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Lakers fans are most rowdy, worst tippers, says DTLA bar staff

By Michael Katz
Published: Friday, May 18, 2012, at 08:58AM
Tony Pierce / KPCC

A Laker fan enjoying a beverage.

For the first time ever, all three sports tenants of Staples Center will host playoff games. While some fear the impending traffic jams, others wince at the idea of even more games where they have to serve fans who don't treat them right.

A recent trip to some of Downtown’s biggest bars uncovered some trends among the different teams’ fans.

In an unscientific study of several establishments, supporters of the L.A. Kings drink the most alcohol - by far.

Abe Kim, the manager of Hooters on Figueroa Street, said that at his restaurant Kings fans prefer to drink beer over any of the other choices from the fully stocked bar.

“If it’s a Kings’ crowd, domestic [beer sells].” Kim said, adding that the majority of the hockey fans at Hooter’s enjoy Coors, Budweiser, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

When Kings fans dine at Wolfgang Puck’s at L.A. Live, they class it up a bit, preferring martinis and well drinks, according to one bartender.

There is one consensus at all the bars though: Kings fans like to eat.

“They want to eat everything,” said Angel Baez, who tends bar at Wolfgang Puck’s, explaining that often the puck fans will eat full three course meals.

The other consensus about the Kings was that they were the most pleasant fans and great tippers.

“[The Kings are] the best crowd,” Baez said.

Clippers fans, on the other hand, are far less excited about their team and drink a lot less, said Fred Deese, a Staples Center employee who frequents Trader Vics. He explained that the typical Trader Vic’s Clippers fan drinks a lot of wine and champagne and overall, are a fairly mellow crowd.

Overall, the bars surveyed agreed that Clippers fans are never a problem.

The same could not be said about Lakers fans. Most of the bars agreed that fans of the Purple & Gold are the least-pleasant crowd to serve.

“Lakers fans are trying to get drunk before the game,” Baez said with a smile. He also said Laker fans tend to be impatient and get upset if their food does not come in a timely manner.

They were also ranked lowest of the three sports teams when it comes to generosity in tipping.

“[You] rarely see a Lakers fan buy a full meal,” said Jessica Palmisano, the manager of Big Wang’s on Grand Avenue. She said that at her bar, fans drink beer but also dabble in Jägermeister, Jack Daniel’s, and Hennessy shots.

Palmisano also said that Lakers fans can get a little out of control. In the last five minutes of the deciding game of the 2010 NBA Finals, she had to hide the bar's glassware as a preventative measure; but that didn’t stop customers from trying to dump a fan in the outdoor fire pit.

With the Lakers currently down 0-2 to Oklahoma City, Palmisano said this weekend could get ugly too.

“Lakers fans get rowdier than Clippers fans," she said. "[If the Lakers get swept this weekend] I would not be averse to taking away glassware."

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