Last night it was very exciting in Columbus, Ohio. For the first time in franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets made the NHL playoffs. For those of us who've been following the team its an achievement that has been a long time coming...and for those still discovering the fun of NHL hockey, its a great step forward in building local support and excitement. Columbus has long been a college football town and to introduce another team, let alone another sport, has been challenging at times, but today, I'd like to share some folks who are doing a great part in getting the city excited.
The local "hockey bar" is down in our Arena District, and its called "R Bar". As advertised, the bar is "owned by three hockey fans" and it shows. The bar has TV's all around to, of course, show the hockey games. They highlight bits of hockey tradition in their decor and offerings (Canadian beers are always a drink special). They've created a culture of hockey brotherhood in the bar: our "jason" (the hockey mask wearing semi-celeb) shows up there, folks are all in hockey gear, and you see people expressing their fandom in all sorts of fun and creative ways. To keep their business lean, they don't serve food, but allow you to bring in any food you would like - heck, you can even have pizza delivered to you in the bar. They are sure to have access for safe transportation home should you need it, and they are ever diligent about maintaining a safe and legal bar (much to Anna's and my pleasure, they ask to check our ID ;) )
My point is not to highlight just "any bar", or to say "go out and drink" but to really commend these guys because they have made being a hockey fan cool at their establishment. That goes a long way in building support for a burgeoning team.Instead of feeling like you are in any old bar, at R Bar you really feel like you are with your hockey loving friends. Whether or not I'm going to have a drink, R Bar is a great place to feed that pre-game excitement and an even better place to all get together when watching the team for an away game.
Its easy to jump on a bandwagon when something is popular or when a team is winning, R Bar has been supporting the Columbus Blue Jackets since before it was cool. They've made a place that's more about community, fandom and support than gimmicks, fancy drinks or food, or simply being hip. As the Jackets start their first playoff season ever, I'll be at R Bar to watch our team play and I'll be having a great time at the hockey bar in Columbus.
2 days ago