By Mario Citriniti:
Living in Buffalo hasn't been exactly nirvana for soccer fans, while pubs all over the world are constantly showing soccer games on TV, here we are mostly stuck with watching the 122nd baseball game, sometimes between 2 teams that are 30 games out of first place.
Well, finally we have a choice.... It's called Més Que!!!
It opened up just before the European Cup and it has been a great success (see history
). And since "Futbol" season is here again, after the Champions League and the month long hysteria over the European Cup, we are all full of excitement again for the upcoming season because we have a great place to watch the games.
What makes Més Que unique is the fact you can feel the passion of everyone watching the soccer games there.
Here is a synopsis: Football is associated with passion, emotion, excitement and dedication across the globe. References to extreme emotional experiences at football games characterizes all aspects of discussions with fans -- some referring to the 'pure joy' and exhilaration of being at football games. Such is the intensity of the experience that two thirds of fans have cried at football matches -- mostly through joy, but occasionally because of despair. Football provides for many fans an opportunity to let themselves go emotionally -- to release the frustrations of everyday life.
Watching games in Europe and the rest of the world is like a ritual, research revealed that while there are differences between countries in the way fans express their emotions and behaviour, we ultimately all speak one language, the language of football.
That's what makes Més Que unique in Western New York. People are not there for the coffee or to use their laptop, they are there because they love their team. Having played soccer all my life I obviously share the passion for the sport and I am delighted that there is a place dedicated to showing all the games. Here you make "football" friends!!!
'Football friends' are different from friends in other areas of life. Something special is shared and exchanged by them. The football team is also a 'friend' to many fans. Over half of all fans feel that being a fan of the team is like having a long-term girlfriend/boyfriend.
Perhaps more surprising, however, is the fact that over three quarters of all fans say that they have hugged or kissed total strangers at a football match. German fans, perhaps to the surprise of some, are the most overtly emotional in this sense. Being a football fan is inextricably tied to ideas of history and tradition, as well as to notions of national and regional identity. This can be strongly tied to a sense of political, regional or ethnic identity, and God knows all the different national and cultural backgrounds in Buffalo.
On a broader national level, football becomes a metaphor for national identity and a way for old national rivalries to be played out symbolically on the pitch. In international competitions, the most notable of which is, of course, the World Cup, national identity is of key significance, and that's when everyone's national pride becomes most evident.
Beer has historically been the predominant drink consumed at football games and at rituals surrounding football, and is the primary social lubricant among men engaging as football fans. I personally prefer wine to beer, enter Més Que again...a great wine selection!
It should be noted that Més Que's wine selection is up to par to some of the best wine bars anywhere, not so much quantity but quality, and that's coming from someone who also shares a passion for wine. Their patio is fully operable and their food selection is now excellent. All sandwiches are made on premises. The service is also remarkable especially during soccer matches considering the amount of people being served. Josh, the bar manager does a great job of overseeing the staff and the friendly service.
While there are strong rivalries between fans at local and national levels, the striking feature is the high degree to which football unites people from varied backgrounds across the whole of Western New York, and undoubtedly beyond.
So bring on the "televised Football Universe" to Buffalo, from the Serie A to the BPL, from the Liga to the Bundesliga, from the MSL to eventually the World Cup in 2 years, we finally have a great place to watch soccer and one of the most authentic, coziest bar/restaurant anywhere. Finally you can feel the pulse just like in Europe.
Ultimately, Més Que might be defined as a football bar, but judging from the outpour of support even when games are not on, I believe it's "more than" just a soccer bar.
Photo of fans taken during Gold Medal Olympic match between USA and Japan.