These can be lonely times for an Orioles fan in New York City.
But just like the team they love, Orioles fans always find a way. Orioles fans enisled on Manhattan have started flocking to the Horsebox, a two-and-a-half year old bar on Avenue A in the East Village.
"I was born in Baltimore, grew up in Annapolis," said The Horsebox's owner David Pettebone. "And my partner, Noel Foley, who's from Carlow, Ireland, fell in love with the Orioles, too. We always have on our O's caps behind the bar."
Patrons, some of them Marylanders attending New York University, took notice. And word started getting around. (I heard about it from Regi's owner Alan Morstein, whose son, Ryan, watched the Orioles win the play-in game on Friday night.)
"The customers made it an Orioles bar," Pettebone said. Fans started bringing in memorabilia. A signed photograph of Cal Ripken, taken on the night he broke the consecutive-game streak, hangs on the wall.
The Horsebox has no mission or theme, which makes it stand out from the crowd in the 21st-century East Village. "It's not like it used to be," Pettebone said. "It's one of the neighborhood's few bars that's just a bar." (From the website: "The bartenders know your name, know your drink, know the score of the ballgame, know the subways and the weather, and know how to make you laugh..." Sounds to me like a great Baltimore bar.)
"We try to keep it open to everybody, " Pettebone said. "At night the average age is 25 to 35, but lots of old-school Yankee fans come here during the day. We're always busting chops with them."
If an Orioles fan does show up at the Horsebox on Sunday night, he won't find Pettebone - he was down in Baltimore on Sunday, with tickets for the series opener. "I'm blinded by happiness," said Pettebone, who comes down for about 15 games a year.
Orioles fans won't find Natty Boh at The Horsebox, either. Pettebone said he can't get the sentimental suds up in New York City.
The Horsebox is at 218 Avenue A in the East Village. For information call 646-370-1791 or go to www.thehorseboxnyc.com
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