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Away game brings out fewer Thunder fans to Oklahoma City bars

BY Phillip O'Connor poconnor@opubco.com Published: June 17, 2012
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A Sunday night NBA Finals game on Father's Day proved to be a tough sell for many Oklahoma City-area bars.

Several watering holes reported fewer customers than for previous Thunder road games during the team's playoff run. Instead of standing room crowds, several offered open tables even after Game 3 with the Miami Heat had started.

“We are absolutely dead,” Elizabeth Jamison, a bartender at Coach's in Bricktown, said at half-time.

“We were crazy for the last game. Right now, my only two tables tabbed out and there's nobody at the bar.”

The numbers also were down, though not as bad, at Louie's Bar and Grill on Lake Hefner.

“We didn't know if it was the 7 p.m. tipoff or Father's Day,” said server Kaylee Johnson.

At O'Connell's Irish Pub and Grille in Norman, bar manager Jeff Stewart said business was probably off 10 percent from previous games.

“I think a lot of people are grilling out and staying home with Dad,” Stewart said.

Most of the patrons at Saints in Oklahoma City assembled before tip off, the faithful filling the Plaza District bar's nine stools and two dozen tables.

Singing out

The lower turnout didn't dim enthusiasm for a new postgame tradition that's become popular at Saints.

Owner Patrick Ireland, 26, hit on the idea half way through the final game in the Thunder's Western Division Final series with the San Antonio Spurs.

He thought his year-old bar at 1715 NW 16, needed a new song to replace “We are the Champions” by Queen, which had been played after games.

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