When the World Cup Final kicks off at 8 a.m. Sunday, more than half a billion people worldwide are expected to watch France and Croatia duke it out.
Many of them will be in Vancouver, though some might be wiping the sleep out of their eyes.
That includes staff at The American, a bar on Main Street that’s become the official Team France HQ for the city — and where some staff are planning on sleeping over.
“We’re a nightclub, so [Saturday] we’re open until 2 a.m., and a lot of us are doing double duty on this,” said general manager Erin Rideout.
“Myself and a few others will not be getting out of there until 4 a.m., and we have to open up at 7 a.m., and if you factor in transit and closing down the bar and everything it’s just not worth it for us to go home.”
The club will be serving up croissants and French Pastis cocktails as boisterous face-painted fans cheer on Les Bleus.
But if you haven’t got tickets already, you’ll need to find somewhere else to watch, as Rideout said the venue sold out in an hour.
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“We have 250 confirmed, but we’re expecting probably a lot of people probably to be waiting outside to get in. They were guesstimating 500, which we can not facilitate.”
Over at the Croatian Cultural Centre on Commercial Drive, they’re expecting an even larger crowd of up to 1,000 people.
The venue is opening its doors at 7 a.m. and offering free admission. The venue boasts two large halls with projection screens and is serving breakfast and lunch.
Dozens of other bars and restaurants around the city are also screening the game.
Multiple venues on Commercial Drive will also be screening the game, and the strip is traditionally the site of an impromptu post-game fan frenzy, regardless of who wins.
The 8 a.m. start means both venues — and anyone else showing the game with a liquor license — will be able to serve alcohol for part of the game. Legal sales begin at 9 a.m.
That’s good news from a business perspective, said James Young, events and marketing coordinator with Doolin’s Irish Pub.
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He said with the tournament in Russia, the time change meant some early morning games in which venues couldn’t make liquor sales.
“The last one was in Brazil so it was in a much better time frame for watching matches,” he said.
Nevertheless, Young said the cup has been a boon to the bottom line overall, leaving his business with a 30 per cent jump in sales since the tournament started last month.
—With files from Robyn Crawford
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