CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cleveland sports fans flooded downtown Friday night, bringing some much needed business to restaurants and bars. 

The excitement filled the streets even before the tip-off and first pitch. It was a party on the plaza that echoed across all of downtown Cleveland.

“The vibe is amazing down here, the vibe is great. Just everyone is so happy and excited,” said one woman hanging with friends on East 4th Street.

“I haven’t been down here since my bachelorette party, so fun,” said one of her friends.

“We’re also going to the casino tonight and we’re going to win a bunch of money at the casino tonight,” said a young man that was also with the group.

The excitement is big business for restaurants and bars around the downtown sports venues. Harry Buffalo, just a half block from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, has been packed all day.

“It’s really been exciting. We’ve been down here a long time and it really is the sights to see the people back the way they should be, the way it hasn’t been since pre-pandemic,” said a man dining at a full open window at the restaurant.

“Downtown is awesome. Why would you want to be anywhere else?” asked a woman who was with him.

“It’s doing wonders for downtown, it’s doing wonders for business, but I’m telling you, it’s doing even greater wonders for my mental health,” said Nick Kostis, owner of Pickwick & Frolic Restaurant and Club.

Further down East 4th Street, the food, the drinks and the excitement are also flowing at Pickwick and Frolic.  Kostis says after struggling financially during the pandemic, he loves seeing good-spirited people gather, celebrate and support his business.

“This is the sign of spring, this is the sign of sun rising, flowers blooming and with that, our city’s bloomed,” he said.

“It’s just good for the city, good for the culture,” said a young man with friends on East 4th Street.

Clevelanders are not the only ones enjoying the fun. The sporting events and the excitement that comes with it lure people in from out of town too.

“I think it’s great for the city, bringing all the people, different communities, everything from out of state and it brings a lot of money through,” said another man in the group.

“It’s bringing the community together and it’s people like me from outside the city that’s coming here because they want to be a part of this city,” said a man visiting from Columbus.