23 Jun 2017

Bars prepare as Lions' fans descend upon Auckland

6:45 pm on 23 June 2017

The British and Irish Lions have arrived in Auckland and so have their fans.

Lions fans celebrate their win during the rugby union match between the Crusaders and the British and Irish Lions at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on June 10, 2017.

Lions fans celebrate their win against the Crusaders earlier this month. Photo: AFP

Bars in the city, particularly those close to Eden Park, are bracing themselves for one of the busiest nights of the year.

Some bars reported they had been booked out for months while one bar near Eden Park said it took its first booking for tomorrow night two years ago.

The Dominion Bar's manager, Michelle, said she had been calling in the reinforcements.

"For an average test match we'd usually staff with about six - we're staffing with over 20," she said.

And putting extra on deck was not the only boost.

"We've actually hired a truck, a refrigerated truck, to sit in the carpark because we can't fit everything in the keg fridges - yeah, a very significant amount of stock there," she said.

Michelle said some diehard Lions fans were so desperate to snag a barstool and a pint or four, they had booked well in advance.

"They're making a really big night of it and they were lucky enough to get in early and by that I mean a couple of years ago - secure a deposit and actually hire out private spaces. So we do have a lot of Lions' fans coming through the door."

But it is not just bars near Eden Park expecting a goldrush.

Colin McGuire manages Irish bar O'Hagans 5km away at Auckland's Viaduct.

"For us, we're doing a four-day event - Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

"It's the busiest time since, I would say, the Rugby World Cup in 2011," he said.

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