In cities all around the country, soccer fans will be gathering at local establishments to watch the game on the big screen in the company of their fellow soccer fanatics. A quick search on soccerbars.com shows only one soccer bar in Alabama and that is a 6 hour drive from Huntsville. The closest official US Soccer Bar is in Atlanta, a four hour drive.
Huntsville has plenty of sports bars where they show college football, NFL, baseball and basketball, but that's not the same as a soccer bar.
So, what makes a soccer bar?
In fact, it doesn't have to be a bar at all. It can be a restaurant, a club, or a even a diner. For me, it's simple. It's a place that you know, no matter what, the match you are looking for will be shown. It doesn't have to be a place with soccer jersey's hanging in every corner or a British/Irish style Pub. The food can taste like cardboard, the beer selection can be limited, and the service could be awful. It doesn't matter, the joint just has to treat the sport with respect and before all else, show the games.
Now, I've been to several establishments around town that are happy show the games, if their basic cable/satellite sports package happens to have the channel. In fact, every four years during the World Cup, almost every bar/restaurant in town becomes a soccer bar. During those special few weeks, soccer is a national sport. It's great. The game is treated with respect, and all sports fans are into it. But that does not a real soccer bar make.
A real soccer bar will:
- Go out of their way to order every conceivable channel where soccer is shown ahead of time.
- Have multiple TVs to show all the games going on concurrently.
- Order the special pay per view events (like the African Nations Cup) and advertise all of the games it shows.
- Open at all times of the day/night in order to show the games live and will often record them and reshow them later in the day, if necessary.
If you build it, they will come.
What do you think? Is there already a place like this in Huntsville? Is there anything else that you'd like to see in our soccer bar?