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Letter From America: The Celts In New York

The Parlour bar, home of the New York CSC

Andrew Doran’s ‘Letter From America’ continues with a visit to the Celtic Supporters Club in New York.

There are Celtic fans all around the world. Many fans look to Twitter, Facebook, apps, podcasts, or blogs like this in order to get their Celtic fix. In order to watch games, some use illegal streams, other’s, like myself, use Celtic TV, and some people go to Celtic Supporter Clubs around the world.

The largest collection of Celtic Supporter Clubs (also known as CSC) are based in the United States. Officially, there are 23 clubs in the US, locations range from New York all the way to Hawaii.

I had the pleasure to talk to two different people who have experience with CSC bars: Alex McDermott, a connoisseur of CSCs around the world, and Brian McIntyre, the President of the New York CSC bar, which was just recently rated as the top soccer bar in New York City.

When talking with Alex, I was able to understand what CSC bars meant to her and to many others. Alex told me, “You are with people that are like minded, mostly likely share the same religion, and have the same values as you. And you are all yelling at the TV rooting on Celtic.”

To me, it makes sense why American’s are so interested in going to CSC bars in order to root on the Hoops. You are able to connect with others, create a sense of community, and sense of belonging with others.

The members of the New York CSC

That’s one aspect that Alex loved when she ended up moving to Los Angeles from Sydney, Australia. She was able to find the CSC bar in LA and started to get to know some of the regulars that would show up for the game. It also has worked out for her when she travels around the US. She told me a story about going to the New York CSC at The Parlour and how she was greeted with enthusiasm, even though she had never been to that bar before. Brian McIntyre introduced himself and made her feel welcome. Alex loved how big the bar actually was and the fact it was full of Celtic supporters, all wearing their hoops and yelling on the Bhoys.

Even though Brian has been in New York City for over 20 years, he is still a die-hard Celt supporter. Hailing originally from Glasgow, he now lives in New York City. He became a member of the New York CSC bar over 20 years ago and became the President of the club during the 2012/2013 season.

The New York CSC celebrate outside The Parlour bar

He and the club have one goal: “We want to make sure that all the visitors, wherever they come from around the world, feel welcome, happy, and have a great experience.”

In addition to The Parlour bar being a staple within the Celtic community in New York, they were just named the best soccer bar in all of New York City. Brian told me about how they had Andrea Pirlo, who plays for New York City FC nowadays, come to the bar and present the award at the bar.

Said Brian, “It was a great experience having him here and for us to receive the award. It just shows that we are doing the right thing at this bar.” Brian and his executive team, which he called his support and driving force on getting stuff done, still keep true to the Celtic mantra on charity for the area around them. Brian was proud, and rightly so, that the NYCSC collects and donate every year for different charities in the local community.

This year, it was the fallen first responders for the New York Police Department. Brain agreed with Alex that CSC are important in connecting with one another. “People come here have a sense of family, enjoyment, and values. It’s one of the best things I’ve been a part of.”

So, if you are living in the United States, or find yourself visiting and know that Celtic are going to be playing, take it from Alex and Brian to find a CSC bar to enjoy the game. Even though you might be thousands of miles away from Parkhead, just know that each CSC bar has a little piece of Paradise in it.

Thanks to Brian McIntyre for the photos of the bar. You can follow the NYCSC on Twitter here and Alex McDermott on Twitter here. You can like the NYCSC on Facebook here.