By Scott Etkin
Soccer fans on the UWS who used to head to The Parlour, the Irish pub on 86th Street between Broadway and West End Avenue, can now return to the same address to watch their favorite teams. What they’ll find in its place, Crossbar, is a unique soccer-themed space that caters to both kids and adults.
Zak Rubin, the owner of Crossbar, describes it as a “community space” for soccer. It has a café and retail store on the ground floor, which are open now, and a mini field for kids downstairs, which is still under construction.
The retail store, Upper90, sells soccer jerseys, cleats, and other gear. The merchandise that was in the Upper90 shop on the corner of 86th and Broadway (now closed) was transferred into the new space overnight. Mr. Rubin was one of the founders of Upper90, which first opened in 2009 on 94th and Amsterdam.
The café will serve beer and wine, “but it isn’t a typical sports bar focus,” said Mr. Rubin. On the counter sits a large espresso machine and there are bagels from H&H, coffee from Devoción, the specialty Colombian roaster, and baked good from Colson Patisserie in Brooklyn. By the end of the month, they will be serving all three meals. The Executive Chef, Mike Hudson, used to be Chef Operator at Dig, the company behind the Dig Inn chain of restaurants. There will also be a kid’s menu, as well as gluten-free and vegan options.
In the basement will be a mini soccer field, ideal for 4- and 5-year-olds. It should be ready around May 1.
As a native Upper West Sider, Mr. Rubin has seen the rise in popularity of soccer in the neighborhood over the years. He played in the West Side Soccer League’s first season in 1987. Back then, it was around 100 kids in Riverside Park, he said. Now, several thousand players participate in several seasons per year. The Manhattan Soccer Club youth league also has a big presence on the UWS.
Crossbar’s opening coincides with an important year in soccer: The U.S. recently qualified for the World Cup, which takes place in November and December. Mr. Rubin said he plans to host trivia nights and comedy nights in the space – you can follow Crossbar on Instagram for updates – and he expects it will be popular for private events, like birthday parties.
“Soccer on the Upper West Side has come a long way,” said Mr. Rubin. “But I think it still needs and wants and will be very receptive to a community space where you can experience different facets of the game.”