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As Zags prep for championship battle, Spokane bars ready the kegs

UPDATED: Sun., April 2, 2017

Swinging Doors managers Lee Stegman, left, and Marcy Larson sort out reservations for their Spokane restaurant, which is already fully booked in advance of Gonzaga’s Monday night national title appearance on Sunday, April 2, 2017. Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Swinging Doors managers Lee Stegman, left, and Marcy Larson sort out reservations for their Spokane restaurant, which is already fully booked in advance of Gonzaga’s Monday night national title appearance on Sunday, April 2, 2017. Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

With more than 24 hours to go before Gonzaga’s Monday evening championship game, Marcy Larson was standing at a bar, sorting through a stack of table reservations.

The restaurant she helps manage, the Swinging Doors at 1018 W. Francis Ave., was already booked full for the Zags game against North Carolina. She expects a flood of customers right around 5 p.m. in advance of the 6:20 p.m. tipoff.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Larson said. “It’s a big day for Spokane.”

Zags fans packed local drinking establishments to watch Saturday’s 77-73 victory over South Carolina. Larson said it was chaotic at first but quickly settled into a manageable frenzy.

“Once everybody’s settled it’s pretty smooth,” she said.

A few blocks east on Francis, Spike’s Phillys and More was filled to capacity Saturday evening, with nearly 300 people watching the game on 37 flat-screen TVs.

Manager Sean Clements said Spike’s was fully booked for Monday evening almost immediately after the Zags beat South Carolina.

He expects the NCAA national championship game against North Carolina to draw the same crowd of fans to the restaurant.

“It’ll be pretty busy here,” he said.

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