• Charlotte bars opening early Sunday for Panthers game in London

    By: Joe Bruno

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Panthers are in London preparing for Sunday's game. On this side of the pond, Charlotte bars are preparing for an influx of fans to watch them.

    "I think that is awesome. We are going overseas and introducing the NFL to another country," said the manager of Dilworth Neighborhood Grill, Billy Cripe.

    With kickoff at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time, Dilworth Neighborhood Grill and dozens of other bars plan to open early Sunday morning. But fans hoping to have a mimosa or bloody mary at kickoff won't be able to.

    [ALSO READ: 2 Make-A-Wish kids join thousands of fans in London for Panthers game]

    "We can't serve alcohol until 10. Of course, we will follow those laws," Cripe said.

    North Carolina alcohol laws don't allow alcohol to be served until 10 a.m. on Sundays.

    Until the brunch bill passed in 2017, the time used to be noon.

    The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Commission said if this isn't followed there could be criminal penalties for the seller and administrative penalties for the business.

    One business expected to be busy is Big Ben Pub in South End. The British pub is opening its doors at 8:30 a.m.  

    "We have a pretty good Tottenham following here in Charlotte," head bartender Randy Ward said. "A lot of them will be excited to see an American football game in their stadium."

    But fans will have to enjoy coffee, tea and a full English breakfast until pints can start flowing an hour and a half after the pub opens.

    Ward said it will be a fun experience at Big Ben regardless.

    "It should be rather exciting," he said. "Anytime there is a big event in London, it is a big event here. Combine that with the Panthers, I expect it should be a real rowdy crowd."

    Alcohol sales times vary in each county, but the earliest a county can sell alcohol on Sundays is 10 a.m.

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