Where there’s curling, there’s drinking.

In local clubs it’s known as a sport you can play competently with beer in hand. Things are different for the players in the Brier, but the fans more than make up for it.

That’s why there’s the massive, 1,700-capacity bar known as the Brier Patch.

“The patch is what the Brier is all about. The curling is what brings us here, the patch is what makes the fun,” said Bruce Caravan of Deer Lake, N.L.

It can be a dangerous temptation to curlers. Northern Ontario avoided the patch this week and now they’re surprising playoff contenders. Go figure.

“As long as we’re playing well, the patch is going to be something we stay away from,” said skip Brad Jacobs. “It’s tough to go in there and not get carried away, to tell you the truth. It’s a lot of fun in there. Everyone’s dancing, laughing and having a good time.”

How much traffic the rest of the Halifax bar scene has managed to snag is debatable during the eight-day event.

The Grant family’s Midtown Tavern, which famously moved down the road to outside the Metro Centre last year, has been a big winner. Customers are lined up out the door in the breaks between draws.

“It’s ridiculously way better than not having the Brier,” said Colin Grant.

“The people are amazing. They’re the most friendly and nice people in the whole world.”

But as nearby as Argyle Street, with the looming Chronicle Herald building destruction, bar workers said they haven’t seen a big difference.

The Economy Shoe Shop had a great first few days, but Tuesday and Wednesday were a bit slower than normal. The Carleton bartender Ian Black said most people seem to be staying at the patch.

“We’re getting a few, it’s certainly not hurting us, but it’s not a massive difference,” he said.

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