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SOCCER FAN CLUBS - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


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SOCCER FAN CLUBS

A Big Day For East Village Soccer Fans


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NevSmith 1Grace Maalouf Tomorrow’s UEFA Champion’s League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United is certain to intensify the rivalries among the East Village’s European soccer fans. Above, Manchester United fans take in a match at Nevada Smith’s earlier this year. Below: Barcelona memorabilia at Nevada’s.
Neveda Smith'sKenan Christiansen

Saturday will be a big day in the East Village, which, as you may have noticed, has a lot of Europeans living in it, visiting it, and — East Village merchants say Thank You! — spending a lot of much-needed money in it.

Tomorrow afternoon, however, many of those Europeans will be passionately engaged in watching the UEFA Champion’s League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United, which starts at 2:45 p.m. and is being shown live on Fox. (Not Fox’s soccer channel, but its main channel — i.e., the one that shows “American Idol.”) However, expect many of them to be watching in bars and restaurants around the East Village and Lower East Side, including Nevada Smith’s, The Central Bar, etc. As will be plenty of other New Yorkers from around the world, including a healthy dose of native New Yorkers.

Now for the match itself. What have we got?
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Your Voices | Nevada Smiths


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NevSmith 2Grace Maalouf Soccer fans watch multiple live games on a recent Saturday morning at Nevada Smiths, an East Village institution where fans are split over the dismissal of several employees last fall.

Our recent post on how patrons have responded to recent staffing changes at Nevada Smiths generated a wide range of feedback about the landmark soccer bar.

Jon criticized the atmosphere at the bar:

“Nevada Smiths, a dump from day one. A big souless barn of a place with poor ale to boot. got away with it for years, when the choice of bars was limited.”

Mozza wrote in defense of Nevadas:

“Nevada’s could be criticised for a number of things but being soulless wasn’t one of them. In fact the first thing that struck you when you walked in the door was that, if nothing else, the place had character and atmosphere.”

Chinatownbranch agreed:

“Quality ale and a big fry up, the two crucial ingredients that go miles towards creating atmosphere in a pub before 10am in the morning. The whole point of Nevada’s Jon was that it had a banging atmosphere.”

Chinatownbranch continued:

“If you havent been for years and you spent all your time in another pub what would you know, and why would you bother commenting?”



Join the conversation: Soccer fans, what’s your take on the changes at Nevadas?


Changes at Pub Divide Soccer Fans


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NevSmith 1Grace Maalouf Manchester United fans Leigh Mazzagetti and Marc McDermott watch a game at Nevada Smiths. The fallout from the departures of three longtime staffers caused several major soccer-team supporters’ clubs to leave the pub, which is something of an institution for local soccer fans.
Mercat 2Grace Maalouf FC Barcelona fans watch their team play at Village restaurant Mercat. The Barcelona fan club moved their headquarters to the Catalan dinner spot after several staffers left Nevada Smiths.

For a bar whose motto is “Where football is religion,” Nevada Smiths could be said to have suffered something of a Great Schism last year. As some sports fans (and East Village residents) may already be aware, two longtime staff members were fired in the spring and a third left in September.

In addition, Thomas McCarthy, a co-owner of the bar, sold his shares to his partner and uncle and left the business. Although none of the people who parted as a result of the disputes would offer details, the fallout was serious enough to cause several major soccer-team supporters’ clubs to leave Nevada’s.

Patrick McCarthy, now the sole proprietor of the bar, said the flight of some fans hurt but added that business now is good — and he’s looking to make changes at the Third Avenue mainstay.

A colorful renovation may be in store for the trademark black awning, more rugby will be included in the viewing schedules and new food and drink offerings are in the works. Mr. McCarthy said he plans to innovate by adding coffee and shepherd’s pie to the beer-heavy menu.

As for evergreen rumors about the bar changing locations, Mr. McCarthy said he knows “for a fact” that won’t happen.

“There will always be a Nevada Smiths as long as I’m in New York City,” he said, adding that he’s even hoping to open one on the West Side. After experiencing controversy over the recent firings (it was, he said, like being “kicked in the head”) Mr. McCarthy said he is finished with drama.

“I’ve moved on,” he said.
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