An Arizona State bar in Tempe will prevent fans in Arizona gear from eating and drinking at the establishment before the ASU-Arizona basketball game Thursday, according to the bar’s owners.
Katherine Fitzgerald/ azcentral sports
Attention, Arizona Wildcat fans heading to Thursday’s basketball game in Tempe against Arizona State.
Do not plan to visit College Bar and Grill.
The owners don’t want you there. They say they won’t let you in. They say if you get in, they’re going to kick you out: “We reserve the right to ask you to leave for the benefit of a safe, positive experience for our patronts,” according to a message posted on Twitter on Tuesday.
Known as the Dean of Operations of College Bar, Nick Nicholas was in full support of the bar’s foray into pettiness.
“First off, we’re an ASU bar. We’re the only true ASU bar in downtown Tempe,” Nicholas said. “We figured it’d be a good opportunity to put our flag in the ground and mark our territory, and be a place where the whole fan base can get behind us.”
But there’s more to it than that.
“Secondly, it is very much for safety reasons. Anytime you get the two fan-bases in the same room, they clash a little,” he said. “We’d rather have everyone here having a good time and rooting for the same cause.”
College Bar, which sits in the shadows of Sun Devil Stadium and Wells Fargo Arena, has only been around since January.
The previous establishment in its location was called Mad Hatter Brew Pub. This is the first time the two rivals have played since the bar switched over.
One of the co-owners is Joe Healey, who’s father is Tim Healey, the radio play-by-play voice for the Sun Devils’ football, men’s basketball and baseball broadcasts and a former sportscaster at KTVK Channel 3.
The Wildcats historically have had solid support at ASU games in Tempe. But the Sun Devils’ surge this season may quell the number of red-and-blue clad fans at the game.
As for the pre- and post-game festivities, College Bar is hoping the UA fans gather elsewhere: “For a variety of reasons, we will not allow any Arizona Wildcat gear, colors or ‘behavior’ inside our establishment on Thursday.”
But it won’t just be obvious Arizona fans who are turned away. Any patrons who are not obviously pulling for the Sun Devils will be asked to sign the ASU fight song at the door.
“We don’t want to let anybody coming in, UofA fans in stealth, cheating the system, getting in there, and starting whatever ‘bearing down’ is, so we want to knock that out right at the door,” Nicholas said.
Outside of Thursday’s Territorial Cup meeting, the bar will allow Wildcat fans in, but at a cost. Nicholas says anyone wearing UA gear will be informed that they will be charged double, as a house policy. Signs inside the bar refer to the Wildcats as “them,” refusing to acknowledge their name.
Still, Nicholas feels the seemingly antagonistic treatment of rival fans will pay off.
“I feel like the notoriety we’re going to gain from Sun Devil supporters will vastly outweigh the hate we get from UofA fans,” he said.
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