we’re THE laid-back neighborhood pub and don’t make reservations,” he said. “But we appreciate the business.”
Alumni, students, and fans flocked the local bars as early as four hours before the games, hoping to snag a good seat with the best view. But while most of the bars were packed, Buhr noted that it was a blip rather than a trend.
“One day a week isn’t going to do much for an off-campus bar that doesn’t attract many Loyola students,” Buhr said.
Still, the five games that Loyola played in the NCAA tournament translated to a 6 percent increase in Norse sales last month, Buhr said.
Ireland’s Pub 10 is a bit of a different story, as it is student-run and located on campus. The Pub saw record-breaking attendance and sales during the tournament.
Michael Ross, president of the pub, said employees didn’t know what to expect from the tournament, as it was Loyola’s first appearance in more than 30 years. They were ready, though, he said, and Rambler fans “didn’t disappoint.”
And it wasn’t just the cash registers that were ringing.
“The bar received national recognition,” Ross said, noting that a video of the watch party was featured on ESPN, and in other media stories.
Ross said he hopes the free publicity will encourage more students to hang out at the pub.