I have gotten to spend most of my life in New York and San Francisco, which I consider to be the two coolest cities in America. (I love New Orleans too, but I can’t move there–I wouldn’t survive six months.) I’ll never really complain about my hometowns (though I’d like to live somewhere with affordable rent–Portland again?–at some point), but I will say that there is one big downside to the bi-coastal lifestyle: Because I love both places so much, whenever I’m in one, I tend to badly miss the other. But there is one place in New York that mitigates my yearning for San Francisco, though, and that is Finnerty’s.
I discovered Finns shortly after I moved to New York in September 2010. My beloved Niners were playing the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints on Monday night, in the second week of the season, and I googled around to find a Bay Area sports bar. One of the cool things about New York is that, because so many people here are from somewhere else, you can always find a bar where the fans of a particular team congregate. (Within two blocks of Finns in the East Village there’s a bar for Boston fans and one for New Orleans fans.) There was a meetup at Finns, and I walked up Second Avenue to 14th Street, where I found a pub full of red and white jerseys, including one worn by Tierney (there’s your shout-out, T), who quickly became one of my best friends in NYC.
The Niners sucked that year–it was the final year of the regrettable Singletary era–and there was never another game that crowded. But that also happened to be the year that the San Francisco Giants went on their Cinderella World Series run. I went to the bar for every single playoff game, and upon the insistence of a bartender named Annie, who by the end of the playoffs had become another one of my best friends in New York, I wore the same shirt, an orange-and-black-flower-print 70’s-style snap-button shirt (it’s as awesome as it sounds) to every game. The night Renteria took Cliff Lee yard, Timmy struck out 10 Rangers, the Beard closed out the World Series, and a standing room only bar went completely fucking insane is one of the five greatest nights of my entire life.
Seriously, if you’re a hardcore sports fan, at some point in your life you should really experience being in a crazy packed bar when your team wins a championship. Nothing tops it.
The funny thing is, as many days and nights as I’ve spent there since, that strike three to Nelson Cruz is actually my last truly great Finnerty’s sports memory. I moved back to San Francisco in September 2011–meaning I’ve lived in the Bay for the entire glorious Harbaugh era, as well as the Giants’ 2012 World Series championship.
But now I’m back in New York, and ridiculously fired up for the Niners and the 2013 season. I can’t wait for this Sunday afternoon, when I’ll be standing in a front of a mirror decorated with a drawing of the Golden Gate Bridge,
watching Tierney lose her shit after every bad break and questionable call, talking Annie into making me mimosas,
and screaming at Patrick Willis to kill everyone on the Packers.
Bless you, football. Bless you, Finnerty’s.
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