- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sports bars and football fans in downtown Washington have a reason to lament the Super Bowl on Sunday. Besides another big game without the home team, Metro is closing six downtown subway stations for track maintenance this weekend.

The Orange, Blue and Silver line stations from Eastern Market to Foggy Bottom will be closed Saturday and Sunday as crews install cellphone and radio infrastructure, fix ceiling tiles in tunnels and repair tracks, among other maintenance.

Super Bowl Sunday typically is one of the transit agency’s least busy days, with ridership dropping by about 3 percent compared to other Sundays in the past four years.

But for downtown bars and restaurants, game day brings crowds of dedicated sports-watchers and partygoers — many of whom might want to use Metro for convenience and safety after enjoying drinks during the game.

“The Red and Blue lines are big ones for us,” said Kam Khazai, an operating partner at Blackfinn Ameripub, which is located between two Orange, Blue and Silver line stations. “As long as the Red stays open, we’re OK. But if they ever shut those both down, then we’re screwed.”

The gastropub is just one block from McPherson Square and Farragut West, two of the six stations that will be shut down for the weekend. The other four are Federal Triangle, Smithsonian, Federal Center SW and Capitol South.

Mr. Khazai said the impact of Metro closures on the restaurant’s business this weekend is “hard to gauge,” but existing subway service cuts already have “dramatically affected businesses in D.C.”

At Bullfeathers, a restaurant and bar located across the street from Capitol South Metro station, general manager Stephanie Connon said her employees will have a harder time getting to the restaurant than customers, who are typically neighborhood locals.

“I would say 90 percent of our employees take the Metro to get here every day,” she said. “But we get a lot of foot traffic, I’d say most of our customers live or work nearby.”

The transit agency will run free shuttle buses between Foggy Bottom and Eastern Market stations, but it has encouraged weekend riders who plan to travel through the work zone to allow up to 45 minutes of additional time to their commute.

Ms. Connon said that, despite the Metro closures, she still anticipates the usual influx of sports fans at Bullfeathers on Game Day, but delays on the Metro are never good for business in the District.

“We’re never a proponent for the Metro closing,” she said. “A closing of any kind will always affect business, whether it’s big or small.”

Metro posted an advisory to its website Wednesday, telling riders who plan to travel between Virginia and the District this weekend to “use the Yellow Line, if possible, and transfer at Gallery Place for Red Line service to reach other parts of downtown.”

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