Steelers bars everywhere play a vital role in allowing fans to unite in support of their team and carry on the traditions of Steelers Nation. With Steelers fans living around the world, it's no wonder Steelers bars are able to recreate an in-stadium atmosphere while watching the game in an establishment that can be hundreds or thousands of miles away from the game day action.
Sunday afternoon, a pair of Steelers bars that are frequented by Steelers fans and featured on SteelersNationUnite.com, the website for the team's official loyalty program, had fans in attendance who were proud to talk about how they do game day.
Chris Vlahos, the owner of Barefoot Bernie's Tropical Grill & Bar in Kitty Hawk, NC, connected with Steelers Nation Unite and talked about how Steelers Nation unites in the Carolinas.
"We've been open for about 10 years now. I've been a huge Steelers fan all of my life, ever since I was a little kid. My mom said the Steelers would never put food on the table, but sure enough it has because we have a huge turnout for Steelers games," Vlahos said laughing. "We have a blast. We have a little pregame for the games when everybody gets there. The Towels are waving, everybody is excited, a lot of Here We Go's and lots of fun."
When there aren't games, Vlahos says it's commonplace to see fans come in wearing their black & gold, even if just for fun on vacation.
"Even though we're a summer resort, we get so many folks from Pittsburgh who come down. You drive around and there are so many Steelers license plates. In the summertime, it gets packed. Even the preseason games or when there's not even a game, people will come in with their Steelers jerseys on. We'll acknowledge it and have a good time with them. It's really a neat feeling," he explained.
Another popular bar had a number of patrons and fans at Heinz Field Sunday, as a group from Harold's Corral in Cave Creek, AZ was proudly carrying around their banner and happy to let everyone know that while Sunday's opponent called Arizona home, Steelers fans at Harold's do their best to make it feel like Pittsburgh.
"Being a Steelers fan from Arizona is really nice because we're able to go to Harold's Corral and celebrate with Steelers fans from everywhere really. It feels like a home game there," said Nacole Baize, a Phoenix native who was at the game with her friend Sabrina Padula. "The energy is amazing. It really is. It's awesome."
Fans and Steelers Nation Unite members enjoyed in-stadium experiences and a thrilling game as the Steelers came from behind to defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 25-13, on October 18, 2015.
They brought that energy with them to the game, too, as other fans from Harold's were part of a pregame video on the Daks board that recognizes fans for traveling to Heinz Field from all over the world. Chanting "Here We Go, Steelers, Here We Go!" along with fans from Florida, New York and England, it was a great start to what turned into a very exciting day for Steelers fans everywhere.
The crew watching at Harold's Corral even got in on the action, as a video of fans celebrating the game there was featured on the social media pages for Steelers Nation Unite and generated buzz from fans all across the Nation.
As Vlahos, Baize and Padula all attested to, it's the recognition and connection Steelers Nation Unite provides that makes being a fan around the country even better.
"We've got a lot of fans coming in and we're turning them onto it," Vlahos said about Barefoot Bernie's. "We've been posting pictures and things like that. They're excited about taking the photos and videos in the bar. It's really helped all those fans get together. It's been really awesome."
Padula seconded that notion.
"You're able to stay connected across the country with other fans," she said. "It's really neat and it's very easy."
Join Steelers Nation Unite today for free at www.SteelersNationUnite.com and find out how there's ways for fans all around the world to stay connected to their team and to each other.