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College Park Bars Gear Up for Final Four Business 

By Sonia Kumar
Maryland Newsline
Friday, March 30, 2001; Web posted at 2 p.m.

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—“I know it’s going to be crazy,” says Debbie Berman, general manager of the Cornerstone Grill and Loft. "I just don’t know how or what to expect.”

She’s referring, of course, to the expected madness in College Park Saturday, thanks to the University of Maryland’s first trip to the Final Four.

She’s probably not far off course. Even though the Terrapins won’t play until 8 p.m., and the bar opens at 11 a.m., she’s already received calls from students asking if it’s all right if they line up outside beforehand.

“I’m not crazy enough to be one of those guys camping out, but I’ll be coming to Cornerstone with a lot of my friends,” says junior Andy Swafford. Judging from the energy coursing through bar goers Thursday night, countless others will be joining him, although plans vary from a vague “I’ll probably head out to the bars,” to the emphatic “I’ll be at Santa Fe by 1. At the latest.”

Located at the intersection of Knox Road and Route 1, the Cornerstone and two other downtown College Park bars–R.J. Bentley’s and Santa Fe Cafe--are gearing up for major partying and sales. They've beefed up security and added full-blown Terrapin decor, extra televisions and drink specials. Cornerstone is selling Final Four T-shirts that already decorate the upper reaches of the bar’s walls.

Santa Fe will be decorated to the hilt with Terrapin gear by Saturday morning, says general manager Greg Sanders. Rock station DC101 will be broadcasting live from the bar, which will set up extra seats and televisions on the patio.

Sanders promises a surprise special at the end of the game, win or lose.

“We’re going to win, so it’s not even an issue,” he predicts of the Terps.

Echoing Sanders, Jake Lawson, general manager at R.J. Bentley’s, says, “We’re rooting for the Terps here." The bar will set up tents with flaps and extra televisions in its parking lot to accommodate the anticipated flood of customers.

Lawson predicts sales to be twice what they would be on an average Saturday–more than $20,000, thanks to the game. He says that Bentley’s had to stop taking reservations because so many people called to book tables.

Even the people who will be serving the beers are enthusiastic. “I’m so psyched,” says Amy Crane, a senior, who is scheduled to work a brutal shift at Santa Fe from noon until 3 a.m.

Students are psyched, too.

“I’m only visiting, because this semester I’m studying abroad in London," says junior Rachel Gelwarg. "But when we win, I’ll stay till Monday to celebrate our victory.”

Copyright © 2001 University of Maryland College of Journalism

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