What It's Like To Go On An Epic Journey Through Five NYC Soccer Bars At 7:30 On A Saturday Morning

nyc soccer bars

Photo: Tony Manfred

What is it like to be a diehard English Premier League fan living in New York City?In short, it means waking up at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings, travelling to your neighbourhood pub, and consuming an untold number of adult beverages while the rest of the world sleeps in.

The English Premier League kicked off its 2011-12 season on Saturday morning.

We woke up in the wee hours, and set out on an epic journey through some of New York City’s preeminent soccer bars.

It started at our Hoboken, NJ apartment at 7:30 a.m., and ended in the same place eight hours later. 

But in between, I traversed New York City, landed in five different bars, and learned the dos and don’ts of EPL pub crawling in NYC.

It's a 7:30 a.m. wake-up call at our apartment in Hoboken, NJ. The games start at 10

The itinerary: a must for NYC soccer bar scene novices like us

Out the door we go at 8:45

A smashed bagel, ideal for your tastebuds and for soaking up early-morning beers

Our neighbourhood pub, Mulligans, remains closed at 9 a.m. Looks like we'll have to head to Manhattan

An awesome view of NYC on our way to the PATH station

Soccer fans are dedicated, but so are Cake Boss fans. We pass them as we get ready to hop on the PATH

Soccer is everywhere you look this morning, even on PATH ads

The first leg of our journey: Hoboken to 33rd street

STOP #1: Legend's on 33rd Street between 5th and 6th

They show a lot of games, but we're here for Fulham v. Aston Villa

The ground floor looks great, but it's essentially empty when we get there

Never fear, we're told, Aston Villa's NYC supporters are watching in the basement

But they've yet to show up when we get there at 9:30

And we're off! The 2011-12 EPL season gets underway at 10 a.m.

The Aston Villa fans file in right as the game begins

A lone Fulham fan, severely outnumbered

On a smaller TV screen, Liverpool scores on Sunderland, although we didn't see it live. Hopefully this means we'll see a boatload of goals today

Our game is pretty boring, so we decide to head out to the next bar in search of goals

Luckily we won't miss much action, the next bar is just a few doors down

STOP #2: Jack Demsey's

Most people here support Celtic — a Scottish club with that legendary green-and-white jersey you see everywhere

The satellite picture quality on the Celtic-Dundee United game isn't quite up to snuff, so we check out some of the bar's quirky decor

Have got to guess that this is a one-of-a-kind piece

The trip from 33rd Street to 11th Street and Avenue A is a long expedition. But we see some cool things along the way

Like this street market on University Place, where we picked up a free energy drink sample

Finally, STOP #3: 11th Street Bar, on 11th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B

Now this is more like it, the place is absolutely packed when we get there

They even started turning people away when the bar reached capacity

11th Street is a Liverpool bar. It's dominated by the Reds' singing, super-intense supporters club

They even have their own NYC supporters shirts

It's still 11:30 a.m. But people are more focused on the game than the coffee stand at this point

We missed a goal on our long jaunt from 33rd Street. Will we ever see the ball find the net this morning?

The supporters are not pleased about their team's performance

Things get tense as the score remains 1-1

The game ends in a disappointing tie. The supporters sing songs as they walk out the door, despite their anger

We head out too, and move to a new spot for the 12:30 game between Arsenal and Newcastle

Luckily, it's only a few blocks from 11th Street

STOP #4: Blind Pig, on 14th Street between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue

The bar's full when we get there 30 minutes before game time

Not to be outdone by Liverpool, Arsenal's supporters have a flag too

And nifty NYC supporters shirts

Blind Pig has the best TV situation so far, with huge projectors eveywhere

SPOTTED: a guy on a non-iPad tablet a few minutes before game time, curious

A prized possession in a bar as packed as this

LESSON: Always look to see if there is a beer stand outside before you try to shoulder your way to the bar

The game kicks off, and we find ourselves in a less than ideal spot ...

We take back what we said about the TV situation earlier

45 more minutes of soccer, and we still haven't seen a goal. Something drastic is necessary

We leave the Blind Pig at halftime. Apparently, that's the same time the bartenders hop on the bar and throw shirts at the crowd

Someone also stands outside and hands you chocolate bars as you leave

Another short walk to our final stop. We're exhausted after four hours on our feet, but we're still holding out hope for that elusive goal

STOP #5: Nevada Smiths, 3rd Avenue between 11th Street and 12th Street

Way less people are here than at the last two bars, maybe the lack of natural light has something to do with it

Nevada's shows French and German league games as well as the Arsenal-Newcastle match

As a fight breaks out in the game, we only have 15 minutes left to see a goal

With the cave-like lighting situation, it's easy to loose track of time in here. It's around 2 p.m. as the game comes to an end

That's it, Arsenal-Newcastle ends 0-0, and our day of soccer watching ends without us seeing a single goal live

We journey back to the PATH, and prepare to return to Jersey

Back in Hoboken, fives hours later, and little has changed

The line of Cake Boss fiends was swelled. That's them all the way to the right

Mulligans decided to open its doors. But as much as we'd like to stop into our neighbourhood watering hole, there's only one thing to do right now

A successful, tiring, goalless day comes to an end

We bet you didn't know this about the Premier League

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