After several decades of running sports bars, Armand Ausiello has come up with a suprising theory about Super Bowl Sunday:

Sometimes it’s better for business if the home team doesn’t make it to the big game.

“The slower days were the years the 49ers made it all the way to the Super Bowl, because all the fans threw big parties for their friends at home,” Ausiello observed.

When the Niners get to the National Football Conference championship game and lose, as they did this year, “people get so depressed they don’t want to put on their own parities, so they go to the bars.”

So, when the Giants face the Patriots face the Giants in Indianapolis on Feb. 5, Ausiello’s 5th Street Grill in Santa Rosa, and other sports bars all over the county, will be ready.

Miguel Calderon, manager of Ticket Sports Bar & Grill in Santa Rosa, isn’t convinced this Sunday will be the same without a local team playing, but it won’t be a dead day either.

“It makes a difference, but it’ll be busy,” he said. “We’ll put a big barbecue out back, put out some drink specials.
Ausiello’s also will lay out free snacks and give away some sports memorabilia.

At Qunicy’s Pub & Cafe in Rohnert Park, which boasts no less than two dozen TV screens, owner Yiannis Gatzious promises free barbecued tri-tip and both Bud and the new But Lite Platinum beer at $2.50 a bottle.

Of course, almost any place that serves food and drink will put the game on the TV at 3:30 p.m. local time, when NBC broadcasts it from the Midwest.

We asked readers to suggest some of their favorite spots to watch the game, and got these ideas:

— West Side Grill in Santa Rosa, where genial owner Shannon Klein finds the bar’s giveaway Super Bowl T-shirts are always a popular item.

— Patterson’s Pub in Windsor, where owner Sean Graham said at press time, “I’m meeting with the chef today on what we’re going to serve.”

— Beyond the Glory Sports Bar and Grill in Petaluma, a family restaurant that also offers more than a dozen plasma TVs.

You might be disappointed that the 49ers didn’t make it all the way this time, but look at this way: Now you can just relax and enjoy yourself, without worrying so much about who wins.