I’m not 100% sure why I got an email from Fado Irish Pub here in Austin, inviting me to a pre-Euros “footie blogger” event, presumably for my old Aztexan blog. But in any case I went, and was given free stuff in a transparent attempt to get me to plug their establishment online.
So here I go!
Honestly, Fado isn’t usually my first choice of soccer pub lately. Between having to deal with downtown parking (a serious phobia of mine) and eats & drinks not exactly being the cheapest, I just wound up picking other establishments. And I’m not the only one — American Outlaws Austin recently changed to Cuatro’s as their home pub.
Great pitch they bought from me so far, eh?
But here’s the thing. Those couple of Guinnesses and appetizers, that little bag of swag (a small Guinness glass, some coupons, a spiffy Germany tee from Who Are Ya Designs, a (nasty) British candy bar, a bag of (nasty) Irish bacon-flavored potato chips (sorry, crisps), and a couple of coupons), well, all that stuff worked. They lured me back to Fado, and they made me think about what’s good there.
Here’s what’s good there.
First, they’re no longer the only game in town (which is fantastic in that it represents continued growth & demand from soccer fans), but they did used to be the only game in town. Back in the day (as they say), I drove down to Fado plenty of times to catch Liverpool games that kicked off at 7:00 AM local time on a Sunday (parking was easy that time of day, at least). Who else was open at that time, willing to serve those fans? Nobody else that I knew of.
Second, they’re no longer the only game in town (yes, I repeated that on purpose). Part of the reason they reached out to us is that they realize there’s some competition for soccer fan dollars. The very nice woman who spoke to us mentioned both Cuatro’s and Black Sheep Lodge, and was very interested to learn that Lion & Rose is also an Official U.S. Soccer Bar. She also said there would be specials during the Euros that would help relieve some strain on the wallet. But the point is: they do value soccer fans, and they do realize that they can’t take us for granted. Props to them for that.
Lastly, they are right downtown. (That’s the Holy Grail for new soccer-specific stadiums, so it must be worth something for a bar, right?) It is kind of a two-edged sword. On the bad side, the live music they have some nights for their “normal” downtown & walk-up customers occasionally interferes with soccer watching. But on the good side, there’s exposure of the sport to those same “normal” downtown & walk-up customers at other times. It’s a balance.
The bottom line is, the more soccer-friendly pubs in town, the better. So, yay for Fado! (And yay for all of their competitors, too!)
P.S. One aspect of this Euros-pushing gambit that bugged me a little was the total lack of anything to do with Austin’s new Aztex PDL team. On a certain level, the whole Euro 2012 marketing push is pretty much the definition of Eurosnobbery. But now I’m happy to see that’s been corrected, with an event featuring Aztex players and season ticket prizes.