The first time you walk through the door at Nevada Smiths in New York, you feel the difference. It’s not just standing room only, it’s standing and singing room only.
With multiple TV screens on every wall, in every corner, and one big screen at the “bog end”, they were able to show every Champions League match the second day we visited. I peered into the downstairs room only long enough to see this where the Chel$ki supporters had been banished to, and quickly left before the stink set into my clothing.
Every kind of supporters group has carved out their own little piece of the room. The Mancs, the Scousers, Barca, Hamburg, Juventus, you name the club, and some of their fans were probably in attendance. And they all coexist fairly big peacefully in this big football melting pot of a bar.
Our first visit was on a Saturday morning to watch Fulham v Arsenal at the quite civilized hour of 12:30PM EST. Being used to the Bay Area where matches are usually on about 7:00AM, it was a treat for us not having to be up at the crack of dawn.
Squeezing past the fans closest to the door which seemed to be a coagulation of ManUre and Liverpool supporters, I came face to face with a very large man in a Tottenham shirt, hold his hand aloft, fingers spread wide, yelling “Five, five, five”. Apparently the Scum had put 5 goals past their hapless opponent that day. I tapped him on the shoulder. He turned, repeating, “Five, five goals”. “It was bound to happen once in a lifetime”, I posited politely, and then continued towards the back of the bar, in search of Gooners.
And oh what Gooners I found. You could not ask for a more spirited group than the NYC Arsenal Supporters. Run by two genial blokes, Kurtis and Brett, these die-hard Gunners fans went above and beyond being just gracious hosts to three Bay Area Gooners. I can only hope our group in San Francisco shows visiting Arsenal supporters the kind of welcome we received.
We met so many great people, including a Gooner wearing a wig he fashioned in Bacary Sagna’s honor. We sang songs, shared stories, and
bonded in that way that only true Gooners can. Not to discount in any way the great community we’ve built at Maggie McGarry’s Irish Pub in North Beach, but the matches we watched at Nevada Smiths had an electricity second only to watching the matches in person.
I was even interviewed for Kurtis’ blog while I was there!