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West Knoxville bars prepare for Vols football frenzy

Sports bars may be less noisy with seats open and TVs tuned to baseball, but come Saturday a different fervor will arise.
Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 12:07 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2020 at 9:16 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Sports bars may be less noisy with seats open and TVs tuned to baseball, but come Saturday a different fervor will arise.

“We’re expecting a really busy weekend. We’re really excited,” said John Steed, General Manager at Double Dogs.

“Football is huge in the South anyway," said Britton Partain, Managing Partner at Drakes, "Especially in Knoxville because UT is a vital part of the city running.”

Double Dogs and Drake’s were just two Knoxville bars expecting crowds on Saturday.

“While it will be pretty busy it will be safe to come in and eat," said Steed.

Following guidelines was crucial to managers like Steed and Partain.

That means keeping tables six feet apart and staff wearing masks. The sights and sounds will change.

“It will be dramatically different. It won’t be nearly as loud in the restaurant," explained Steed.

He told me with more fans wanting to stay to watch the game, they may stake out longer at their tables.

“As long as Tennessee’s playing well then everybody’s happy right,” questioned Steed, "So we’re not concerned about the lack of tables turning.”

Double Dogs' normal capacity was around 120 people, but now they can only welcome a little under half that.

“Overall sales we’re not really sure how that will play out while we are expecting to be extremely busy or as busy as we can be,” said Steed.

Doors will close at 11 to comply with the Knox County Board of Health’s rules.

If the game goes to overtime or double overtime, people could get kicked out.

“I hate it for the patrons that we have. It affects the business as much so as it affects the patrons that want to come out and watch the game and enjoy the game,” said Partain.

The best advice these bar managers have for Vols fans: “I would just encourage people to get here early.”

Both bars expect food and alcohol sales to increase despite potentially having fewer customers overall.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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