74 Third Avenue (Between 11th and 12th Streets), NYC (212) 982-2591
The Short ‘n’ Curly’s
Nevada’s is New York’s premier football bar. There are two bars ground floor and basement, plenty of large screen TV’s and one big screen TV in the main bar. The staff are mostly Irish, a couple of Brit’s, S. Americans and Americans and are normally very accommodating if there’s a live game on and you want to watch it. They have several TV signal feeds and show Sentana, Sky, Fox Soccer Channel, all the ESPN channels and other various satellite feeds for example Ontario TV. Beer selection is OK, Guinness $6 and Stella $5 a pint. Food is crap – they only have pies and crisps (although they are Walkers) but they do allow you to bring in food and there are plenty of burger joints, Chinese takeouts etc near by. It’s THE bar for atmosphere especially for England games although get there at least two hours before the game if it is an England game you’re going to. For some international games there is a Pay Per View charge at the door charged and collected by Setanta. Occasionally celeb’s make appearances, this is Rod Stewart’s favorite haunt for Scotland and other big games (well he was there for the last FA Cup at least).
Not the sort of place you’d bring your mum but if you want to watch a game in an atmosphere close to what it’s like at a live game then this is the place to be.
To get there:
By Subway : 4,5,6,N,R,W,Q to Union Square, L to 1 st Ave.
BCFC in NYC Ratings
The Grizzly Details
In 1994, an Irishman by the name of Jack Keane took over as manager at a Pub called Nevada Smith’s in the Eastside of New York city. He had a dream back then about creating something different from all the other sports bars around the town. This bar would carry the game that people all over the world loves with a passion.However there was one catch – this game that the world called ‘football’ was known as soccer here in America and it seemed that nobody cared much for it. The World cup for soccer was hosted in US that year. While the competition turned out record crowds and was considered a success, Nevada Smith’s failed to get any spillover effect of that excitement.
In spite of that, Jack believed that the seeds had been sown for this game in the American sports world. The game does not come into existence just every four years with the World Cup. There are professional leagues in every country with passionate supporters in the millions. The best professional leagues of the game are in Europe – English premier league, Spanish La liga and the Italian Serie A. There are also significant leagues in South America – Campeonato in Brazil and Argentina Apertura/Clausura that have passionate supporters.
Getting television broadcasts of these games were not easy those days. Jack had to become a communication technology expert and gather up television signals from European broadcasts through big satellite dishes mounted on the roofs. The back of Nevada Smith’s became virtual television receiving studio.
Slowly but surely fans of the beautiful game started trickling in on Saturday and Sunday mornings to watch live games and drink a pint or two of beer. New York’s large community of expatriate Europeans formed the core of the initial fan base. They brought their passion for the game and the existing team loyalties to the new soccer scene in New York City. Soon the place started to feel and sound like the Soccer pubs of Europe. One of the great features of the Soccer fans especially in Britain are the communal soccer songs. These songs composed by fans sometimes celebrate the teams or players but often make fun of the opposing sides.
For years now the most popular sport among American kids ages 6-14 has been baseball but coming in a close second is soccer. However these kids lose interest in the game both as players and viewers as there was no league to follow, no heroes to aspire to here in the country. There was the attempt at creating that with the NASL and Pele. It attracted packed stadiums and there was television coverage but alas the league went bankrupt.
The domestic soccer scene went blank again except every four years with the World Cup. There was very little TV coverage and few people knew about it. All that changed with the US national team qualifying for the World Cup in 1990 after a gap of 40 years. The soccer scene in America was about to change. In 1994 the World Cup was hosted in the US and gradually this tournament started to sink into the American sports psyche. Every four years, those soccer fans started to look forward to the tournament and the TV viewer ship steadily increased to the point that the 2006 tournament championship game drew higher TV ratings then the Baseball ‘World series’ in the North-east American market.
However the game is more than the World Cup and the fans wanted to see the stars play more often. Where were they during the intercession between the World Cups? They were all playing in those European leagues but normal TV stations did not broadcast them. Nevada Smith’s came to the rescue and Jack Smith’s dream of creating a Soccer culture started to come into being.
Fox Sports started broadcast of European leagues especially the English Premier League in 2001. Though Spanish language channel Univision showed Mexican soccer, the arrival of European soccer on an English language channel started creating this big sub-culture of real soccer fans that followed the game on an everyday basis. These fans not only watched the game but also sought to become part of the broader community of soccer lovers.
It is in this the context that Nevada Smith’s came along where the soccer fan could congregate to shout, cheer and sing for their team. Fast forward to 2006, a World Cup year and Nevada Smith’s became the home of all the true soccer fans in New York. The most fascinating aspect of that wild month of soccer was that there were fans of all national teams and each game saw Nevada Smith’s packed to capacity. Many fans had to be turned away at the door and they had to find other not so desirable venues. For when it comes to soccer, there is no place like this pub near St Mark’s place.
Over the year European teams like Manchester United, Celtic, Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona have built up huge fan following across America and especially here in New York City. With many more American soccer stars playing in Europe, especially in the Premiership, the American soccer fans have following these leagues in a dedicated manner. The local league here in the US; MLS has also started attracting the same kind of passionate support and the arrival of David Beckham is only going to make this bigger and boisterous. These fans have organized themselves into supporter’s clubs and they call Nevada Smith’s their home in New York.
On game day, these rabid fans come singing and waving flags into Nevada Smith’s. The walls of the pub become adorned with rival flags, the ‘pints’ start to flow and the fervor of the beautiful game reverberates throughout the whole place. Make sure you come early to find a spot because the place can hold only so many people.
Jack, the manager is saddened everyday when he has to turn so many fans away every week. These fans may have come from far and missing the game is not really something anyone like to experience. Nevada Smith’s has outgrown its current space and their lease with the current location is expiring. Fear not because this is a New York City institution that is here to stay but may get bigger and better.
So if want to experience soccer with true and deserved passion, take a trip to the St Mark’s place and try to get into the Nevada’s Smith’s. Make sure to check their website for the timings of the games (called ‘Fixtures’) and come early.