With the New York Rangers playing in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 20 years, hockey fans throughout Westchester are flocking to local bars to watch their team vie for a championship. Which got us thinking—this must be good for business. We asked around and it turns out bars have seen a significant increase in revenue, thanks to the Rangers’ unlikely playoff run. And though the managers and owner we spoke to concede that, in a normal season, the NHL playoffs do tend to create a small boost in business, managers say that this year’s increase has been extraordinary.
“This year has been unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” says Joe Christ, manager of The Brazen Fox in White Plains. He notes that while the early playoff rounds drew a considerable crowd to his bar, attendance and drink sales have shot up dramatically during the Stanley Cup Finals.
The timing of the playoff games has provided local bars with an opportunity to draw big crowds on nights that are usually quiet. In Yorktown, Finnegan’s Grill, a popular watering hole for loyal Rangers fans, is reaping the benefits of weekday games. Manager Paula Durcan explains that nights like Monday and Wednesday, which are usually sleepy, are now completely packed. Weekday games create an additional source of revenue for bars that already do well on the weekends.
Of course, with any big-time sporting event comes big-time food and drink specials, and New York Grille in Peekskill gets kudos for creativity in this area. In lieu of the hardly affordable ticket prices at Madison Square Garden, the bar has installed a “Manhattan menu” to make customers feel like they’re eating on the streets of NYC. With items like hot dogs, “street meat”, and warm pretzels, patrons can watch hockey games with a sense of hometown comfort.
“With the Manhattan menu, people can come up to Peekskill and feel like they’re in New York City,” says Alex Asadoorian, manager at New York Firehouse Grille. He adds that Rangers playoff games have generated roughly an additional $500 to $600 in revenue for game nights—and that he’s happily welcomed the additional crowd.
With crowds swarming to bars for big games, bars across Westchester wish the Rangers would make it to the Cup more often. This year has proven that it’s good for the fans, and great for business. At the very least, they hope they won’t have to wait another 20 years.