More than 300 fans recently packed into a sports bar surrounded by a wall of TVs in Merrick. Donning bright-colored jerseys, they hollered in unison and banged on the tables clamoring for the next goal. Each consecutive kick and save incited wild celebration from the rowdy enthusiasts watching the US Women’s National Team defeat Japan in the World Cup Final. “People who didn’t even go there to watch the game ended up chanting and singing with us,” said Chris Boyce, a member of American Outlaws’ Long Island Chapter, a supporter group of fans.
It seems soccer has finally found its footing in the US. Bars across the area are taking notice of the rising number of soccer fans and opening early on Saturdays and Sundays to show matches from all over the world.
Next time you’re ready to shout GOOOOAAAAAAL, it’ll be easy to find friends.
Prost Grill & Garten, Garden City
This unassuming German-style bar does a soccer brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Most BPL games kick off at 3pm in the UK, which means that fans stateside have to be ready to go at 10am. The early start may seem like a burden for some, but for the soccer-mad staff at Prost it is well worth it. In fact, Prost sometimes opens for the early early match if the game is big enough (7:45am). And, according to Chef David Mannes, “We get mobbed in here.”
Main Event, Farmingdale
The official Long Island home to the American Outlaws is a sprawling neighborhood-style sports bar with more than 80 televisions. When the US is on, the bar gets lifted into a full- blown party with singing, dancing and the occasional flying beer. According to Boyce, AO:LI chose The Main Event as its home base because of its centralized location and welcoming atmosphere. The family-friendly restaurant is also associated with The Third Rail, the official supporters’ group of New York City Football Club in the MLS.
MonaGhan’s, Rockville Centre
A more intimate atmosphere can be had at this classy Irish pub, which always airs US games for their patrons. Although they may not open in time for all early morning matches, it is fantastic place later in the day and perfect for those wishing to wax on strategy all afternoon.