RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Great weather, lots more people vaccinated plus playoff Canes were the perfect recipe for a packed watch party at Carolina Ale House on Glenwood Avenue. Down below on Glenwood South, the Friday night crowd that was gone for so long is back in force. Things are looking more and more like normal: bars and restaurants filled again inside and out.
John Rogers was out on the town for dinner and drinks - eager to shake off the cabin fever of the pandemic.
"We've been locked down and we're not used to that. This is the way it should be," Rogers said. "It feels great and all those great businesses down here thriving and doing great."
At Carolina Ale House (CAH), this official Canes playoff watch party packed the place in red.
"We couldn't ask for better timing of the lifting of restrictions. I mean right before the Hurricanes go into a playoff run," said CAH Director of Operations Tony Salerno.
What a difference vaccinations make. It's been a scary year for the hospitality industry. Glenwood South just trying to hold on.
"That was really difficult going through those time with no guests in our buildings for up to two months and just doing take-out to stay alive -- with no sign of relief when it was going to change," Salerno said.
And by the sound of things at the watch party, the fastest thing spreading here was Canes fever.
"I am so excited. I absolutely love the playoff games. Nothing more exciting than that. I have so much faith they're gonna do it," said Caniac die-hard Carla Frederick.
Salerno said the watch parties will only get bigger as the Canes playoff runs gets longer.
"This is just bringing back all those memories of the playoff run in 2019 where we blocked off Tucker Street and then we blocked off Glenwood Avenue. We are looking forward to the Canes going to the second round and throwing those block parties again," he said.
All of it aimed at drawing more people back to the heart of the city's entertainment district.