Rihanna stole the show at the Super Bowl party at this Montreal bar
Montrealers flocked to the Champs Sports Bar to see Rihanna’s live concert — and some soccer.
Fans of the Barbados-born star filled the bar on St-Laurent Boulevard, which advertised their event as the “gayest Super Bowl party in town.”
The football game took a backseat as the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles were eclipsed by the pop star.
“Today, Rihanna is against everyone,” said Cyncia Sanon, who just stepped out for the halftime show with her friends.
It was Rihanna’s first appearance in seven years after she refused to perform the 2019 halftime show, in part over differences with the NFL over the treatment of Colin Kaepernick.
Fans were excited to see what the pop star had up his sleeve.
“I’m here to hang out with other queer people and watch Rihanna,” said Dex Thompson, another attendee.
“I’m a bit interested in football, I enjoy tackling.”
The bar erupted in cheers as Rihanna appeared on screen in her red monochromatic outfit, showing off a baby bump.
She jumped into the show B — h Better have my money, as the contestants sang each word. The energy was high throughout the 13-minute performance, and the fans cheered as if they were watching in the stadium.
Sarah Fobes, one of Champs’ owners, described her bar as “our lesbian Mecca.”
Fobes is a huge soccer enthusiast who says “it’s illegal not to be a Rihanna fan,” and says she knows plenty of lesbians who are avid sports enthusiasts.
“Who isn’t here!” She said. “We have sports fans! We have lesbians!”
Fobes and their co-owners took over Champs Sports Bar almost two years ago, and they say it has since become an unofficial gay bar. In fact, her first purchase for the bar was a big red neon sign that said “Lesbians.”
“We have a diverse, inclusive workforce. We have been told by so many people that this is the only bar they have ever felt safe in. It’s such a great atmosphere to create and be a part of,” she said.
“I think part of what we wanted to do is build bridges and break stereotypes and not assume it’s the Super Bowl so nobody gets out of the queer crowd,” said the bar’s general manager, Rob Jennings.
“Also, not all sports fans are homophobic. Bridges need to be built there, and our part is to make sure that when different crowds come in, everyone is respectful. And the vast majority of the time it’s been a huge success.”
Although Champs’ core clientele was definitely there for Rihanna’s performance, many came out to the game.
“It’s actually a tradition with my boyfriend, every year we watch the Super Bowl. It’s half and half, I’m here for the game and the show,” said Rodrigue Abdallah.
Emily Beekman said there were a few bars she wanted to go to to watch the game, but after hearing that Champs was known as a lesbian bar, she decided to go there.
“I’m here mainly for football,” she said.
Kansas City won its second NFL title in four years when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35.