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Soccer Makes The Globe Spin

By Erik Kinnhammar | Wednesday, December 14, 2011

guys hanging out. Credit: Erik Kinnhammar

Your eyes pop open at 6:00 a.m. It is still dark outside and the rest of your body tells you to return to sleep. You may be hungover, ill, brokenhearted, or unemployed, but none of that matters now: its game day.

The streets are quiet, you slip and curse because it seems that you will not make it before kickoff, and you are telling yourself that there will be plenty of seats because no one is stupid enough to wake up at this time. The door opens into the light. Drinks appear, you settle in, and the whistle blows in a time zone six hours away.

This is The Globe.

The Globe Pub, at 1934 W. Irving Park Rd, is home for a wonderfully diverse crowd who all come together to share their love of the beautiful game. The pub brings people together from all around the world. The difference between the Globe and a “regular sports bar” in America is the focus on European sports, mainly soccer.

“We are open whenever the games are on,” said 47-year-old owner Stuart Johnston. “Anything anyone wants, I try to get.”

It’s almost 6:30 a.m., and the Globe Pub is already packed and alive. A bar filled with supporters raises their heads towards one of the 22 screens when the players enter the field.

Markus Fodstad, 20, a business student from Norway, leans against the bar in one of the most crowded corners.

“It is the best way to wake up,” said Fodstad, and his statement got support from nodding friends. “Unfortunately, we slept a little bit too long today; it was already crowded here on our arrival.”

The Globe Pub. Credit: Erik Kinnhammar

Keith Caldwell, 26, a former professional Major League Soccer player, does not have any problem waking up early to watch games at the Globe Pub.

“Games on early mornings are the best,” said Caldwell. “It is much better than other shitty sport bars.”

Since the Globe Pub opened in September 2004 it has developed into a Mecca for soccer fans in Chicago.

“If you like soccer I do not know where else to go,” said 35-year-old lawyer, Jim Comerford. “I’m terribly in to it and I waste way too much time of my life worrying about it.” “This is a good place to meet like-minded people and talk about soccer.”

The Globe Pub has had a lot of recognition and been voted the best soccer bar in America 2007 and 2008 by fans around the country on the US Soccer Federation homepage. The place was also voted Best Pub Quiz in 2007 and 2008 by Chicago Magazine.

Stuart Johnston developed the concept of the Globe Pub while traveling the world for his earlier job at Andersen Consulting.

“Wherever I went there were always people looking on TV to watch soccer games,” said Johnston. I wanted to convey the Globe as an international bar, where everyone is welcome.”

“14 different countries were playing last Saturday and we had fans from pretty much every country,” said Johnston. “We get fans from everywhere.”

The walls are covered by hundreds of soccer scarves from all around the world and the fans are clapping their hands and chanting in multiple languages.

“This place is wonderful because of all different cultures and what I especially like…is that people show respect to the game,” said Caldwell.

“When the African Cup of Nation started we got all the Taxi drivers to come here watching the games, and they hate it because all they drink is water because they had to go back to work,” said 44-year-old service technician Alun Childs from England and laughed.

Alun and his wife Deborah Childs are regulars and have attended the Globe since the opening in 2004.

“I was here two weeks after the place opened, I have been here ever since,” said Alun Childs. “From the first time we came here…it felt comfortable, like home,” said Deborah Childs. “We didn’t know anybody but very soon we started to meet people …it takes us almost an hour to drive here we come here because this is our home pub, which we love.”

Designer Inis Tipnis, 41, originally from India, has similar feelings towards the Globe Pub.

“This is my second home; I have been coming in since World Cup 2006.”

The Globe Pub attracts a diverse crowd with a mutual passion for the game.

“Soccer joins people together,” said 43-year-old Peruvian banker Joe Sanchez.

According to Johnston, it is not unusual for him to receive requests from visiting customers about opening locations in other cities, but the Scottish owner has other plans for the future.

“I like the people in the Midwest, but I don’t think I will stay here,” said Johnston. “I love scuba diving so what I would dream of is to open up the Globe Pub on Hawaii.”

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