Business is boomin' for local sports bars and restaurants

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Amanda Delgado | The Daily Wildcat Gentle Ben’s Brewing Company located on University Boulevard sells a combination of beers named “Flight,” which includes different shades of beer and bitterness. All beers are brewed locally with their store, Barrio Brewing Co.

It’s that time of year again when the University of Arizona typically becomes a ghost town and students head back home for a break from classes or plant themselves on the beach. Businesses on University Boulevard normally slow down during a break like this. However, that isn’t expected to happen this spring break, especially with UA sports still in full swing and the Tucson Festival of Books heading to campus. 

For March 5–11, restaurants and bars on University Boulevard, including No Anchovies, Frog and Firkin, Illegal Pete’s and Gentle Ben’s, are expecting many customers in and out of their doors.

“The Festival of Books brings in a ton of guests, so we expect to be busy,” said Lara Mossberg, a manager at Gentle Ben’s. “We don’t do anything in particular since we are so busy. It brings almost 100,000 people down here.”

When coming to see the 350 authors during the festival, individuals and families may want to catch up with Arizona sports around campus. They may even want to catch a game on TV. 

There are many sports around campus, including baseball, softball and tennis. However, fans will most likely be flocking over to restaurants and bars to catch the first round of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament, which will be aired on the Pac-12 Network. 

“We are absolutely going to be showing [the tournament],” Mossberg said. “We get a lot of support from the community for the UA basketball team. When students are gone, we get a lot of alumni that are still here and Tucson locals that want to come out and support.”

The Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament will be in Las Vegas, Nevada March 7–10. UA fans, or just basketball fans in general, can head to University Boulevard to watch every game. 

Illegal Pete’s manager, April Ramirez, said business will slow down a little due to students being gone. However, she is hoping the Tucson Festival of Books and UA sports will attract costumers.

“I think we will definitely drop down in business a little bit, but it works out for us because it gives a chance for all the locals to come out and see what it is,” Ramirez said. “We will do our normal happy hours. With the Festival of Books, we get a lot more families in, which is nice because not a lot normally come in. For the Pac-12 [Tournament], we will be having specials and that should bring in people, as well.”

When heading to the festival, families can also stop by Hi Corbett Field. There, they can catch Arizona head coach Jay Johnson and the baseball team playing San Diego State on Tuesday, March 6, at 6 p.m. and North Dakota State from March 9–11. Fans can also head over to the other diamond, where Arizona softball will be welcoming teams to Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium for the Wildcat Invitational March 8–11.


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