It’s tip-off, Do you know where your fans are?


The first time may shock you, but the familiarity is worse.

You just finished work.
It’s 6:30, and it’s the best day of the week.
Game day.

So, you do what any Raptors fan would – search for a nearby sports bar. Picture this, you finally find a spot, your friends are all together to watch, we’re up 8 in the first quarter, OG just hit a three, and the first round of drinks & apps just hit the table. Life is great! There’s just one issue… the Leafs are in town and puck-drop is in 15 minutes.

If you’ve been in this situation before, you know what’s about to happen. The Leafs will take the big screen, and our game will be relocated to that dim, laggy TV in the back corner. Even if the Leafs are playing the Sens in a friendly-third-stringers-only-preseason game, you better believe the sounds from the rink will be blasting through the speakers. The first time it happens may shock you, but the familiarity of it happening every time is way worse.

Now, I’m no schlub – I know how electric the hockey atmosphere can be, but when it comes to watching a game on the hardwood vs. on the ice, it’s no competition for me. As some have said in the past: ball is life.

On the Queensway, there’s no shortage of excellent sports bars with great staff, fare, and drink options. For die-hard Leafs fans, it’s really a dream come true. For Raptors fans, you won’t know if the game will even get on the screen until after the 80 drops you off. As a local to the area for over 5 years, I’m half-surprised-and-disappointed- that no location has openly promoted themselves as a hoops-first sports bar. I feel like there’s plenty of appetite for it in the area, especially after 2019.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that the current outlook for our hometown heroes is another championship. We’re underperforming right now, and fans know it. Even so, there’s plenty for Toronto to be excited about. We have a promising young talent who’s shown improvement year after year, a solid cast of veterans with high trade value (Masai? *wink wink*), and a full roster of players that prioritize effort above all else. Despite the losses, it’s still very fun basketball and could be the cornerstone to an amazing sports bar atmosphere. Maybe this article isn’t a local sports bar review– it’s a call for help. Please, PLEASE, would any location make an open promise that their team of priority will become the Raptors? I know I’ll be there, and I’ve got a big appetite.

If you’re a business owner on the Q, please consider this opportunity. There is a very eager market for a place where Raps fans can gather in confidence, knowing that our precious Scottie and Pascal will be on the screen (and the speakers!) from tip-off to the final whistle. I truly believe you’d find a loyal customer base very quickly, and the excitement of our team will spread during every game, well, in the 4th at least.

If you know something I don’t, please share the word start and start a discussion in the comments below. Us Raptors fans are HUNGRY.