The Beltway Blues were featured in this great article by Luis Gonzalez on the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire website. Below you’ll find an excerpt, but click HERE to read the complete article on sfhwire.com.
There aren’t many seats available, and they fill up quickly. Still, people don’t turn away from Lucky Bar. The bar’s customers are content to stand. It’s 2:45 p.m. on a Wednesday, and it is practically impossible to walk around.
There are other bars like Lucky Bar around the country, where Americans’ passion for soccer brews.
New York, Seattle, Austin, Dallas and other cities all have bars, usually Irish pubs, where clubs – some formal, some not – gather to share in their passion for Europe’s top soccer leagues: the English Premiere League, the Spanish La Liga and the continental tournament Champions League.
In the Washington area, pubs like Lucky Bar, including the Elephant and Castle, Ireland’s Four Courts and the Irish Channel host supporters’ clubs for teams such as Spanish teams Barcelona and Real Madrid and English clubs such as Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal.
Week in and week out, supporters gather at unconventional hours to devote their total attention to games being played thousands of miles away. There are no side conversations, no email, no Facebook or Snapchat. They chant, curse, scream, cringe and drink – just as fans in the stadium do.
Many think Major League Soccer and teams such as D.C. United aren’t yet deserving of the passion devoted to overseas clubs, but they are hopeful for the future.
“I’ve gone to other cities, traveling and whatnot, and every bar has its kind of own community and family,” said Lynn Feldmann, 28, who is part of D.C.’s Chelsea supporters group, the Beltway Blues. “They all have their own little quirks, little leaders, little chants.”
Feldmann, a federal contractor, developed her affinity for soccer through her youth team coach Charlie Cooke, a former Chelsea and Scotland player in the 1960s and 1970s, who ran a soccer school in Ohio.
She doesn’t play anymore, but she rarely misses a game and being at Ireland’s Four Courts is almost non-negotiable. Only a major snow storm like the one in late January keeps her from the bar.
“I hated it so much,” Feldmann said. “It’s so much bigger than being at home. It’s easy to stay at home. It means you don’t have to shower … but it’s the community, it’s that atmosphere.”
Read the rest of the story HERE at sfhwire.com.