Volume 23, Number 5 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 11 - 17, 2010
Downtown bars gearing up for world’s biggest sporting event
BY Joseph Rearick
The entire world is gearing up for its most popular sporting event, the World Cup, and Lower Manhattan’s bar scene is no exception. Hoping to attract the tabs of thousands of international and homebred fans, several Downtown bars and restaurants are making special preparations for the coming matches, fostering an environment of soccer enthusiasm.
Noel McDermott and his partner Ronan Towns, owners of Beckett’s Restaurant of 81 Pearl Street, plan to adapt their sports bar for maximum capacity during the anxiously awaited tournament. In response to the anticipated demand for seating, they have installed two 46-inch televisions for supporters seated outside in addition to the dozens of televisions already available to fans.
“We will be packed,” McDermott said. “We are more or less the only sports bar in the area. And we’re showing all the games.”
As is as often the case with World Cups, this tournament’s games will be played in a vastly different time zone, causing odd broadcasting schedules in the United States. In 2002,the host country was South Korea, and in order to watch live games, fans here had to wake up as early as 3:30 in the morning to watch the USA team play.
This year, there will be a six-hour time difference. Games played at 1:30 p.m. in South Africa will be broadcasted here at 7:30 a.m. So are the bars going to open extra early for those games?
“Yes,” said McDermott, “We are open for those early seven o’clock games.”
Just down the street, Ulysses’ Folk House is also getting ready to serve the Downtown area’s soccer devotees. Mike Rosaly, the bar’s manager, hopes to stir up excitement by offering a series of specials on everything from pilsner to paraphernalia.
“We’re offering beer specials on select days throughout the World Cup,” he said, “and giveaways from beer companies” including shirts and key-chains.
Will the Irish-themed bar be supporting the American squad in lieu of Ireland, which did not qualify for this year’s Cup?
“Not really,” said Rosaly. “We’ve got a lot of English and Australian regulars.”
Perhaps the most dramatic World Cup preparation is the literal transformation of South Street Seaport’s Red Restaurant into Puma City, a promotional venue sponsored by the sneaker company of the same name. Bearing the tagline “Football by day, parties by night,” Puma City will include an outdoor Jumbotron, a “Puma Social Club” for dancing, and a 30-by-70 foot soccer field available to the public. Ridgely Trufant, who manages Red, said her staff was “extremely excited” for the venture with Puma.
“This is a change, so it’s all kind of new and mysterious,” she said. “But we hope and anticipate it will be quite a party.” With Puma City’s festivities slated to run for the month-long extent of the Cup, how could it not be?