Raising the Bar

You may not have met Patrick yet, but you’ve probably heard him. The boisterous Canadian has come to our shores after an interesting career in ‘The Great White North’. He started out working for the largest rock station in Canada, working on-air first as the morning drive chaps’ lackey, then as an afternoon drive on-air promotional personality. This is where the engagement bug bit him.

Since Banana Kick, the company that employs me, specializes in sports and leisure marketing, I thought I’d cover the leisure side of things. I wanted to talk a little about what we call in Canada (and invariably in the US) a sports bar.

The Best Sports Bar in North America

Now, I understand the value of sitting in the pub and watching football with a few mates on a cold December Saturday afternoon. There is something warming about sitting in a cozy pub consuming a few pints and staring intently at the screen embracing every moment of the match. It is a part of the UK that I revel in. But there are also different experiences that can bring a whole new element of stimulation.

I’m not sure if any of the readers of this little blog have been to a sports bar, but for those who haven’t, they are playgrounds for young men and sports-oriented women (along with cougars on the prowl) to go and have a great afternoon or evening of sporting heaven. What created the impetus to write this was when I went back home to Toronto last May. Toronto is now home to the “best sports bar in North America” (as touted by ESPN). The Real Sports Bar & Grill, as seen in the image below, is the Mecca of sport stimulation: take a traditional pub, multiply it by 1000, add a litany of beautiful women waiting on you hand and foot, and a dash of ‘razzmatazz’. As the bar’s promotional material says, there are: “12 types of burgers to traditional sports bar fare and 112 taps featuring more than 29 brands of beer, the 25,000 square-foot, 1,000-seat sports bar is also home to 199 High-Definition televisions [that’s right, 199!] and a two-storey HD screen, the largest indoor restaurant screen in North America.” There’s no chance you could miss a second of the match. There is no waiting at the bar for your pint to be served by some surly barmaid who is disinterested in even the simplest level of service. (I know some people claim they like the poor service in the UK, but I think it’s a case of individuals reveling in their own schadenfreude, but that is a whole other story.)

Now, some may say this is a fake or manufactured experience. I’d have to say I agree, it is manufactured, but it’s manufactured awesome! It’s like breast augmentation and nose hair trimmers, flash cars and well-tailored suits, the sports bar makes sport watching better. I truly challenge any British bloke (or cougar) to tell me that they’d really rather fight for the attention of a cantankerous bartender shuffling around a grotty O’Neill’s than a fun and friendly server making sure all your needs are met (in beer and pie terms). The food options are much greater too, or at least meet the basic requirements of quality.

This is truly a ‘don’t knock it until you try it’ experience.

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