Fleet Street Pub is notoriously known as the home of the Nashville Gooners and Arsenal watch parties. Owner Glenn Henderson, however, wants it to be known that his pub is a haven for all soccer hooligans.
It actually used to be that way, before the underground location was cloaked in scarfs from various Arsenal chapters across the nation. Premier League fans of all teams would come in during various hours of the match days to enjoy a pint or English pub grub like fish and chips.
“This was the Tottenham pub, the Chelsea Pub. Liverpool people, Everton people have come in. At some point, the Arsenal crowd just got so big, that the others just wanted their own place,” said Henderson.
Modeled after a pub Henderson visited in Sheffield, England, he decided to bring the pub tradition to Nashville. The name comes from London’s Fleet Street, where one of the original newspapers was printed on in the early 1700’s. Fitting for a place to be named that on Printer’s Alley, home of Nashville’s first published newspaper as well.
“The pub scene is everything in the United Kingdom. It’s not a well-known concept here in the U.S.A. It’s not just a bar, or a restaurant, it’s both. I’ve had people say, ‘I can’t tell if it’s a restaurant or a bar.’ In my mind, that’s exactly what I want. We have great food, but we also have amazing English beer. We’ve gone to great lengths to dig up this information, so we can serve up all these delicious food and drinks,” said Henderson.
Of course, Henderson knew he had to start showing the Premier League, the most popular league in England and the United Kingdom. That concept was already in the back of his mind.
“We knew, as soon as we were going to do an English pub, that we were going to have football on at all times. But it wasn’t popular in Nashville. When we first opened, there was only one placed that showed the games, and it was in Brentwood,” said Henderson.
“Now, for Arsenal games, we’re always open. If the game is at 6:05 a.m., we’ll be here at 5:30 a.m. We did that for all the teams for the first couple of years.”
Since opening, the Premier League has exploded in popularity due to it’s ability to reach the world through social media and the television contract NBC has with it in America. With that, his crowds have gotten bigger during match day. It’s sometimes hard to get a seat when there’s a big Arsenal game on.
But Henderson’s main goal is always to be a pub where soccer fans of all teams can come to unite and cheer on their squads. This, of course, includes Nashville SC. He’s expecting and hoping that fans of the local team will frequent his pub when they have a match that day. Considering the team will play at First Tennessee Park the first few years, it’s not too hard to imagine fans making that short walk.
“We expect to be a pub for the local team as well,” said Henderson.
“Mayor (Megan) Barry probably had as much to do with it as anyone, and I don’t think you can give enough credit to the ownership group. That’s a great group of business guys. Soccer is a big deal now. If (Nashville SC) comes in and they start to win, then they’re going to fill that place up.”