Pittsburgh Steelers: Top 5 Steelers Bars in Manhattan
There's a lot more to New York City than an NFL league office that doles out fines and suspensions to Pittsburgh Steelers players just about every week.
You can check out the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, a Broadway show—or a Steelers bar.
On most Sundays, you can't just turn on any TV in Manhattan and find the Steelers game. If the Jets or Giants have a sold-out home game, no other game can be shown in the New York market, even if the other TV network has a doubleheader.
That doesn't mean you have to take "Fuhgeddaboudit" for an answer if you want to watch the Steelers in Manhattan, whether you're a tourist or a transplant from the 'Burgh.
There are plenty of places where no one will look at you funny if you wave your Terrible Towel, and you might even be able to score an Iron City.
I haven't been to every Steelers bar in Manhattan. I'm ranking the five that I've frequented since 2009. I chose them based on their prominence online when searching for Steelers bars in Manhattan as well as word of mouth.
Don't be afraid to hit me up if you feel your favorite Steelers bar should be ranked.
No. 5: Public House
You can't miss the Steelers flag outside the door that marks Public House as a Steelers bar on game days.
Step inside, and you're greeted with a "You're in Steelers Country" banner decorating the front of a balcony in the dining room.
Those Steelers accoutrements are easily removable, however.
There are no fixtures among the Steelers decor, so you'd never know Public House was a Steelers bar if you stopped by on a Tuesday night in June.
Public House is the official spot for The New York City Pittsburgh Steelers Meetup Group. When I've gone, however, I've never seen a Meetup coordinator, and I've never seen any Meetup name tags.
Twice during the 2011 season, Public House hosted private parties on game days. The first time, Steelers fans were limited to the balcony and the back room. The second time, the Steelers "Meetup" wasn't allowed to start until 9 p.m. for an 8:30 game.
Public House is just as much a restaurant as it is a sports bar. It has the best dining atmosphere of any establishment on the list of best Steelers bars in Manhattan. If you want a Steelers bar that's not too loud, this is your place.
However, Steelers fans can't really dominate Public House. If you want to ride the wave of Steeler Nation emotion, there are better places.
140 East 41st St. (between 3rd and Lexington)
New York, NY 10017
No. 4: Blondies
If you go to this Upper West Side Steelers bar, call for a reservation.
Blondies is the only Steelers bar on this list with assigned seating.
The back room is dedicated to the Steelers, with the waitstaff dressed in Steelers gear.
You can hear Steelers anthems such as "Renegade" by Styx and "Black and Yellow" by Wiz Khalifa before the game, but not loud enough to unite the entire bar.
Blondies doesn't crack the top three on this list because, while Steelers fans can revel in black and gold in the back room, the rest of the place is a mix. Even in the "Steelers" room, some of the TVs show other games.
I saw no decor, inside or outside, that indicates this is a Steelers bar, and if the Steelers play at 1 p.m., and the Giants play at 4 p.m., Steelers fans need to give up their seats for the Giants fans who made reservations.
If you're looking for a Steelers bar in the Upper West Side, Blondies is the place to be, but it just doesn't bleed black and gold as much as other Steelers bars in Manhattan.
212 West 79th St. (between Broadway and Amsterdam)
New York, NY 10024
No. 3 Reservoir
Reservoir is the Frenchy Fuqua of Steelers bars in Manhattan. It's got some character.
Don't be surprised to hear acappella versions of "Here We Go, Steelers" and "Renegade," not spun by a DJ, but from the throats of Steelers fans.
This Steelers watering hole in the midst of New York University territory attracts the most eclectic mix of Steelers fans in Manhattan.
When I went, the guy sitting next to me had a Rollie Fingers mustache, and the dude at the end of the bar had Elvis Costello glasses.
While Reservoir could use a flag or a banner outside to indicate it's a Steelers bar, there's plenty of permanent Steelers paraphernalia inside.
There might be a few TVs on other games. When the Steelers played the Cardinals in a 4:05 p.m. game in 2011, the staff assumed the game was at 4:15 and wasn't going to switch the TVs to the Steelers until then.
Were it not for an alert Steelers fan (me) telling them the game was at 4:05, we might have missed Ryan Clark's interception two minutes into the game. That really would have been too bad, considering how rare Steelers takeaways were in the first half of 2011.
Reservoir manages to take care of Giants and Jets fans while still being a wall-to-wall Steelers bar.
70 University Place (between 10th and 11th St.)
New York, NY 10003
No. 2: Hibernia
If you love Dick, this is the place for you.
I'm talking about Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
The first time LeBeau appears on the screen during Steelers games, the crowd at Hibernia chants "We Love Dick! We Love Dick!"
The black-and-gold-clad clientele also honors the football ritual of holding up four fingers in unison at the start of the fourth quarter.
You can start soaking in the Steelers experience before the game by ordering an Iron City, and the DJ at this Hell's Kitchen hangout plays the "Steelers Polka" just before kickoff (and according to Hibernia's website, the DJ has expanded the Pittsburgh play list since I was there in 2009).
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl chose Hibernia to watch a Thursday night Steelers game when he visited Manhattan in 2009.
If every Steelers game were played on a Thursday night, Hibernia would top this list, because unlike the one Manhattan Steelers bar ranked ahead of it, Hibernia remains all Steelers, all the time on Thursdays without making concessions to the let's-start-our-weekend-early Thursday crowd.
It's hard to limit Steelers fans to one part of the bar, anyway, with that giant Terrible Towel that blankets one of the walls.
Too bad it doesn't cover that Packers pennant. That little piece of enemy contraband, and the lack of outside Steelers signage, are Hibernia's only blemishes as a Steelers bar.
401 West 50th St. (between 9th and 10th)
New York, NY 10019
No. 1: Irish Exit
If the staff at Irish Exit is reading this, the DJ might be busting out Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow" to celebrate the unveiling of Irish Exit as the No. 1 Steelers bar in Manhattan (according to me).
The DJ blasts the full Steelers anthology here, including "Renegade" by Styx, "Steelers Polka" and "Here We Go, Steelers."
The DJ even plays the opening drum solo of Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" right before kickoff, just like at Heinz Field.
During Super Bowl XLV, Cee Lo Green's "Forget You" was played every time the Packers scored, and the Irish Exit patrons replaced "forget" with another word that starts with "F."
Steelers fans at this Midtown East spot are greeted by a menacing Steelers inflatable at the entrance, and there's plenty of Steelers fixtures inside. To complete the Pittsburgh ambiance, you can order an Iron City and a pirogi. You also can enter a raffle for a signed Steelers jersey or even tickets to a Steelers home game.
I was a little disappointed when the Steelers game audio was limited to the back room for the Steelers' only Thursday-night game in 2011, with the DJ up front catering to the nightlife (even though there was plenty of black and gold blended in with the early weekenders).
On a typical game day, however, Irish Exit devotes every square foot to Steelers fans.
Even in the heart of Manhattan, there wasn't a thread of Jets green to be found during the 2010 AFC championship game.
978 2nd Ave. (between 51st and 52nd)
New York, NY 10022