Some people go to Blue Haven East, a sports bar near Midtown, is so religious during football season that they call it a church. One regular even bathed her baby there.
If you are worried about Omicron, this is probably not the place for you. Every Sunday, the bar is so packed that even those with a reserved table don’t have a seat. Amidst the tall stacked tables with towers of Budweiser cans, customers chanted wildly for their teams, and some danced on top of the bar and sang songs. “New York Groove” and “New York, New York” were crowd favorites.
The woman presiding over the madness is Abby Dowd, the master bartender and assistant general manager. Every Sunday, she spends hours circling the bar, refilling drinks, greeting regulars by their names and rocking the crowd with props. “My work is almost a success,” she said. “People expect that energy to be high every Sunday here, and I have to work to make it happen.”
Ms. Dowd, 31, lives in the Murray Hill neighborhood, two blocks from the bar, with her boyfriend, Tate Simpkins, 28, who works for a media company.
PREPARATION BEFORE SHOWING I don’t have to work until noon, so I usually wake up around 9 or 9:30 and lie in bed for an extra half hour, staring at the ceiling and thinking about how I’m going to get through the day. Once I start working, I have to be 100% in my game, whether I feel good or bad, up or down. People expect that from me, and I want to make it happen. I have to prepare myself mentally.
BAGS REPAIR When I drag myself out of bed, I’ll exercise or go get a bagel Bagel Express 3. Their bagels are thick, and they come out so warm and melt in my mouth.
Jet fuel On my way to work, I stopped at a neighborhood cafe called Wattle. I go every Saturday and Sunday, so I know people who work there. My coffee order is jet fuel in preparation for the mayhem. I get an iced latte with an espresso or two.
CHANGE TO ACTION Our bar is crowded every week. We fully take reservations for Sunday tables by Wednesday at the latest, sometimes before that. It started because of Covid, really; We put up screens outside, and people on the sidewalks could watch the fun. They all want to participate.
Football games start around 1pm; there was a large number of people arriving at the same time. So I try to get to the bar around midday and make sure everything is set up, the reservation is ready, and the tables have the correct number of seats.
SERVER WITH MEGAPHONE At half-time of the first match, around 2:30, the bar was quite active. During this time I was serving drinks, commuting between tables and the bar. For Christmas, a group of girls who come every Sunday send us five loudspeakers as a gift. It’s a blessing and a curse for everyone because I love me so much. I would go for a walk with a tray of beer and glasses, and I would sit on it and say, “Sorry, excuse me.”
BANG THE BUCKET Our tradition is that as soon as a New York team scores a head-to-head, we play “New York Groove”. People loved it so much that we started playing it in the knockouts, even though the Jets or the Giants didn’t participate. My job is to get the crowd going, and that usually involves me grabbing a crate that we’re going to put Bud Lights or cutters in, grabbing a bottle opener, and literally smashing this crate. black.
LINE BLURRED By 8:30, when the shift was over, my legs were aching, tired and ready to go home. Sometimes I would leave the Irish house by the side door, but other days it was easy to get caught up in the drinking. I know almost every crew that comes regularly; blurred lines between patrons and friends at this point. So it was easy to go to Patrick’s table and have a drink with them and then go to Lindsey’s table and have a drink with them. Before I knew it, I was still there.
BURRITO BOWL This is a shame because I live in the greatest city in the world that has more food options than anywhere else in the world, but every Sunday all I want is Chipotle. I get a burrito bowl, the same thing every time. However, I got there quite late, to the point that they often ran out of light salsa, and the extent of my disappointment when that happened was phenomenal. However, this Sunday ritual is something I cannot give up.
READY FOR THE WEEKEND When I returned home, I was still in higher condition all day. Even when I try to relax, everything is very noisy. I don’t go to bed until 11:30 or 12, but luckily I can sleep the next day. It’s funny, but Monday is my weekend, and sometimes I’m so exhausted that Monday morning I can’t move.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Abby Dowd on Instagram at @bluehaven_East.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/04/nyregion/sports-bar-nyc.html How a sports bar manager spends her Sunday