The Globe Pub Brings Soccer World to Chicago

By Cassandra Bowman, Andrew Fleury and Jillian Wolande

Roaring fans sit at the front while cheering on the Blackhawks as they sip their Carlsberg beer surrounded by the sound of five other televisions playing a soccer game from half way across the world. This is a typical scenario at The Globe Pub, a soccer bar located at 1934 W. Irving Park Road.

The Globe Pub can have people that live two blocks away and someone who lives 1,000 miles away sitting at its bar.

The Globe Pub regulars are both American and from various countries, according to Aubrey Miller, The Globe Pub manager.

“You can see the whole crowd speaking different languages,” Patrick Stanton said, a Globe Pub employee.

The Globe Pub makes sure it plays most, if not all, soccer games from around the world. While the pub caters to soccer fans, it also televises American sports.

It was the only bar to play the African Cup Nations, according to Stuart Johnston, The Globe Pub owner. The bar not only supports global soccer, but it also is the official bar of the Chicago Fire.

When The Globe Pub opened its doors in September 2004, it was a one-room bar with four televisions that had only one window that measured 3 ft. by 6 ft. Stuart Johnston, The Globe Pub’s owner, recalled the night before opening the bar before a major a soccer game, the kick-off of the English league.

“We were up all night wiring the TVs and finished a half-hour before kick-off,” Johnston said. “People were coming in and there were still ladders up.”

Johnston, a former accountant born in the west coast of Scotland, always knew he wanted to open a bar or a dive shop.

“So the retirement plan is a bar or a dive shop in the Caribbean somewhere,” Johnston said.
Johnston wanted a neighborhood bar feel and wanted his employees to make people feel at home. He looked for happy bartenders and waitresses to fill his pub. Johnston also knew the bar’s niche was going to be a soccer bar.

“Although soccer is niche, you can’t survive on one thing alone. It was tough the first year for Johnston to create new ideas for the pub, Johnston explained, but he learned and experimented with new ideas.”

Johnston experimented with different theme nights for the week. The first experiment was doing a quiz night that was run by one of its regulars. It was voted best pub quiz in the city in 2007 and 2008 by Chicago Magazine.

Stuart Johnston, the owner of The Globe Pub, with friends. (Photo by Cassandra Bowman)

Today, The Globe Pub has theme nights every week that include Comedy Night, open-mic acoustic night, live bands on Fridays, and a DJ on Saturday. “Stinky Fingers”, Rolling Stones cover band plays there most often.
Chris Costello, a Globe regular, hosts Wednesday’s acoustic night. Costello lives just two blocks away from The Globe Pub and hosted his 40th birthday there.

The pub is separated into two sections. The front part of the bar has windows that open up to a patio. The Globe Pub added a back bar, new booths, and 25 new televisions. It added a new martini list as well that is all Globe Pub-themed.

The pub also offers 20 beers on draft and at least 200 bottled beers from around the world. The Globe Pub was the No. 1 seller of Carlsberg beer in the world, according to pub officials.

The Globe Pub has generated fans from across the world including, David Beckham and Rod Stewart. It was voted best Soccer bar in 2008 by usssoccer.com according to Johnston. Fans donated the scarves that cover the wall from front to back over the years Johnston recalled. Before the scarves there were mirrors and beer signs.

Since The Globe Pub is the official bar to the Chicago Fire, it makes sure its fans can get to the game. For every home game, the Globe has at least one bus that takes Fire fans to the games there and back for $20 a ride that includes free beer. The Globe had the owner in last month for a live Q&A session.

Patrick Stanton, a recent DePaul graduate, hasn’t missed a Chicago Fire game in five years. After Stanton lost his job, Stuart offered him a job at The Globe in October 2009 and he still works there today.

Stanton believes The Globe Pub has been instrumental in helping fill the Chicago Fire’s Toyota Park stadium. When Toyota Park opened, there was that big question on how they were going to get there he recalled.

The Globe Pub started off using school buses to the games, and now it has upgraded to coach buses. At least half the fans that started going on the bus four years ago still go to every game recalled Stanton. The rides are boisterous, loud, and passionate he recalled. The Chicago Fire fans who can’t make it to the game often go to The Globe.

“[It] gets just as passionate as if you were there,” Stanton said.

The main event at The Globe Pub this summer is the World Cup. The Globe staff was very excited about the World cup that goes on for one month starting June 11. This year will be RSVP only because The Globe Pub wants to be able to have all their regulars here. Aubrey Miller, The Globe Pub for four years, expects the bar to be over capacity at 11 a.m., the first game starts at 1:45 p.m. the first day.

The Globe Pub staff created a special food menu so it will be easy for people to eat standing up because of the large crowd. The pub will be airing every single game on its 25 screens throughout the bar.

“The World Cup is going to be a zoo,” Johnston said.

The Globe Pub has a book launch that will kickoff the night before the World Cup on June 10. It is a coffee table book of photographs of different soccer fans from The Globe Pub.

Most of The Globe Pub’s patrons are its regular customers, or “the regulars”. There are a lot of very loyal customers according to Miller.

“It’s the regulars that make this place,” Johnston said.

There are people that come to The Globe three to five times a week.

“They are like The Globe family, like our extended family,” Miller said, “They are the heart of the bar.”

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