By MONICA BYERS
NEW YORK – The first thing to say is that the title of this series of posts is probably the last time you will here me refer to this sport as “soccer.” Having lived in Europe for five years, I just can’t refer to the “beautiful game” by that name – it hurts my ears and my soul. Now that we have that out of the way…….
With the European football season winding down and Euro 2012 approaching, now seems like a good time to recap the best football bars we’ve found in NYC. Hopefully, this will be a good guide for transplants, visitors and locals alike to look for a pub in which they can drown their sorrows or (if you’re lucky) celebrate their teams’ triumphs. First up: The Football Factory at Legends.
I will skip my rant about the confusion over the name of this place (I’m still not sure if it’s Legends, The Football Factory, The Football Factory at Legends, or all three) and cut right to the chase: is this a good football bar?
The answer is yes and no. It’s “yes” in the sense that the operators of this bar fulfill the basic requirement of a football bar: being open for most (if not all) of the fixtures. Sounds simple, but lots of so-called “football pubs” fall down on this one. Opening at 7:30 am to show, for instance, the MK Dons take on Huddersfield Town in the League 1 Playoff Semi-Final is not a guarantee of massive amounts of bar revenue. It’s not exactly Manchester United vs. Manchester City. That said, I did notice that there are other early-morning fixtures for which they are not open – so it’s not 100% commitment, though better than most. Plus, the food is actually pretty good here (definitely try the Kobe Sliders if you’re a meat eater).
The answer is “no” in the sense that….well….the place is just too darned big and corporate-feeling. Good football pubs have an intimacy about them – they’re places where you can see everyone who’s there and feel a sense of connection, even if you never speak to them. The Football Factory is on three levels, with its main level being both a bar and a good-sized restaurant. It reminds me of some of the chain pubs in the UK (the dreaded Wetherspoon’s, for instance). Further, the bar staff – while friendly and competent – appear to have no connection whatsoever to the sport. A no-no in my book.
Still, if you’re a visitor to New York and fancy a bit of football, you could do worse.
How does it rate as a football bar? 6 on a 10-point scale.
Where is it? 6 W. 33rd Street, New York City
For more from Monica, follow her on Twitter at @MonicaJuniel.
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