I've now seen two Steelers games on US soil in one season, a feat I have not matched in 8 years. And the irony of the fact is that both of them involved the Ravens.
I watched the first Ravens game with friends of mine (Ravens fans) back in Maryland. I'd been longing to see a game at my beloved Purple Goose, but that was not to be, as the Goose is no longer the Goose -- its now a Raven's roost.
The return bout against the Ravens saw me in San Francisco. Thank God for the Internet, as finding a place to see the game was not hard. The Post-Gazette's website listed a number of places in San Francisco, and three within walking distance. I cannot say anything about the others, but for those who find themselves in a similar situation, I whole heartedly recommend Shanghai Kelly's.
Shanghai Kelly's is a small corner bar on Polk and Broadway in San Francisco's Nob Hill. If you go purely on image, San Francisco and Steelers fans would not seem to mix, so I must admit I was a tad bit skeptical as to what I would find.
I must admit, that I am pleased to announce that my skepticism was missed placed.
"Release the Hounds! Release the Hounds!"
The place is small, but its packed. When I found it, I saw a crowd overflowing out the door. Although part of that was because people were indulging their nicotine habits, the simple fact is that the place was packed.
I arrived just in time to see the Raven's final field goal, and stayed through the entire second half.
The place is adorned with all kinds of Steelers and Pittsburgh memorabilia, from Iron City bottles, to a Blitzbergh sign.
Most importantly, the fans were first class. As you'd expect, they were friendly, totally were totally committed the the Black and Gold, and understood the game and the team (which is to say, Bruce Arians is not popular in that bar.)
They didn't play the Western Pennsylvania polka, which my soul longed to hear, and I failed to the "Chew tobacco, Chew tobacco, spit, spit, spit, if you ain't a Steelers fan you and sh_t" going.
But let me tell you, these people have come up with something new, at least for me.
As soon as the defense got into position, a cry would sally forth from the bar, and resonate back through the rest of the place. Its quite simple:
"Release the Hounds! Release the Hounds."
It was infectious. I loved it.
It perfectly describes what the the Steelers defense does to opposing quarterbacks. Its seeks them, it finds, them, it destroys them.
So if you find yourselves in San Francisco and need to see the Steelers game. Shanghai Kelly's is the place to go. One bit of advice.
Get there early.
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