A historic run by the St. Louis Blues to the Stanley Cup Final – its first appearance in 49 years – has some Springfield sports bars seeing green.
After Game 2 of the NHL championship series on Memorial Day, the Blues had played 21 games in this postseason, with local establishments, including Falstaff’s Local, Harbell’s Grill and Sports Bar LLC and The Roost Bar & Grill, benefitting from the Missouri team’s lengthy playoff stay.
All three are reporting triple-digit attendance and double-digit percentage sales growth during Blues playoff game nights.
“Business is booming,” said Scott Morris, owner of Falstaff’s Local, 311 Park Central West. “The playoffs help immensely, obviously.”
He said the Blues playoff games have resulted in a boost in percentage sales well into the double digits, declining to disclose totals. Customer turnout also has been running high, with Falstaff’s hitting its 150-person capacity numerous times May 27 during Game 1 of the Blues and Boston Bruins showdown.
Morris said hockey fans were showing up at 4 p.m., more than three hours before the game. Staff eventually had to turn people away when it got too crowded, with several being referred two doors down at Harbell’s, 315 Park Central West.
Harbell’s owner David Bauer said he was actually doing the same thing during Game 1, referring customers to Falstaff’s when the sports bar hit capacity around 115 during the game. He estimates he probably had to turn away 20-30 people that evening.
“It’s been building and growing and we’ve been promoting it since the beginning,” he said of the hockey playoffs. “It’s a great Blues crowd.”
Noting the Blues have won three long playoff series thus far, against Winnipeg, Dallas and San Jose, he said game nights have seen sales as high as 40% over a typical business day. He estimated the percentage reflects a total of around $20,000 during the playoff games.
The percentage is even higher at The Roost, according to co-owner Gene Lofaro.
“It’s been a substantial revenue boost,” he said, declining to disclose sales tallies. “If the Blues are playing, we’re up 60%, if not 70%.”
For May 27, he said The Roost’s spot at 2025 W. Sunshine St., Ste. 104, had about 130 people. Its other location at 4216 S. Cox Road, Ste. 112, drew about 120.
“On Monday nights, we’re lucky to see about 60-70 customers, particularly on the Memorial Day weekend,” Lofaro said. “As a business owner, it’s great to see others building memories together.”
For Game 2 of the Cup, Lofaro said a party of 60 people reserved the private room at his Sunshine location. He said rental of the rooms range from $200-$800 based on group size and services desired.
At press time, the series was tied 1-1, after the Blues notched a Game 2 win – the team’s first in history during the Cup. The Blues were swept in three straight Stanley Cup Final series in the late 1960s.
Another sports-themed establishment, Coyote’s Adobe Cafe, also owned by Bauer, doesn’t stress large sports gatherings like Harbell’s does.
“Coyote’s has always been a restaurant first,” he said. “We certainly want to do sports well. But it’s never been the emphasis there.”
Bauer said his Harbell’s downtown eatery, which he bought in October 2018, has been transitioning away from a college bar by making menu changes and marketing itself more as a service restaurant with a side of sports.
He said the changes have been paying sales dividends.
“We’re up about 25 to 35% since December,” he said, declining to disclose sales figures.
Morris, who opened Falstaff’s in 2014, embraces the sports bar image. A large “Let’s Go Blues” banner hangs over the bar, as Falstaff’s prides itself as a big hockey supporter that shows every Blues game. That support carries over to college hockey with the Missouri State University Ice Bears, he added. Still, Morris said Falstaff’s is not just a hockey bar.
“We really push the [St. Louis] Cardinals in the summer,” he said, adding his family owned season tickets for both the Cardinals and Blues when he was young.
The average bill of $15-$20 for customers during the Blues playoff run hasn’t really jumped from the regular season games, Morris said.
“That’s pretty similar to what they usually spend,” he said. “There’s just a lot more of them.”
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