BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A brutal loss for Bills fans everywhere, especially with all the hype surrounding this game across the pond. But, fans at home packed bars and restaurants for that early kickoff time.
“I like it because it’s a different change of pace, I guess. 9 o’clock, 9:30 start,” said Andrew Borchet of Akron.
A change of pace that took the Buffalo Bills out of Orchard Park and across the pond to London, England. In Western New York, the 9:30 a.m. kickoff meant bars and restaurants needed to get people in early.
“We opened at 9 a.m., there was a line up the street,” said Josh Mullin, co-owner of Jack Rabbit. “By 9:01 every seat in he building was full.”
Bartenders at places like Jack Rabbit in Buffalo’s Elmwood Village cashed in on the busy morning.
“We’re serving brunch, we’re serving wings, we’re serving pizzas,” added Mullin.
“We came in for our reservation, wanted to watch the game, be out in the crowd, experience it,” said Sam Deierlein, Jack Rabbit customer. “Everyone else didn’t want to get up in our friend group.”
Many businesses were sent scrambling earlier in the week.
Under New York State law, bars and restaurants can’t serve alcohol before 10 a.m. on Sundays.
A workaround involved bar owners applying for a special Sunday sales permit.
Governor Kathy Hochul heard that message from other fans who wanted to drink before 10 a.m. at their favorite bars. Late last week, Governor Hochul waived the rule requiring businesses to submit the permit application 15 days before the game.
That was good news for places like New York Beer Project.
“The early Bills game started up, and New York Beer Project posted that they were going to be opening early,” added Borchet, NYBP customer. “So, we took advantage of the opportunity.”
That Sunday sales permit paid off for the Lockport business.
The brewery went all out with a ‘British Invasion English ale’ and traditional English breakfast.
“I’m a Bills fan through and through,” added Borchet. “Been there through the hard times and the good times.”
Fans will be back in Orchard Park looking for redemption next Sunday as the Bills take on the New York Giants.