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City's Steelers and Packers Fans Find a Manhattan Home

By Patrick Hedlund | February 5, 2011 11:33am | Updated on February 6, 2011 11:02am

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — While New Yorkers are still smarting over the Jets' latest conference championship loss, plenty of Steelers and Packers fans living in the city will be roaring when the two teams meet in Sunday's Super Bowl.

Both teams are known for having fans spread across the country, but on Sunday die-hards will line up at a pair of West Side bars that have become go-to spots for backers of both teams.

For Pittsburgh fans, home base is Hibernia Bar at West 50th Street and Ninth Avenue, which has hosted Steeler Nation since opening in 2008.

"I imagine by noon we'll have a crowd," said Hibernia co-owner Mark Tafoya, who expects devotees to "tailgate" a good seven hours before kickoff.

"I feel like we get these Steelers fans in over and over again for a reason," he added, noting that a few bartenders who came to work there recruited some Pittsburgh fans from their former bar to watch at Hibernia. "They try other bars, and they always come back."

While there are plenty of other places to find the Steelers faithful on Sunday — the website steelersbars.com lists more than a dozen across Manhattan — Green Bay supporters point to just one bar as their mecca for all things green and gold.

Kettle of Fish on Christopher Street in the West Village has become New York's official Packers bar, thanks in part to its Wisconsin-bred owner.

"Outside of Lambeau Field, Kettle of Fish is the best place to watch the game," said owner Patrick Daley, who's worked as a bartender there since 1983 and took over as owner in 1998.

Daley, who also has a share of the community-owned team, is originally from suburban Milwaukee but 30 years ago "came here on vacation and never left."

The popularity of his cozy pub means that "season-ticket holders" — those who have watched at least half the team's 16 regular-season games there — get first preference for the Super Bowl.

That should come in handy Sunday, when Daley said the line will start forming in the early afternoon.

Once inside, patrons are treated to a taste of their homeland, with Wisconsin cheddar cheese and summer sausage served free of charge.

On game days, Daley himself grills up Usinger's bratwurst sent in weekly from Milwaukee — and he's not hard to miss.

"I'm the one with the aneurysms from my veins popping out of my head," he joked.

Hibernia also features hometown favorites — Pittsburgh-brewed Iron City beer, and Primanti Bros.-style sandwiches topped with coleslaw and French fries — as well as a Steelers-themed soundtrack.

"It's very intense," Tafoya said of the atmosphere during games. "I would say 80 percent of them have some sort of Steeler tattoo."

Hibernia's popularity has also made getting in on game day a tough ticket, and fans who have been going there all season get first priority for the Super Bowl.

The bar is charging $25 per person on Sunday, but the price of admission includes a T-shirt, drink and a shot at prizes during the halftime raffle, Tafoya said.

He's optimistic for the outcome, if only because he fears what will happen if the team falters.

"When you have a bar full of angry Steelers fans, it always makes me nervous," he said. "It's definitely something that's become their life."

Regardless, expect to see the streets awash in both teams' colors this weekend.