If you want a seat in the most storied sports bar tied to Gonzaga sports for the Final Four, be prepared to line up early.
Jack & Dan’s, the historic two-story tavern seated at the corner of Hamilton Street and Sharp Avenue since 1909, will open its doors at 10 a.m. as usual on Saturday. If last week is any indication, said bartender Theresa Kiehn, there won’t be a seat in the house by noon.
“It’ll be the same, if not busier,” said Kiehn, serving the neighborhood bar’s daytime regulars Tuesday afternoon. “We’re expecting standing room only.”
The green-canopied pub has changed hands from co-owner Jack Stockton, father of Gonzaga and NBA great John Stockton, but the establishment kept the moniker that achieved national prominence when featured in Sports Illustrated in the 1990s. Jack Stockton famously installed satellite dishes on the historic building’s roof so customers could watch the younger Stockton play for the Utah Jazz.
After the Bulldogs’ 83-59 victory over Xavier in the Elite Eight, nationally renowned Boston sportswriter Bob Ryan took to Twitter to sing the praises of the bar, which began its ties to Gonzaga sports in the 1940s and ‘50s under owner Joey August, who coached the Zags to a national boxing championship in 1950.
“Oh, to be in Jack & Dan’s in Spokane tonight!” Ryan tweeted from Connecticut, followed quickly by a shoutout to another Spokane legend, Bing Crosby. “Somewhere in that Great Sports Bar in The Sky Der Bingle is smiling. And has anyone seen Jean Claude Lefvbre lately?”
If you weren’t at the historic bar, you can get a sense of what it’s like to take in a Gonzaga win there, thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones. Videos posted to the bar’s Facebook page show patrons, jammed together at the shoulders, giving each other high fives, kissing and throwing their hands in the air as the final horn sounded Saturday.
The 10 a.m. opening time proved difficult early in the tournament, when the Zags had an 11 a.m. tip against first round opponent South Dakota State University. Lines had already formed at the door at 9:30 a.m., Kiehn said.
Marceen Zappone, a neighborhood resident who stopped by Tuesday afternoon to inquire about Zags merchandise, said she found a spot right near the edge of the bar last Saturday but expected more trouble for the Final Four.
Zappone offered advice for anyone who wanted to get a seat at the watering hole for the Final Four matchup.
“You just get smooshed,” she said. “Sit, and stay.”
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