A New Season! A Second Venue!

Arsenal FC kick off the 2015-2016 season this weekend against Chelsea FC in the Community Shield match.

And as we have for the past 7 (8?) years, we’ll be at Maggie McGarry’s in North Beach, cheering the Gunners on!


Photo by Holly Hickman. All rights reserved.

If our home pub has one drawback, it’s that Maggie’s is 21 and over only.  Every season we field inquiries from local and visiting Gooners wanting to bring younger supporters to our match-viewings. Thus, we’re continuing an experiment we started with last season’s FA Cup Final.

Beginning with this weekend’s match, the San Francisco Athletic Club will be open for every Arsenal match beginning 7AM PT or later.  Because the SFAC has a full kitchen, they can welcome Gooners of all ages.

SFAC’s will be flying the Bay Area Gooners banner, while breakfast and drink specials for BAG members will be available.

Maggie McGarry’s Irish Pub (21+ only)
1353 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133

San Francisco Athletic Club (All-ages)
1750 Divisadero Street (at Bush St.)

Looking forward to see you Gooners young and old this season!

Branch Manager

FA Cup Final Match-Viewings!

The Gunners battle for 2nd place in the English Premier League still has a few more matches to be played. However, most Gooners are looking ahead to May 30th when Arsenal meet Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup Final.

As many of you will recall from last year’s Final, Maggie McGarry’s was packed to overflowing,AH14-Outside with many left on on the sidewalk to watch through the windows

Thus, this year we’ve made arrangements to host a 2nd match-viewing at the San Francisco Athletic Club (Divisadero & Bush).

And this one is all-ages, so our under-21 members and those with children can attend.

Both locations will offer drink specials and SFAC will have tables set-aside specifically for BAG members. We’ll be doing a half-time raffle at Maggie’s with prizes including an Arsenal kit, scarves, and more (courtesy of Carlsberg).

FA Cup Final Viewing Party #1
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – 9:30AM
Doors 8:00AM, 21+ only
Maggie McGarry’s Irish Pub
1353 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133

FA Cup Final Viewing Party #2
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – 9:30AM
Doors 8:00AM, All-Ages (kids welcome)
San Francisco Athletic Club
1750 Divisadero Street (at Bush St.)

We’re anticipating good crowds at both, so get there early. And if you are going to Maggie’s, bring your ID. Even if you’re a regular, you won’t get in without it.

Moving towards democracy

Branch ManagerI founded the Bay Area Gooners over 8 years ago because of a desire to watch Arsenal matches with other fans of the club.  In that time, we’ve gone from about 10 people in the pub to a mailing list of over 700, a Facebook group of 874, and a Twitter feed with some 2,700+ followers.

Most matches now at Maggie McGarry’s draw a pretty good crowd, even at 4:45AM, andit’s especially packed for particular big matches.  I’m there for most if not all of the matches, and do my best to make new Gooners feel welcome and part of the family.

Over the years, I’ve tried to steer the group towards good works. We’ve done charity matches against the local Spurs group, raising money for everything from Southern tornado relief to the Japanese earthquake fund.  We’ve also collected canned goods for the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank on numerous occasions, and held the occasional charitable raffle for different causes.

Running the group can be time consuming, and while I’m not complaining (it’s been a great experience thus far), I’ve decided to try and bring some other folks on board to help share the load. I attended an event a few months back put on by the local Liverpool supporters group, and was impressed by the fact that they have a committee of 6 or 7 leading their efforts.

AH14-Happy Mark2So if you’re a Gooner, who’s at the pub on a regular basis (minimum 2-3 times a month), and want to get involved, let’s talk at the pub.

Not exactly sure how this will work, but there are things the Bay Area Gooners could accomplish that I’m finding I don’t have the bandwidth to do on my own, such as more charitable efforts, a site redesign, maybe even a group trip to the Emirates.

At the very least, if I’m can’t make it to the pub, it would be great to feel assured that someone was taking new Gooners under their wing and making sure they’re integrated into our Gooner family.

See you at the pub!

Cheers, Mark