Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bar of Dreams: Isn't It Time Huntsville Had A Soccer Bar?

There are two huge matches on TV this weekend (USA vs Honduras 8PM tonight on FSC and the Derby della Madonnina or Milan Derby 1:30PM Sunday on FSC), and that got me thinking about something that Huntsville is sorely lacking... a soccer bar.

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 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.
An establishment that does these things will have a loyal, strong following year round, not just during a few months of the year. It's a place that soccer fans will call our own.

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?


  1. Amen bruddah. Maybe you could interview Joe Javivadra, the Maltese owner of Summer's in Arlington, VA. The place has the ambience of a Denny's and it's packed all the time.

  2. I really started to shy away from that place when they started prioritizing Oregon Ducks football over soccer. I went in there during a US game once and couldn't find a seat, because all of the Ducks fans were monopolizing the joint. Very disappointing.

    But the food/drink/service comments in my post were a directed toward Summer's. That place was renown for it's terrible service.

  3. I went in to Steve McQueens (used to be Indigo Joe's, on 72) a few months ago and the bar tender was very into soccer and talked a lot about some hopes of hosting soccer veiwinga and such. I quickly mentioned to him about RCU and their soccer veiwings. With enough pressure from others, there may be a chance to have them hosting many veiwings.