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Soccer Mon Feb 02 2009

Watching Soccer In Bars: The Globe Pub

Even with the MLS in its offseason, the great thing about being a soccer fan (and the awful thing about dating a soccer fan, according to some) is that it's always soccer season somewhere. And in Chicago there is no shortage of bars to watch a game and have a beer, even if the game kicks off at six in the morning. I'll be spending the rest of the offseason filling you in on the various places to check out games.

The Bar:
I originally meant to save the best for last, but after a slew of miserable winter weather I needed the comforts of my regular bar. When I say best, I mean that literally, as The Globe Pub has been voted Best Soccer Bar by a US Soccer Federation poll two years in a row. This year it won with 52% of the vote - it's nearest rival got 9%. Check out this video of the place and then read about my visit after the break.

What makes it the best soccer bar in the country? The Globe goes above and beyond to find any soccer game that's being played on the planet, whether it's the big European Leagues, MLS, or some youth tournament in South America. Because of this, it draws a lively, genuine group of soccer fans rather than people looking for an excuse to buy a new scarf. Last year, they showed an Internet feed of the African Nation's Cup when no American networks broadcast it. The place filled with festive African fans some of who brought cowbells. For the 2008 European Champion's League Final, they were turning people away at the doors hours before kickoff. Notable guests have included Rod Stewart and David Beckham.

The Food/The Drinks: The food isn't anything too special, but the beer list is extensive, with around twenty beers on tap ranging from PBR to fancy German and English stuff.

The Games: FA Cup - Manchester United vs. Tottenham, International Friendly USA vs Sweden.

The Smacktalk: The morning game between Tottenham and Manchester United was a surprisingly low-key affair. The FA Cup is the oldest knock out tournament in the world, and as a knockout tournament it's been a beacon of hope for smaller teams looking to score a historic upset. Though make no mistake, both these teams are giants. Well - Tottenham is more of a sleeping giant. They have a rich history and over the past decade have looked capable of breaking into the top four of the English Premiere League. Only every time it looks like they're building a good team, they bring in a new manager or spend money on new players that turn out to completely suck. This means that most Tottenham fans you talk to are pretty depressed people.

Manchester United, for their part, have won so many trophies in the past two decades that the FA Cup has become a bit of an afterthought. After a brief flurry of excitement when Tottenham took a surprise lead, things got back to normalcy with Manchester United scoring two quick goals and coasting for the rest of the game. Consequently, most of the smack-talk in the bar involved a Tottenham fan resembling Jimmy Greaves wailing in despair at the television.

Popular topics included:

  • The futility of Tottenham's offense

  • The character faults of Dmitar Berbatov - the surly Bulgarian striker who scored Manchester United's winning goal and up until recently played for Tottenham.

  • Cruel, cruel fate

I returned later that evening to check out the US play a friendly against Sweden. Since both teams were fielding "B" teams, I didn't expect too much interest. But with the back room reserved for a private function involving kilts and bagpipes, it was pretty crowded for a meaningless friendly. The biggest reactions in the bar (other than for the three US goals) came when Chicago Fire player Chris Rolfe subbed on. There was also a pretty big cheer when Sweden scored a consolation goal, which was followed by the sound of the other 85%of bar looking around puzzled and saying, "There are Swedish people here? Awesome."

Some of the biggest smack of the night got thrown by one of the owners because I wasn't sure about going on a bus trip to Columbus to see the US vs. Mexico in a World Cup Qualifier in February ($120 for a bus ride, drinks on the bus, and a ticket to that sold out game).

Popular topics included:

  • What kind of American soccer fan am I?

  • Do you know how cold it's going to be on February 11th in Columbus?

  • Just think how the Mexicans are going to feel.

  • Well, it doesn't matter, cause I'll be nice and warm watching it at the Globe anyway.

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jennifer / March 17, 2009 8:22 PM

thanks for the insights into pubs to watch footy in. I know about the globe, but it will be great to get your take on other football-prone pubs.


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