‘The Sportsbar’ At Rogers Arena Set To Bring 600+ Seats Into The Action

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by Andrew Morrison | Late last week I was able to tour the massive, soon-to-open sports bar on the 4th floor of the Aquilini Centre‘s freshly finished West Tower. I know what you’re thinking: what kind of crazy person builds a sports bar on the 4th floor of a condo tower? Well, gimme a sec. It’s really not at all as crazy as it sounds…

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The building tidily abuts the southern curvature of Rogers Arena, the upper deck of which is roughly the same height as the tower’s 4th floor. This is hugely convenient as the Aquilini Investment Group not only owns the tower but also the arena, the team that plays in it, and what will soon be Vancouver’s smartly situated sports bar…

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They’re calling it The Sportsbar – Live! at Rogers Arena – a mouthful that we’ll sympathetically shorten to just The Sportsbar. And you can go ahead and put the emphasis on the The because beyond being big – like 600 seats big – it has several things other Vancouver sports bars don’t.

For instance, it can boast a massive 4k projection screen and dozens of flatscreen televisions dominating a 42 seat bar that is the exact length of an NHL regulation blue line, as this rendering artfully depicts…

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…two private rooms, the smaller and more intimate of which is wrecklessly ambitiously being called The Stanley Cup Room (I’m stupid-superstitious so I’m not even going to look at it until we actually win one)…

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…an exclusive 60 seat Players Lounge with a low-slung seating and semi-circular floor-to-ceiling glass windows looking out onto the city’s bright lights…

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…a huge light fixture on the ceiling that’s currently being fashioned into my favourite Canucks emblem ever, the original hockey stick logo…

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…a kitchen team led by former Four Seasons Toronto chef Robert Bartley. He’s crafted a menu that will dish up Nathan’s foot long hot dogs, crazy good burgers and wings done in styles that range from BBQ and Jerk to Honey Garlic and All Dressed (they were training in the kitchen during my tour, so I snuck several tasty bites)…

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…a luxuriously expansive dish pit with a nice view of the city. I spoke with the dishwasher briefly and she told me her last job was working in a narrow galley kitchen on the Rocky Mountaineer train. This was quite the upgrade…

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…a wide window into actual hockey games. Check out this rendering from the pros at Box Interior Design, who most recently kitted out Whistler’s Bar Oso, the newest eatery in the Toptable Group (also owned by the Aquilini Investment Group)…

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…You can see how freely the energy of the game below can enter the space, and how you will be able to watch replays either on the big centre ice jumbotron or on the dozen or so closer screens up top. This is what it looks like over the edge…

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That’s right…they’ve knocked a hole in the wall of Rogers Arena to allow customers at The Sportsbar to turn their attentions to the real thing unfolding on the ice below. I love that the game is right there in all its roaring glory, like some illusory trick of light. You’ll for damn sure know when the Canucks score a goal.

D-Day for The Sportsbar is Canucks vs. Tampa Bay on December 16th. You enter off Georgia Street (where the viaduct starts eastbound), and you don’t need a ticket to the game to get in (or even a reservation, though it might be prudent). I’m really looking forward to test driving the place more thoroughly as there are few things in life that I appreciate more than a Canucks game. The team and I grew up together in the 70s and 80s, and we’ve gone through many highs and lows together. To this day if you asked me if I’d prefer a super high end 10 course tasting menu with rare wine pairings at Vancouver’s finest restaurant (take your pick) or a few beers and some hot wings over a playoff game at a bar, it would be the latter every time. I can’t help it — even when the Canucks are in the league’s basement (like now). The sun also rises, and it’s forever a family thing…

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