Check this out: A game-day buffet of wings, sausage and pasta. Lotsa TVs. Seattle-area microbrew on tap. Wall-to-wall Seahawks gear and fans.
Sounds like a great place to watch Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, but if you’re interested, better hop a plane soon.
This is Manhattan’s Carlow East — some 2,500 miles east of CenturyLink Field, as the Seahawk flies.
“My dream was to help create something like this, but we never thought it could be this awesome,” said Coupeville native Brian Roundy, whose yearslong search for a place to watch Seahawks games among fellow fans helped create this Hawks home-away-from-home.
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What began as an experiment has turned into an institution.
Carlow East, an Irish pub on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, doesn’t claim to be the only Hawks hangout on the Eastern Seaboard. But it has become known to Seahawks fans on both coasts, boasting more than 2,500 friends on Facebook.
“It started small, through some tough seasons for the Seahawks, but it’s really taken off, especially this year,” said regular patron Zach Jump, 30, who grew up in Tenino and now lives in New York.
Last Saturday, while Marshawn Lynch was triggering tremors under Seattle in the victory over the New Orleans Saints, a Carlow East capacity crowd of 150+ was giving the Big Apple a shake, roaring its approval of every play that broke the Seahawks’ way.
The bar was a must-visit for some Seattle fans who traveled to New York for the Seahawks-Giants last month.
And many more are expected if Seattle wins Sunday, landing a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2.
At the epicenter of this Seahawks frenzy is bartender Patrick Shalvoy, who has never lived outside New York state — and has only been to Seattle once — but who contracted a serious case of Seahawks fever from the fans he accommodates.
“I’m hooked for life,” said Shalvoy, whose only regret is that Seahawks game days are so busy, he doesn’t get to see much of the football game.
It wasn’t always like this.
Roundy, 30, public-relations manager for a video-game company, recalls a lonely search for a Hawk-friendly venue when he moved to New York in 2006.
“A lot of people in New York are from someplace else. So you can find Viking bars, Steeler bars and whatever. I scoured the Internet message boards looking for a Seahawks bar.”
The best he could find: A dedicated but small group of Seattle-area expats who watched Seahawks games on a single screen, with hit-or-miss sound, tucked away in the back of a bar.
For the next few years, the group tried other locations, but none clicked. One was more brunch spot than sports bar. Another seemed to be having financial troubles.
Roundy and his friends created a Facebook group, Seahawks Fans of New York, putting out word of their search.
That’s what caught the attention in 2009 of Shalvoy at Carlow East. He met with Roundy, Jump and another transplanted Hawks fan, Scott Iwata of Bellevue, to get something going.
No one was sure what they could promise, in terms of patrons or service, Roundy said. The team’s 5-11 record in 2009 didn’t exactly send streams of fans through the door.
But gradually, word spread, the team improved and Carlow East solidified its reputation as a place Seattle visitors could feel at home (during Mariners seasons as well).
New York-based Seahawks fans, in turn, have helped raise money for Toys For Tots, a charity the pub supports. At a tailgate session before the Giants game (which Seattle won 23-0) proceeds went to Toys for Tots.
When the conference championships games are played Sunday, a packed house at Carlow East is a certainly. The only question is how early fans will arrive.
Jump said he and his friends will likely claim their seats four hours before the Seahawks-49ers game, because many fans will arrive in time to see the earlier Denver-New England AFC game.
On one wall of Carlow East, a large poster signed by Seahawks fans is an indicator of the place’s Seattle credentials.
And if Sunday’s game turns out the way these fans hope, a lot of new names could be added.
Jack Broom: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-2222