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Best Of Chicago

A Safe Haven Bar For Soccer Fans

August 18, 2011 6:00 AM

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(credit: www.theglobepub.com)

The Globe Pub

1934 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 871-3757
Mon-Fri, Sun 11am-2am
Sat 11am-3am
www.theglobepub.com

Soccer doesn’t have an easy go of things in the canon of American sports, and it’s perhaps even truer for soccer in Chicago. Despite having its own professional team in the MLS, The Chicago Fire, the sport struggles for network visibility, audience and sponsorship dollars. It might be due to the fact that soccer in a city like Chicago—often called the most American of big cities or even more superlative, “The Great American City”—is perceived as distinctly foreign.

It might be due to the fact that the smash-cut attention span of most sports fans doesn’t jibe with the low scoring, sometimes slow developing play of soccer. What do we want? 90-point games? When do we want them? In 12 minute quarters! Or, perhaps we can blame the fact that Chicago’s marquee sports teams are named after fierce animals—The Bulls, The Bears—and its soccer team is named after a 19th century disaster that almost wiped out the city. Whichever explanation works, finding a safe haven for like-minded soccer fans in a city awash with sports bars devoted to every sport but soccer is like finding that proverbial needle in the haystack.

With so few options to fans, it makes sense that the Globe Pub in the city’s North Center neighborhood enjoys such enthusiasm from the sport’s faithful. The Globe Pub might offer a place for soccer fans to congregate, but unlike other bars that hold themselves out as devotees, The Globe really means it.

pub3 A Safe Haven Bar For Soccer Fans

(credit: theglobepub.com)

There’s a TV screen for just about any game being played or re-played around the world, but that’s not atypical of sports bars, so let’s start with the decor. As soon as you walk in, it should be pretty easy to tell what sport everyone is excited about. Jerseys, posters and most notably, scarves, are everywhere. The scarf as emblem of team support started at the turn of the 20th century with English soccer teams. The rough weather gave way to the scarf so that fans could stay warm while rooting for their team. Scarves from World Cups, memorable match-ups and teams from around the world line the walls, most brought in by the Globe Pub’s staff and patrons.

It’s not unusual during a big tournament—like the World Cup, the Olympics, Gold Cup or UEFA Cup—that you hear a dozen different languages and even more accents in one space. The bar tends to draw out the expat crowd, creating a veritable melting pot of sports fans, and something that is very traditionally “Chicago.” Rivalries are healthy but good-natured, and it’s the best place to hang out if you want to learn all the words to a team’s chant.

The Globe Pub may also be the one place in the city you can call someone a “Gooner” and have them hug you, not punch you (If you identify as a Hotspur, you probably will get punched after all).

pub1 A Safe Haven Bar For Soccer Fans

(credit: theglobepub.com)

The food and drinks are pretty standard pub fare, though the establishment’s European tradition means they make a better fish and chips or bangers and mash than most wannabe “English” pubs on the block. Pints are filled to the brim and sloshed with excitement at every goal scored, and the live-wire excitement of seeing a match in person is pretty accurately transmitted into the bar by the fans who come decked out in their team’s kit.

Yet, even if the walls were stripped bare, the food was junk and games were watched on rear-tube projecting standard definition TVs, the Globe Pub would still be the best soccer bar in the city. It keeps the best matches on the schedule, it sets up viewing parties, fan buses for the Chicago Fire (who play in south suburban Bridgeview) and it fosters a fantastic community among soccer fans. Perhaps best of all though, it gives us a place to call our own.

Kim Bellware is a writer, producer and print maker living in Ukrainian Village. Her non-writerly pursuits involve soccer, perfecting Spanish tapas recipes and spending more time seemingly fixing her bike than she does actually riding it.
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