It that time of year where millions of people tune in and watch the Super Bowl. Whether you’re watching the commercials, halftime show or the game itself, people still need to remember Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest drinking days of the year.
Super Bowl LI (51) will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Feb. 5. The game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will be screened at countless restaurants, and sports bars in Santa Monica but law enforcement officials want everyone to celebrate in moderation.
The Santa Monica Police Department sent out a press release saying they are teaming up with The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and other law enforcement across the state for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign encouraging football fans to drive sober.
Drivers are encouraged to download the Designated Driver VIP or “DDVIP” app. The free software for Android or iPhones helps find nearby bars and restaurants that feature free incentives for the designated driver. Barney’s Beanery, Ye Olde Kings Head Pub, Copa d’Oro and Library Alehouse and more are featured within the app.
Sonny McLean’s (2615 Wilshire Blvd) is an Irish Pub that has earned a reputation for local Patriots fans who can enjoy the game on one of their 23 televisions.
“Even though we’re a local neighborhood pub all year around, when it comes to Boston sports and the Patriots being in the Super Bowl we’ll be a full on Boston pub that day and are expecting to be at capacity all day,” McLean’s owner Grant Woods said.
McLean’s is just a couple blocks down from another Irish Pub, O’Briens (2226 Wilshire Blvd.). This Irish Pub supports the New York Giants, and although their team is not in the Super Bowl they expect the place to be packed on Super Bowl Sunday.
“When people watch the Patriots, you are either cheering for them or cheering when they lose,” said Owner Willy O’Sullivan. “People will be lining up here and at McLean’s right when we open. It is going to be a long and crazy day. I can’t complain though, with the Patriots bar down the street it will be good for ratings, and for business.”
Many of the bars open at 11 a.m. and the game usually ends around the six o’clock hour. Bar owners said they watch for rowdy fans and they will refuse service in the name of safety.
“That is seven hours at a bar, and people probably would have had three beers or more,” said O’Sullivan. “We know they are buzzed. When it comes to drinking and driving there is only so much we can do, but once we see someone is intoxicated and can no longer handle themselves we cut them off.”
SMPD will deploy additional officers on special DUI saturation patrols. Anyone driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher can be considered alcohol impaired.
With the rise of ridesharing services (like Uber of Lyft) and the prevalence of taxi’s within the city, SMPD and bar owners said there are easy and safe options for fans to get home after the game.
“This Super Bowl weekend, be a team player and help keep impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel. Remember, Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk,” said Lt. Saul Rodriguez.