UPPER EAST SIDE — For many Seattle fans living in the Big Apple, Carlow East on Lexington Avenue is the only place to be on game days. There, surrounded by Seahawks' flags, cutouts of the Space Needle and fellow 12th Men, fans can cheer Russell Wilson til they're blue — and green — in the face.
“It started small and each year it grew and grew, but this year, it’s just been beyond belief,” said owner Sean Spratt of the bar’s Seahawks' crowd. “It’s like St. Patrick’s Day every Sunday in here.”
After tickets to Carlow East’s Super Bowl Party sold out almost instantly, Spratt had to call in some reinforcements for the big game.
He partnered with McSwiggans on Second Avenue and East 23rd Street and O’Flanagan's on First Avenue and East 66th Street to make sure that no fans were left in the lurch. All three establishments are offering the same deal: $100 for all-you-can-eat-and-drink from 6 p.m. to midnight.
“For the last six years, these guys have been coming loyally to watch the games so we wanted to make sure that no one got shut out this Sunday,” said Kevin Tracy, the owner of McSwiggans who also bartends at Carlow East on Sunday nights.
The bars have even gone so far as to re-christen themselves for Superbowl Sunday. Banners outside proclaim the Carlow East the "Hawk’s Nest East" and McSwiggans the "Hawk’s Nest South."
The relationship between Carlow East, an unassuming looking Irish pub at East 85th Street, and New York City’s Seahawks’ fans began six years ago.
“There was small group of transplants from Seattle looking for a new place to watch the games,” Spratt said. “They were going someplace downtown that wouldn’t let them have sound on and they were unhappy.”
Carlow East’s Sunday night bartender reached out to them through social media and a partnership was born.
The Seahawks group has since grown from a handful of loyal fans to a standing-room only crowd on game days. Tracy said that when people can’t get in, they stand outside and watch the game through the bar’s large front windows.
“It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The cheering is so loud the floor shakes,” he said. “I’ve never been to Seattle, but I imagine anyone who is visiting from there would feel right at home.”
In fact, many Seattleites who are in town for the Super Bowl this week have made the trek to Carlow East, where they are encouraged to sign a good luck poster sporting an image of the hawk.
Friends Ted Macomber and Carl Pierce stopped in for a drink after everyone from other Hawk’s fans on the plane to the concierge at their hotel said it was a must-see.
“To come to New York City and see all of this Seattle stuff — I mean, people sometimes call Seattle Southern Alaska — so to come all the way here and see this is pretty amazing,” Macomber said.
The Seattle fans at Carlow East have even managed to convert a few locals.
New Yorker Mike Rosa has been coming to the bar for years and said the Seahawks contingent has really taken over, but he doesn’t mind.
“We enjoy it,” he said. “I normally root for the Jets, but I’ve adopted the Seattle Seahawks as my other team.”
Tickets for Carlow East and McSwiggans are sold out. O'Flanagans still has some tickets available.