Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=214904
Story Retrieval Date: 9/19/2014 8:48:23 AM CST

Top Stories
Features
NINERS_Cheesies_Bar_1

Di Dinnis/MEDILL

A man watches an ESPN Super Bowl preview at Cheesie's Pub and Grub in Lakeview, a 49ers backer bar.


Don't worry, displaced Niners fans in Chicago: You have a home this weekend

by Di Dinnis
Jan 31, 2013


NINERS_Cheesies_Bar_2

Di Dinnis/MEDILL

Fans immediately know they are in a San Francisco 49ers bar when they walk into Cheesie's Pub and Grub in Lakeview.


Di Dinnis/MEDILL

Are you from the East Coast and want to watch the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday? The Fizz Bar and Grill in Lakeview is where many Ravens fans will be gathered this weekend. Watch the video.


Where to go

Cheesie's Pub and Grub

958 W. Belmont Ave.

Chicago

773-388-1574

 

The Globe Pub

1934 W. Irving Park Road

Chicago

773-871-3757

 

The Fizz Bar and Grill

3220 N. Lincoln Ave.

Chicago

773-348-6088


Have you moved to the Windy City and are desperately trying to find someone who understands your undying love for Bay Area football? If you’re a displaced San Francisco 49ers fan, you don’t have to be lonely for the Super Bowl on Sunday.

BackerBar.com exists to inform displaced and out-of-town NFL and NCAA fans what bars are showing the games.

“A backer bar is a bar that caters to your team,” said Brian Folmer, BackerBar.com founder.

“You may be hundreds of miles from where the team actually plays, but when you go to these bars there are devoted fans like you,” said Folmer.

“It just gives you that homey feeling. You know how when you're sitting at a bar and all the sudden you have something in common like the same city or school? You just get that instant connection with someone.”

Folmer said his website strives for accuracy. Unless a bar’s Facebook page is blatantly affiliated with a team, Folmer confirms with all bar owners that they do affiliate with a certain team before they get added to his site.

One of these backer bars is Cheesie’s Pub and Grub in Lakeview.

“I left it up to my bar manager Chance Lydick,” said Chris Johnston, Cheesie’s owner, when speaking about deciding which NFL team to back.

Lydick is a big Niners fan.

“I said pick a team that doesn’t have a lot of bars around here,” Johnston said.

Lydick picked the Niners, which is evident by the signs and banners in the restaurant.

Johnston, who grew up in California, said he wrote a book report on Joe Montana and Jerry Rice in high school, and is happy to back the Niners.

He said they have about 40-50 people a game for the regular season and have had about 100 for the playoffs.

Cheesie’s isn’t the only Niners bar in Chicago though. Billy Scherba, who moved to Chicago to pursue a master’s degree at DePaul University, says he feels a connection to the Bay Area by watching the games at The Globe Pub in North Center.

“It's really fun because the same group of people come every week and I've actually made a lot of really good friends going to the bar,” Scherba said.

“We sit together every Sunday and we have similar qualities because we're from the Bay Area and love the same teams.”

Scherba said that most of the people who come to The Globe find out about the 49ers affiliation through Yelp, but he does his fair share of promotion, too.

“I wear my 49ers clothing whenever possible and people approach me about it,” he said.

“They go 'oh, a 49ers fan!' Or when I see someone else wearing 49ers gear, I strike a conversation with them and mention what a great time I had at The Globe and I promote it. I've seen a lot of people come out through that.”

Scherba was in Italy when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010.

“One of the hardest things is to be out of town when your team is thriving, because you want to also be with people who are enjoying the success of your team,” Scherba said.

He says he doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on the excitement of the Super Bowl this year.

The bar is open to 49ers fans who aren’t from San Francisco, as well. Josh Nelson, who was born in Texas, grew up in Green Bay and now lives in Chicago, is a big Niners fan.

“My mom was in love with Joe Montana, so I grew up with the 49ers,” said Nelson.

“When you’re six, seven, eight years old, it’s easy to become a 49ers fan,” he said speaking of Montana’s success in the 1980s.

Nelson recommends that people get to The Globe at least two hours early on Super Bowl Sunday and that it will be a great time.

“It’s weird to hug a stranger that you’ve never met, but the fact that you’re both wearing 49ers jerseys makes it kinda normal.”