We here at The Survey don’t know much about British football culture. We’ve seen it firsthand in London, and we’re honestly a little put off by the male/female ratio of the thing, which hovers somewhere around the 100:1 level. Hordes of intoxicated, damp men (it always seems to be raining in London) pack into pubs to watch their favorite teams play to one-one ties. The games are long and, in most cases, painstakingly boring. Americans need sports with some points, thus our lukewarm acceptance of hockey. The Manchester Pub is set up for the enjoyment of Europe’s pastime, and as such is a little strange. The space itself is packed with crap. It reminds us, somehow, of John Nash’s shack in A Beautiful Mind–there’s just stuff covering every surface of the place. We seem to recall chicken wire and football memorabilia and all sorts of other stuff utterly pressing down on our heads. Then there’s the bi-leveled seating, for optimal sports viewing. That’s actually a nice touch for those of us who are sick of trying to stare through some stork’s head while our favorite Manchester United player has a break away. The odd part is the railing around those tables, which is either for pulling yourself up onto the platform, or stopping you from drunkenly tumbling onto your head after Beckham curls one around the left goalpost. There weren’t any games on the night we were there, so it wasn’t possible to gauge the audience for this kind of thing, but we imagine with a city filled with European immigrants, this place could be popular during gametime. Despite not giving two shits about professional soccer, this joint has an inviting air about it, has tons of beer on tap and attentive and eye-pleasing help. It might get a little claustrophobic if it filled to capacity, but certainly had enough personal flair and character to warrant a return trip to check out what the hell these crazy Brits love so much about a two hour game the elicits less scoring than an asthmatic, red haired sixteen year old boy. [MF]
920 2nd Ave.