ST. PETERSBURG — Even with Hurricane Irma approaching, Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill was open for business Sunday afternoon.
And business was good.
Several hundred showed up to watch football, eat wings and have one last beer out before hunkering down and bracing for one of the biggest storms this area has ever seen. There were long lines for food, with wings selling out in just a few hours. Ferg's also sold beer to go.
"We figured we're all prepared, got everything ready, why not get out since the next 24 hours is lockdown time," said Joyce Brown, 57. "We might as well relax a little bit and it's been fun."
Brown evacuated her St. Pete home and stayed with friend Molly Smith, 46, who lived a couple blocks away in Kenwood.
"At first I thought it'd be either dead or completely packed," Smith said of Ferg's. It ended up being completely packed."
Word spread rapidly after owner Mark Ferguson posted on Facebook Sunday morning he was opening from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Ferguson said four volunteer cooks, bartenders and two managers came in to work on what looked like a regular football Sunday.
"We thought a lot of people wouldn't have any options today," Ferguson said. "We're quitting at 4 o'clock and then we're hunkering down right here at Ferg's. I'll be here all night because it's the safest place to be."