Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Soccer Bar Review: The Brickhouse Sports Cafe

It's been a while since I've done a Soccer Bar Review.  Honestly, I'd gotten kind of turned off on doing the reviews because it didn't seem worth the effort.  Often, the places that I went to were just not really interested in being a soccer bar.  Or the places that were reviewed went out of business a few months after I posted the review.
Well, hopefully we've found a place that can surpass expectations in the Brickhouse Sports Cafe.  Located in the Village of Providence, the Brickhouse is a sports bar with a nice beer selection, lots of TVs and pretty good food.   It's a major plus that the Brickhouse has embraced the soccer community.   It has been selected by the Hunstville Chapter of the American Outlaws as its home bar, and Rocket City United can be seen there eating their pregame meals when they are at home on Saturday nights.

Since it's been so long since I've done a Soccer Bar Review, you may have forgotten the criteria that I use to produce the rating.  If so, check it out here.  I visited the Brickhouse three times to watch the UEFA Champions League Final, the recent USA v Spain friendly, and the first US match in the Gold Cup against Canada.  So, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of the review.

The Brickhouse has plenty of TVs.  The bar itself has three TV above the beer taps, and many others around the bar area.  The dining room has a TV for nearly every table.  They have a satellite TV system and get the typical soccer channels.  They are also capable of ordering pay-per-view events (like the USA at Honduras World Cup Qualifying match in '09).  

Soccer Priority
The Brickhouse is a sports bar, and so, it caters to sports fans and understands that fans can get rowdy.  I've heard chanting and singing a few games and the staff didn't bat an eye.   BTW, the bar area has really great acoustics and our chants and songs sounded really, really loud.  The USA v Canada match went head to head with Game 4 of the NBA Finals, but the priority was definitely given to the USA v Canada game.  I'd say there 70% of the TVs had the US game while the remainder was split between NBA and various baseball games.

Soccer and beer go hand in hand.  The Brickhouse recognizes that fact and have a good selection of beers on tap including local brews Straight to Ale and Bluepants (I am a little disappointed in the lack of Guinness).  The beer is moderately priced, and there will be drink specials during all US Men's National Team games. 

I've had three meals at the Brickhouse and have enjoyed all three.  I'm not a finicky eater, but they do seem to have a large selection to choose from at moderate prices.

The Brickhouse is a sports bar that has a pub type feel.  There is plenty of sports banners  and memorabilia (SEC banners, Huntsville Havoc jerseys, Golf photos, etc), but sadly no soccer gear on display.  That may be remedied soon as I've been told that they will be hanging an American Outlaws banner soon.  I like the fact that they focus on a set of clientele that are focused on watching the game with their pals without any gimmicks (a la skimpily clad bimbos, karaoke nights, etc).  That type of establishment suits the soccer fan nicely.

The Rating
Brickhouse: 3 and 1/2 Soccer Balls

So, all tolled the Brickhouse is a sports pub that serves the needs of soccer fans better than any other place in town.   The only thing that prevents me from rating them a full four soccer balls is the general sports bar theme with no visible recognition of soccer.  I do think the Brickhouse has the potential to turn into a terrific soccer bar if they expand their hours to include morning matches, and cater directly to the soccer fans that are willing to patronize their bar, for example, an EPL keg and eggs special.

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