The bars in downtown Auburn are one of the best places to join in with other Auburn fans to cheer on and celebrate the Auburn men’s basketball team’s recent success.
Quixotes, Live Oaks, 17-16 Bar and SkyBar Cafe are some of the bars that hosted gatherings for last weekend’s games and are gearing up for this coming game against University of Virginia.
“It was insane,” said Brandon Sly, assistant manager at 17-16. “It was a packed out bar.”
For last Sunday’s game, Sly said it was tense in the beginning, especially with the history of the previous games with Kentucky.
“You could definitely tell a lot of people were a little stressed out — kind of on the edge of their seat,” Sly said.
He said when Auburn came back at halftime, things started to pick up, and they started turning up the volume on the TVs.
“Once we won — as soon as that clock ticked zero, people sprinted out of here to run to Toomer’s Corner,” Sly said.
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For this coming game, he said they are going to focus on just being there to help people celebrate.
He said since this is Auburn’s first time in the Final Four, people are going to want to celebrate, and they are going to be prepared.
“We want everyone to come in and have a great experience,” said Brett Shackelford, general manager at SkyBar.
For the showings of the games, SkyBar put up a screen in their back bar to make it into a movie theater-like environment in addition to the other screens and TVs normally present.
“It’s been great,” Shackelford said. “It’s been upside down, and we appreciate everybody’s support.”
Shackelford said people have been coming early on game days to get seats for the game.
This Saturday for the game against the Unviersity of Virginia, SkyBar will open at 1 p.m., while the back and VIP section will begin opening at 3 p.m.
Shackelford said SkyBar will also have the upstairs open since it is semi-covered. However, depending on the weather, they may have to prep with covers for the back half of the Big Sky, the back half of the lower balcony, the outside and some of the front.
“I think it will be another super crazy night,” Shackelford said.
At Quixotes, the past few wins have elicited reactions that general manager Dade Nunnally can only compare to the most thrilling moments in recent Auburn sports history.
“2010 National title game — it was like that,” Nunnally said.
Quixotes has been projecting the games on a big screen near the stage and dance floor and will do the same thing this weekend.
The bar will be opening at 11 a.m. Saturday for Auburn’s game against University of Virginia.
Nunnally said he knows plenty of fans and alumni coming from out of town to come watch the game at his bar.
He said he is expecting another packed house.
Chelsea Kimbro, front house manager of Live Oaks, said business has been great, and they have seen a huge influx of people since the start of March Madness.
Live Oaks has even switched to a condensed menu temporarily to be able to handle the large crowds coming to watch the games.
There will probably be a Final Four cocktail special on Saturday, Kimbro said.
“I think everybody is super pumped, but everybody’s still like, ‘Is this really happening? Are we a basketball school for real?’” Kimbro said about the team’s historic run.
With each unprecedented win comes another rolling of Toomer’s Corner, and the bathrooms of downtown bars and restaurants have been an easy spot to snag some toilet paper.
“On Friday night, with like a minute left, our [general manager] was like ‘Grab the toilet paper,’ and we were like, ‘We still have a minute left. We’re not grabbing it yet,’” Kimbro said. “And then by the time we got there, it was all gone.”
Regardless, a few extra rolls are a small price to pay for the profits the Auburn men’s basketball team has created in the downtown bar scene.
“I guess if that’s the worst of our problems, we’ll take it,” Kimbro said.
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