The National Football League (NFL) has all kinds of fans in the United States. NFL-affiliated sports bars dedicated to broadcasting a specific team’s games can be explored by Santa Monica College (SMC) students and Santa Monica residents as a form of leisure entertainment.
A special sports bar in Santa Monica is O’Brien’s Irish Pub. It is located at 2226 Wilshire Blvd, a little more than a mile and a half from the main SMC campus. The owner, Willy O’Sullivan, 63, opened his sports bar 27 years ago.
At first, O’Brien’s was affiliated with the Cleveland Browns, but it was something O’Sullivan didn’t like. “It wasn’t that fun being a Browns bar because they hadn’t won in so long that their followers were wiped out.”
To revive the energy in his bar, O’Sullivan decided to make a decision that would change his life and business for years to come. In 2009, O’Brien’s began an association with the New York Football Giants. Not wanting to kick his Browns fans out because of the risk, O’Sullivan decided to host both Giants and Browns games.
As a couple of years went by, the large number of Giants fans that came to O’Briens overwhelmed O’Sullivan to the point where he decided to become an exclusively Giants bar.
The choice paid off, because in the same year the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2012 against the New England Patriots. O’Sullivan remembers Super Bowl day as a once in a lifetime, but also hectic experience.
“In my memory we were absolutely and completely overcrowded. We opened at 11 a.m. that morning and closed at 11:15 p.m., “O’Sullivan said.
Although the Giants haven’t hoisted nearly another Lombardi trophy since that magical run in 2012, fans still come out to show their support for the team and O’Briens.
One fan who continues to come to O’Brien’s for every Giants game is 66-year-old Judy Henninger. Henninger is originally from New York, moved to Santa Monica in 1998 and is still based there. In search of a place to connect with other Giants fans, she found out about O’Brien’s through Meetup, an online service that connects people through personal interests. Henninger has been the patron of O’Brien’s for 10 years and is looking forward to more fans who will be there on match days.
“Be sure to come to O’Brien’s because they usually have a really good audience. Most say you will be among Giants fans and feel at home, ”said Henninger.
It’s safe to say that O’Brien’s will continue to be home to Giants fans for years to come.