TEMPE, Ariz. - "No shirt. No shoes. No service," is the typical dress code at most eating establishments.
College Bar and Grill has put their own spin on the dress code. "Do Not: wear U of A gear – wear U of A colors – Bear Down." The sign by the front entrance says it loud and clear. Essentially, banning all University of Arizona fans.
“We’re not going to let anyone in who’s going to cheer for U of A. So, if a U of A fan wants to come in. They’re more than welcome to come in. They just can’t wear their colors. Can’t wear their logos. Can’t cheer for them,” said Nick Nicholas, dean of operations for College Bar and Grill.
College Bar and Grill even tweeted earlier in the week, saying that people in neutral colors will have to sing the Arizona State fight song to prove they are not U of A fans.
The bar, near College Avenue and 5th Street, sits at the foot of A Mountain and kitty-corner from Sun Devil Stadium. It opened in early January and wants to establish itself as an ASU fan friendly bar.
The 17th ranked Arizona Wildcats will take on the 25th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe Thursday night. There should be a lot of Wildcats fans out for the big NCAA basketball game. They just won’t be welcomed at College Bar and Grill.
Has the bar taken the rivalry just a little too seriously?
Nicholas says the dress code is also a matter of safety.
“When you mix the ASU fan base with the U of A fan base together, they are two very passionate fans bases. They’re loud and they like to get into each other’s faces. Mix the third variable of alcohol in that and you know it’s not always the safe environment,” said Nicholas.
There is an unwritten rule among sports fans. Never enter an opponent’s territory, or rather bar.
“I’m from the Midwest. In the Midwest, an IU (Indiana) fan doesn't go into a Purdue bar. Nor does an Ohio State fan go into a Michigan bar. That’s kind of the way it goes. This is a greater rivalry than any of the rest. So, stand our ground and let's have some fun with it,” said Nicholas.