The clanking of beers, hearty laughs and a soccer match on every television screen; the familiar sounds of Fado Irish Pub located in Midtown Atlanta and Buckhead transport pub-goers to that of a local pub across the pond. A waitress walks by with a plate of freshly made fish n’ chips as fans gather young and old, proudly sporting their favorite player’s jersey to cheer on their home country in the UEFA European Championship.
With delicious food, an inviting atmosphere and passionate fan camaraderie, Fado offers an authentic British pub experience unlike any other sports bar in Atlanta — the accent included.
Fado is known for supporting English Premier League soccer teams, primarily Manchester United in its Midtown location and Liverpool in its Buckhead location. Despite its Irish name, Fado is a big England supporters pub, with a large fan base of first and second-generation English people who love to come cheer on The Three Lions.
On Friday, June 18, a 150 year-old rivalry between England and Scotland left Fado a house divided as passionate fans from both sides brought their all to cheer on their teams in a crucial match of the Euros. Grown men in kilts ordering a pint of Guinness at the bar amongst a sea of white England jerseys makes you blink twice about being in the heart of Atlanta.
Outside of being the oldest international rivalry in soccer, this particular England .v Scotland game is significant because Scotland hasn’t made a major appearance on the international soccer stage in 23 years. Scotland had lost their previous game in embarrassing fashion to the Czech Republic, so this game had to be a win or a draw if the Scots hoped to have any chance of making it out of the group stage of the Euros.
This was a big game for England as well because it was being played at home in Wembley Stadium in London, and England was deemed the “favorite” of the match, meaning they were expected to outperform Scotland, especially after their previous 1-0 win against Croatia.
In addition, the last time England played Scotland was in the 1996 Euros, when “cult-icon” England player Paul Gascoigne helped secure a dramatic 2-0 win, which had England fans celebrating in the streets and now excited as ever for another victory in 2021.
Just like how Fado was a soccer madhouse in Atlanta, thousands of Scottish and English fans flooded the pubs of London to watch the high-stakes match. Fans arrived at Fado hours in advance to sit down at a table because of how busy it gets. All three floors of Fado’s Buckhead location were packed, with many fans opting to stand in groups, beer in hand, to watch the game.
Despite the hype, the game itself was disappointingly uneventful on both sides and ended in a 0-0 draw. The Scots defended well and the English had some half-chances, but the game overall didn’t bring out the best playing of both sides as fans had hoped. While England was a bit down in the dumps, the Scots celebrated the draw almost like a win as a way of making fun of the English.
Even if a soccer game doesn’t turn out the way fans wanted, watching a game at Fado is eventful in itself and well worth the visit. Watching a soccer game at a pub can make instant friends out of strangers just by supporting the same team.
In the UK, the neighborhood pub gives people a sense of community, and living in the United States can leave some feeling disconnected from their culture and homeland. Fado is a place where fans of all ages and backgrounds, British or not, can come together in a welcoming environment that feels like home.