NBA Finals provide boost for downtown Cleveland bars and restaurants

Local bars gear up for record crowds

CLEVELAND - Myria Goodman sat in her car on St. Clair Avenue near the Warehouse District during her lunch break on Thursday. When asked if she was going to watch the seventh game of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio, she knew right where she was going to be.

"I'm going to be right in front of my 55-inch TV," said Goodman. She was so excited she almost forgot which team she wanted to win Thursday evening.

"I want any team to beat the Spurs, I mean, no, the Heat. I want anybody to beat the Heat," Goodman said.

One fan, Joseph Pointer, who lost money on Tuesday's game, was sure of where his allegiance fell. He loves the Spurs. But, he was not about to watch Thursday night.

"Yeah, I can't take it. San Antonio should have beat them 4-2. Hey. LeBron is not going to lose in a seventh game in no championship, not going to lose," Pointer said. "I wanted San Antonio to win, so I don't want to see the losers."

Even though the Cleveland Cavaliers are nowhere near an NBA Final, interest has been so great that television ratings have been through roof. So has business at local bars and restaurants. Most establishments with televisions in Cleveland's downtown boasted record mid-week sales.

Servers in Bar Louie on West 6th Street made sure they were on duty Thursday night.

"Business on Tuesday was really great. We had a ton of people in. The bar was full, the tables were full, people were just pulling tables together making tables out of chairs, basically. I made $200 which is a great Tuesday night," Melissa Kaplar said.

Kaplar's fellow server, Rachel Zallar, also had a Tuesday to remember tip-wise.

"Last Tuesday went fabulous. We were super busy for the game and I expect the same for tonight," Zallar said.

While most NBA fans downtown Thursday were tiring of San Antonio's inability to stop the Heat and Akron native LeBron James, most were still going to watch the game airing on NewsChannel5 at 9 p.m.

Anthony Willis, walking down St. Clair Avenue shortly before noon with the help of his aluminum walker, just couldn't get behind rooting against James.

"LeBron is a Ohio man, you know. Us Ohio people stick together," Willis said. "I'm hoping he wins."

The real winners may just be any establishment with a big-screen TV, food and refreshments very well stocked.

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