Friday, February 26, 2010

New PWT-blog Feature: Huntsville Soccer Bar Reviews

From yesterday's post you know I've been itching more and more lately to get out of the house and to find a local establishment to enjoy my soccer viewing. After speaking with many like minded soccer aficionados, I've decided that it's time for we as a soccer community to take things into our hands. We need to demonstrate prior to the World Cup that we are a clientele worthy of being catered to.

The Richmond Arms Pub in Houston, TX. They do the soccer bar right!
Photo by Bill Olive for the Houston Chronicle.

So, the PWT-blog is going to start a feature that reviews local establishments and assigns a rating for their "soccer bar potential" and we need your help. While we may not be able to find a true soccer pub in Huntsville (like this one in New York), we should be able to identify a sports bar or pizza joint that truly respects the game and goes out of their way to cater to the soccer fan clientele. We'll try to review one bar a week leading up to the World Cup. Hopefully by then, we will have identified the best places in town to watch soccer and we'll frequent those establishments during the tournament. Hopefully, these establishments will recognize by the growth of business during the World Cup that Huntsville has a large soccer watching population and will consider hosting soccer viewing events in the future.

Wanted: Establishments and Reviewers

This is what we need now.
  1. A list of potential soccer pubs. These could be bars, restaurants, or clubs that may be willing to show games.
  2. We need reviewers. We're looking for soccer guys/gals to go these places and review them for their potential as a soccer bar.
Packed soccer joint watching the big screen.

Criteria: What we are judging?

Here are the criteria and categories on which to judge and some of the questions I think we should be asking.
  • TVs: How many/what size? Are they HD?
  • Soccer Priority: Do they carry the soccer channels (FSC, GolTV, FSE, FS+, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, Univision, Telemundo, etc)? Will they order special pay-per\-view soccer events? Are they willing to open their doors at 6AM to catch the afternoon matches in Europe? Are they willing to show soccer despite what other events may be on? (We'll probably need to ask the management about these things.)
  • Food: Does the food taste good? (Not a major hang-up for me, but it may be for some finicky folks.) Is the food expensive?
  • Beverages (Beer): Do they have a good selection of beer? On Tap? No beer!? Other beverages? Is the beer expensive?
  • Other: Does the place have a good ambiance? Does the place allow singing, chanting, cheering when your team scores? Does the place allow smoking, dancing, karaoke, etc that may distract us from the games?
Having many quality beers on tap certainly wouldn't hurt!

Soccer Bar Index Rating: Is it a legit soccer pub or just a place to watch the game?

Once I receive the review from a reviewer, I will rate the establishment based on the above criteria and assign it a "soccer bar index rating" (sounds spiffy, doesn't it). The descriptions below will give you all and idea of what the rating indicates.

4 soccer balls- Bar is bona fide soccer establishment and will show any game, at any time, no matter what. Has great beer, great food, great atmosphere, etc. Since I have been searching Huntsville for years without luck, I doubt any bars will earn this rating.

3 soccer balls- Bar has soccer TV packages and will show games, has good food and beer selection.

2 soccer balls- Bar does not have soccer TV package but will show soccer if they have it on their channels, doesn't have good food/beer selection.

1 soccer ball- Bar will show soccer if it's on their channels, prioritizes other events, bad food/beer selection.

0 soccer balls- Bar will not show soccer. Crap food, crap beer.

Would you, the Huntsville soccer community, like to help with this effort?

If you would like to volunteer, send me an email at ryanogol [at] gmail [dot] com. I'll send you a review questionnaire that will guide you through what to do and ask for while reviewing an establishment for soccer bar potential.

Volunteers to meet at Steve McQueens for US vs Netherlands Next Wednesday

I think we can get a good start on this by meeting next Wednesday afternoon for a late lunch at Steve McQueen's in Madison (on 72, used to be Indigo Joes) to watch the US v Netherlands match (game starts at 1:45 PM). I've heard that SMcQs may be interested in hosting "soccer viewings". So, it will be a good place to start our little venture.

If all else fails...

If for some reason we can't find a way to identify one, I may just have to buy one of these portable blow-up pubs, blow it up in my backyard, put a keg and a big TV in it, and invite you all over!

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