Bars and U campus divided in Vikings or Packers support

Jeremy Taff

Less than a mile from the Metrodome and housed in the heart of campus, management officially declared last week that the Big Ten Restaurant and Bar is now a Packers bar.
The move isn’t entirely surprising, considering that Wisconsinites on reciprocity account for a large part of the University student body.
The declaration links the Big Ten with Fowl Play, the only other Packer-backer sports bar neighboring the Minneapolis campus. Out of the other six sports bars in the area, three support the Vikings and the others straddle the fence.
Each campus pub is preparing for Vikings and Packers fans who descend on the bars throughout the day to watch the two undefeated division rivals battle it out before a national audience at 7 p.m. tonight.
Bullwinkle’s, Sgt. Preston’s and Sally’s Saloon and Eatery said although they back the Vikings, they still employ some Packers fans because of the equal employment opportunity policies they enforce.
“Forty percent of our staff is from Wisconsin and they’re die-hard Packers fans,” Sally’s owner Tony Patterson said. “But we’re a Vikings bar. We’re in the heart of Vikings country, how can you be a Packers bar?”
One way is to cater to local customs. Big Ten will be serving specials on cheese fries and nachos during the Packers games.
“We’re trying to spice things up,” Big Ten bartender Chad Lindquist said. “There’s definitely a Packer flavor here.”
Yet the bar’s recent declaration doesn’t enjoy full support from Lindquist, a University sociology major and Jets fan.
“I’m not so much of a Vike’s fan as I am a Packers-opponents fan,” Lindquist said. “I couldn’t have gone to the University of Wisconsin with a clear conscience.”
Stub and Herbs, Sparky’s and Dub’s Pub and Grill said they try to accommodate both sides.
“The whole downstairs if full of Vikings fans watching the big screen,” University senior and Dub’s manager Carl Malom said. “The Packers fans go upstairs.”
Malom said he expects Dub’s to be “friggin’ nuts” tonight when the two worlds collide to watch the same game.
University psychology major and Milwaukee native Renata Batuner waits tables at Sgt. Preston’s, a Vikings bar. She said many Packers fans stop at the bar while visiting Minneapolis. And much like the University campus, their waitstaff is decidedly split.
“When they hear I’m from Milwaukee, they just freak out and get excited,” Batuner said. “I think the staff has a lot of fun with it — we’re pretty much 50-50 Packers and Vikings.”