WSOTP x the free beer movement

WSOTP x The Free Beer Movement

wrong side of the pond is teaming up with the free beer movement to help you find a pub to watch your game.

Despite regularly claiming that I live on the wrong side of the pond, things have actually gotten much better for American soccer fans as of late. Football has, if nothing else, gained respect in the American sporting arena — just don’t ask Sepp Blatter his thoughts on the matter. The reasons for this surge in popularity are many and varied: the successes for the USMNT and UWSNT, better on-field product both in MLS and Americans abroad, and the increased exposure of European leagues.

But there’s also been organic growth, too, brought upon by the American fans hoping to make soccer more accepted among their non-converted peers. One of the leaders in those efforts are the stalwarts over at The Free Beer Movement. Their mission is simple:  to educate not-yet-converted, but willing, friends, family, and colleagues in exchange for a beer here and there. And unsurprisingly, the movement has caught wind and is helping soccer attract new fans in the US.

Well, today, I’m pleased to announce that WSOTP is partnering with FBM to help existing and new fans alike to find a soccer-friendly, hospitable environment to take in a match! Through this collaboration, the WSOTP Soccer Pub Atlas will be featured on the http://www.thefreebeermovement.com to aid those looking for a pub or bar to watch their games. Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway, be sure to mosey on over to FBM’s site to check out what they have to offer. And if you like the sound of the idea, start thinking of a friend to drag along to the bar for the next game you go to watch. After all, are they really going to turn down a free beer?!

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the WSOTP soccer pub atlas project

Thanks to its rise in popularity over the last decade, it’s never been easier to watch football in the United States than it is today. Most Americans with a digital cable subscription have at least one full-time soccer channel at their disposal, meaning watching a load of live European matches per week from the comforts of one’s own living room sofa is a reality for a huge percentage of the country.

soccer pub

if you want to watch football, and you want to have a beer, but you don’t know where to go… you came to the right place.

But if you’re anything like me — aside from taking in a match in person — there really isn’t a better place to watch football than at a pub with your friends.

Now, I can understand why some might think that’s just me attempting adopt the customs of our European contemporaries on the other side of the pond. And while that’s true to a degree, taking in a basketball, baseball or the other football game at a bar is pretty much ubiquitous stateside too. The only thing that’s odd about my game day bar habit is the time in which my game kicks off.

Finding a bar that will open up for those early morning kickoff times, though, can be a bit of a task. Luckily, over the years nearly every major city in the country has answered the call for a pub that will open its doors early enough for us to come in, have a beer and support our football with others like us. I love soccer bars, the atmosphere they provide and the community they can create. I even interviewed one once. But while we all know the best local spot to watch our teams play, if you ever leave the safe confines of your home city… you might need a little guidance.

Now, there are loads of websites out there that are attempting to list every “soccer bar” in the country. Some of them are advertising based, others are free. But not one of them offers quite what I’m looking for in a football pub directory. My requirements aren’t that crazy, but they are rather specific:

  1. Does the bar open early enough for me to watch Premier League matches as early as 7:00am? If they do, you can pretty much guarantee it’s a solid place to catch a match.
  2. there are certain elements characteristics an establishment must have to be a great football pub.

    Are there any supporters groups that call the bar home? It’s always nice to know who shows up to watch the games there. You know, because as a Spurs fan, I’m at least slightly wary of getting my ass kicked if I accidentally stroll into a hardcore Arsenal supporter’s bar.

  3. Do they have a decent beer selection? Because while I can settle for a Bud Light if need be, I’d really prefer to get my hands on something a bit more tasty. The more taps, the better.
  4. Will the game I want to watch be showing on one of their TV’s? Do they carry any soccer specific channels such as the Fox Soccer suite, GolTV or the newcomer BeIN sports? And are those channels available in HD? Bonus points for having the ability to carry live streams!
  5. And lastly, I want a directory that’s map-based. Even better, the map should be easily accessed by phone so that I can easily locate and navigate to the closest establishment offering soccer enjoyment.

I don’t feel like that’s a lot to ask to know about when trying to find a bar to watch a game. But if you have a look around the tubes, none offer quite that combination.

Until now, that is.

Today, I’m launching a brand new soccer bar endeavor, a Google Maps based project called the WSOTP Soccer Pub Atlas. So far, I’ve kicked off this project by doing a short write-up including all of my requirements above for each of the soccer pubs that I’ve attended over the years. Each has its own placement on a map that can be accessed from any smart phone, tablet or computer. And I’ve added it to the site’s main navigation bar, making it even easier for you to find. Pretty slick, right?

Well, I’ve got just one problem with this task I’m undertaking. I can’t possibly visit every soccer bar in this country, even if I wanted to. And while I’ve got about 10 pubs on the list already, they’re mostly concentrated in the Midwest/Ohio. So — my dear readers — I’m inviting you to help get this project off the ground… the WSOTP Soccer Pub Atlas project will be a crowd-sourced one. All I ask is that you provide a short write-up including the information I mentioned above, and I’ll add it to the list. And hey bar owners, this is a chance for some free advertising if you hadn’t yet noticed!

So, about that map… do you want to have a look at what I’ve started so far?

So if you’re trying to find a spot to watch, take a gander at what we’ve got in store so far. But, even better, if you want to get more fans in to take a match at your local pub, why not share it with us? You might just make another soccer fans day, or at least mine if I’m ever out your way. Which would be awesome.

To submit a bar or pub to the directory, either fill out this form or send me an email. Please be sure to include the following information: Name, Address, If they Open Early, Beer Selection Comment, TV availability (channels/quality), and any other relevant information. See the map for examples.

an interview with the professional soccer pub barristers at the football factory at legends

Despite being the cultural center of our nation, New York City is an inherently very eclectic city. One could ramble on for hours about all of the various intricacies of the metropolis: its hustle and bustle nature, the nightlife, its skyscrapers and sprawl, taxis and subways, the glitz and glam of 5th Avenue, all the shows and performers, a vast array of five-star restaurants… there’s literally too much to talk about.

The Football Factory at Legends

anytime you have the chance to conduct an interview that involves beer, you jump at it.

But the thing I love most about the city is its cultural diversity and the influence it has on the city. Millions have immigrated to the Big Apple from all four corners of the globe, and they’ve all managed to influence the city’s aura and feel by bringing with them their traditions and culture. And as you might imagine, a love for football is something that many of them brought in tow.

For that reason, New York has become the nation’s defacto-soccer capital. A quick walk down the streets of Manhattan will tell you as much: in my three days in the city last week, I saw people wearing the shirts of Napoli, Chelsea, Palmeiras, Arsenal, Barcelona, PSG, UNAM Pumas, Borussia Dortmund among others. Make a short hop across the Hudson River into New Jersey, and you’ll find one of the country’s preeminent soccer stadiums in Red Bull Arena. Pick up games can be found at literally every park in the city at nearly any hour. And it’s long been known that MLS wants to place a second team in the city, and they may resurrect the legendary Cosmos to do so.

But one of the other footy features of the city that can’t be overlooked is its vast array of soccer bars. In my hometown of Cincinnati, there are only two or three bars that consider themselves to be of that vein. But if you’re hoping to watch with a crowd, you better hope it’s a major final or an important US National Team match. New York’s soccer pubs, however, are not only light years ahead of those in the Midwest (apologies to Chicagoans: you do have a few good spots in your town), you actually have a choice on where you get to watch.

One of those options, in my humble opinion at least, stands out from the crowd: The Football Factory at Legends. Located directly across West 33rd Street from the Empire State Building, Legends could generally be classified as an Irish Pub, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. After descending a wrought iron and marble staircase into the basement, you find yourself in a football fan’s paradise. Eighteen HD TV’s hang among a vast collection of flags, scarves, jerseys and pictures from the game, meaning you can watch just about any match so long as you can find a satellite feed or internet stream.

Panoramic of The Football Factory at Legends

this panoramic of the football factory at legends shows why many consider the bar an american soccer mecca (click to enlarge).

And luckily, I was able to arrange a sit down with the man behind The Football Factory, Irishman Jack Keane. Over a steady stream of pints, Jack and I spoke in detail about just how he was able to spawn one of the finest soccer pubs in the land of the free.

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