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nfc championship

The Best Place to Watch the NFC Title Game

Bar None, a beer-by-the-pitcher bar on Third Avenue, has long been the New York City headquarters for Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints fans. For years, co-existence between the hundreds of fans jamming the bar on game day has been peaceful. But this Sunday, the Saints face off against the Vikings for the NFC championship.

"We are meeting now to discuss strategy," said Bar None manager Pam Schon on Monday afternoon as she conducted a sit-down with Ted Castator, representing the Krewe of Bar None, and his counterpart, NYC Minnesota Vikings Fan Club coordinator Marcus Grundahl. Like any self-respecting heads of state meeting to defuse a potential dispute, the two had their photo taken together for posterity. "It's détente!" joked Grundahl in a later phone interview.

The bar has had affiliations with both teams for some time. Per Schon, a long-gone employee/Vikings fan initiated the Minnesota connection about a decade ago; neighborhood Saints fans adopted the establishment a few years later. The regular Sunday waitress, Swiss-neutral, wears a shoulders-exposed Flashdance–style T-shirt custom-made for flipping — Saints logo on one side, the Vikings on the other. The Vikings lay claim to the front room and the Saints the back. (Bathrooms are in between, and Schon notes that fans of both teams are so intense that bartenders use the facilities during game play because no drink orders are coming in.) According to Castator, the fan bases tend to merge together in the back room after their games are over; Grundahl says he's heard of dating and even business connections coming out of the co-mingling.

At yesterday's summit, participants agreed to separate game-day entrances (front for Vikings, back for Saints) and postgame shots (purchased for the losers by the winners). They're still wavering on whether they'll require RSVPs or simply post each fan base's leader outside with a doorman to make sure the regulars can make it in. As of press time, Grundahl was still resisting Castator's offer to bet claim to the bar on the outcome of the game, with the loser having to find another venue any time the two teams' contests overlap in coming seasons. We will keep you posted on any further developments.

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Photo: Shanna Ravindra