CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Kickoff for the Browns game is slated for 3 p.m. Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. While fans are excited for being in the playoffs, bars and restaurants are excited to keep fans in-house for the whole game.
Last week, fans had to leave before the end of the game so they could be home by the 10 p.m. curfew in Ohio, which also cuts business for bars and restaurants. This week, they don’t have to worry about it.
“I know they love to stay until the end and make sure that they win, so this Sunday will be a lot better,” said Kayla Reese, a bartender at Iron House Bar and Grill in Cortland.
They and Birdfish Brewing Co. are Browns Backers Bars. Browns Backers Worldwide is a non-profit organization that supports and promotes the Cleveland Browns.
“We’re home of the Howland Growlers Browns Backers,” said Rick Pregibon, owner of Iron House. “We participate in several charities with them like the Toys for Tots drive we had in December. We filled two of our party rooms full of toys at the time and then after it was over, we filled it one more time and just wanted to say thanks to everybody for donating. We ended up getting more donations for Toys for Tots than any other Browns Backer in Ohio, so that’s definitely a good thing, and thanks to everybody that helped out.”
Iron House and Birdfish Brewing are expecting good crowds and hope they won’t have to turn anyone away.
“We’ll see how many of those rowdy Browns fans come out to the Backers bar, but we’ll accommodate as much as we can. We will just have to go by the guidelines put in place by the state and work with whatever comes our way like we have through this whole thing,” Greg Snyder, owner and brewer at Birdfish Brewing Co. in Columbiana, said.
“The Backers are awesome people,” Reese said. “Everybody’s screaming, and they make it a good time, so I’m hoping it’s busy. It was extremely busy, crazy, loud screaming, last Sunday, and it just made working even more fun.”
Both spots are ready for the game. At Iron House, the Backers take up the back bar because the team lost when they sat in the front bar. Birdfish Brewing has the projector ready in their party room.
“Everybody that comes, they’re just here to eat, have a few drinks, relax watch the game. There’s never any trouble here, it’s just a good age group and a good bunch of people,” Pregibon said.
“Because we’re a Browns Backers bar baby,” Snyder said. “Just a cool atmosphere, it’s great craft beer. We’ll have La Riccia’s Italian out of Boardman here for the food truck, so we’ll have food, good beer, good people, good atmosphere. We’re dog friendly, so you could bring the dog and dress him up in their little Browns jerseys and watch the game as well.”
Pregibon said he is a Browns fan and is hoping for a win on Sunday.
“Me personally, beating the Steelers two in a row, that was my Super Bowl, so I’m happy with that. Anything beyond that, that’s a plus,” Pregibon said.
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