At the beginning of September, I decided to move to New York City, all the way from the small town of Beaufort, South Carolina. For the last 23 years of my life, I have been living in the Charleston/Beaufort area, and since the age of about 13, I have been a die-hard, live-and-breathe Jacksonville Jaguars fan. And of course, when I moved to New York, I packed my Jaguars jerseys and my excitement for the upcoming season. Despite all these new beginnings and adventures in this big city, my love for the jaguars would never change. In a city filled with Jets and Giants, I found a small section of the city that, for 3–4 hours every week on game day, oozes with black and gold.
It was a rainy Sunday morning—perfect weather for Jacksonville Jaguar football—but I was about 1,000 miles away from TIAA Bank Field. I had the option of watching the game in my closet in a New York apartment on my computer, but that’s not fun. Or I could have wondered around the city trying to find a sports bar that not only had the Jaguars game on but maybe even had the sound on for the game. All of these options sounded like the worst idea ever. That was when I came up with such a genius and clever idea that even I was surprised my brain worked this well. This city has 8.446 million people. There have to be some Jaguar fans in this melting pot of a city. So I pulled out my phone and googled "Jacksonville Jaguars fans in NYC". And lo and behold, the first website brought me to the New York City Chapter of the Bold City Brigade. This was the fan club of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and they met at St. Pat’s Bar & Grill. This was a stroke of good fortune, and great things are to come. I put my Jaguars jersey on, my lucky hat on, and my trusty rain jacket on, and I rode the train all the way to midtown for the game.
I arrived at about 12:45 for a 1:00 kickoff, thinking to get there a little early and grab a seat at the bar. Boy was I wrong. Before I even walked into the bar, I could hear the cheering, chants, and excitement of all the fans inside. As I walked in, every single person in the bar had on some Jaguars apparel and seemed to be the happiest for a season opener since the 2018 season. There was not a single seat in the house available, and I definitely wasn’t leaving to go home. I felt as if I were at a game, or as close as I could be living so far away from the actual game. They had four good-sized TVs behind the bar, and every single one had the glorious Jaguars game on, with sound! Not one had redzone on or anything. Everyone in the bar cared about one thing, and it was the coolest experience I have had for a game while not being at the actual game.
I went up to the bar, ordered a shock top, came with a hefty, nice slice of orange, and stood behind to watch the game and cheer on the team with the rest of the passionate fans at the bar. I quickly noticed the people who ran the Instagram account sitting at the bar and went up and thanked them for putting this together and making me feel welcomed and loved. I met many people talking to them during commercial breaks because, while the game was on, everyone was glued and focused on the TV. The first person I met was wearing a sweet black Trevor Lawrence jersey, and while I don’t remember his name, his macaroons that were Jaguar-themed were absolutely delicious. I met another guy from Ponte Vedra Beach who told me this was the busiest he had seen the bar in a while. He had been coming here for years and said there used to be just a couple people watching the game, and he is happy that it has grown to this level of excitement.
Along with the friendly and passionate people I met, there were game chants and celebrations that occurred all afternoon long. Every first down, and I mean every first down, the chant was led by the macaron man, and he said "That’s another Jacksonville Jaguars first down" and the rest of the crowd responded with "Move those chains, move those chains, move those chains, hooooh!". And of course, after every touchdown and turnover, the duuuuuuuvallll sound echoed throughout midtown Manhattan. Shots were passed around after every touchdown or turnover, which only raised the level of excitement and passion in the bar. Finally, at the end of the game, the entire bar erupted in cheers as if we were at an actual game. Everyone was high-fiving each other and celebrating, as a win in the NFL always feels good.
As I left the bar, I was tired from standing for 3 hours straight, but my level of excitement and hope for the upcoming season counteracted that so quickly. I had found a group of people that were so familiar in a city that often felt overwhelming and different. I didn’t know a single person in the bar, but that didn’t matter. I felt at home and a part of something, and I could not be more excited for this upcoming season. If you are a Jaguars fan living in New York or just visiting, be sure to stop by St. Pat’s Bar & Grill for the game because, trust me, the Jaguars roar is very loud in this concrete jungle.