The Soccer Tavern located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn is easy to miss, tucked into what is known as Brooklyn’s 8th Avenue Chinatown. The bar’s regular customers are a unique mix – including Irish, Chinese, Puerto Ricans and Scandinavians – representing waves of immigrants that have transformed the neighborhood over many decades.
Listen to the voices of Soccer Tavern in this audio postcard:
Read Angela’s reporter’s notebook:
I first visited the Soccer Tavern years ago and thought it strange that an Irish bar existed in Chinatown. Only years later did I discover that Brooklyn’s 8th Avenue had a rich history with immigrants from Norway, Italy, Finland, and other parts of Europe settling in the area. In fact, 8th Avenue was once known as Lapskaus Boulevard, named after a popular Norwegian meal. A Norwegian owner opened the Soccer Tavern during Prohibition in 1929 as a speakeasy.
The current owner, Brendan Farley, an Irish man who immigrated to New York in the 1980s credits the success and longevity of the tavern to the bar patrons, but as I have heard from those who go to the bar, it is actually Brendan who makes the effort to make the regulars and the new immigrant groups feel welcome. It is the type of bar where everyone knows everyone and if your new in no time short you will feel at home. What helps the melding of ethnicities and ages is the Dart League, which the Soccer Tavern is a part of. There are several teams broken up into skill levels. It is here where the Chinese and younger bar-goers have been able to really forge a community with the old-timers of the Soccer Tavern.
Fi2W is featuring stories by students in the Feet in 2 Worlds journalism course at The New School.
Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation.