Beer we go: Pubs toast ‘Super Saturday’ with extended opening bids

Edinburgh pubs hope to extend opening hours to accommodate rugby and football fans

Edinburgh pubs hope to extend opening hours to accommodate rugby and football fans

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PUBS are set to open for up to 16 hours on Scottish Cup Final day as the city gears up for a “Super Saturday” of sport, it was revealed today.

Bars are applying to open from 9am to cater for Hibs and Hearts fans before they travel through to Hampden.

They also expect to be packed during the big match and later in the day, with the tantalising prospect of Edinburgh Rugby contesting the Heineken European Cup final and the screening of the Champions League showdown between Bayern Munich and Chelsea. If Edinburgh defeat Ulster in Dublin today it will set up a sporting triple-whammy described as “the biggest day for Edinburgh pubs in years”.

Kevin McGhee, general manager of the Athletic Arms – one of the city’s best known Hearts pubs – said: “In 2006 [when Hearts won their last Scottish Cup] it was the busiest day of the year and this could be even busier, though it could depend how the result goes. Either way, I’m sure there will be a lot of sore heads in the morning.”

Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: “It could be one of the biggest days of the year for pubs – if not the biggest in years.”

Mercat Bar owner Graham Blaikie said he was “battening down the hatches” for a “hugely busy” occasion.

“Fingers crossed for what happens with Edinburgh Rugby because that would make things incredible,” he said.

Fans are being encouraged to drink sensibly on the day, and Dr Evelyn Gillan, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, went as far as warning against any increase in drinking hours.

“We urge the Licensing Board not to extend premises’ licensing hours for this match,” she said. “There is strong evidence that making alcohol more available by increasing opening hours is associated with higher levels of consumption and harm.”