Where Die-Hard Chicago and Cleveland Fans Watch the World Series in L.A.
Sports! Kielbasa and potential Charlie Sheen sightings.
It's the showdown of the century that's had millions of people glued to their TVs. No, we're not talking about the election (for once), but the 2016 World Series. That's right, sports!
Neither team in this year's series has won the coveted title in almost 70 years; the Cleveland Indians' last win was in 1948, and the Chicago Cubs' was in 1908 (!). But if you think this fact has discouraged fans of either team, you'd be sorely mistaken. In fact, team loyalty is as strong as ever, even when fans are thousands of miles away.
For Los Angeles transplants, there are two establishments that have become the homes-away-from-home for Chicago and Cleveland natives: Rush Street in Culver City (for Cubs fans) and Saint Felix in Hollywood (for Cleveland fans).
"You'd be surprised at how packed it is," James, a manager at Rush Street, told Pret-a-Reporter of the Cubs fans' turnout for the first few games of the series. "We were packed to the brim," he added, "but there were only four Cleveland fans in the whole place."
Considering the restaurant itself was named after Rush Street in Chicago (where the owner originally hails from), it should come as no surprise that Cubs fans in Los Angeles have turned out in droves to enjoy their team's long-awaited success alongside their comrades. Cubs fans are a special breed, after all — back in Chicago, some patrons are shelling out as much as $1,000 to reserve a seat to watch a game — at a bar.
Rush Street, which prides itself on its warm, Chi-town atmosphere with brick-walled interior and rich wood accents, is offering a $10 drink special (the Gold Rush) for the remainder of the series, as well as Bases Loaded Nachos, which, James notes, have "absolutely everything you could ever want on nachos."
For game one, the first 1,000 customers received t-shirts, pins and posters, and James adds that they've got more merch on the way. But mostly, he says, fans come for the sense of community: "If you’re looking for a great place to watch the Cubs win, then come on down to Rush Street."
If you'd rather be in the company of people who want to watch the Indians win, however, you might want to head across town to Saint Felix in Hollywood. The owner, Ohio-native John Arakaki, has established Saint Felix as the go-to destination for Cleveland sports — from the Browns to the Buckeyes to the Cavaliers.
"When the Cavaliers won, it turned into bedlam! People were crying and high-fiving — they stayed for three to four hours until we eventually kicked them out," he told Pret-a-Reporter of the Cavs' NBA championship win in June. "We're not really a true sports venue, but we host [the games] because that’s part of my uprbringing," Arakaki added, noting that Saint Felix's Hollywood venue has become a bit of a community for Clevelanders.
To recreate that Ohio-in-Los Angeles feel, Saint Felix uses Cleveland stadium mustard and cooks kielbasa sausages for an added game day authenticity. "We're trying to make people feel at home," he said. While Arakaki himself snagged a seat to the actual game in Cleveland for game six, Charlie Sheen did pop by the bar prior to game one, so you never know what could happen.
Both restaurants report that game nights have been especially full, so if you want a place to hang for game six (Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT), arrive at least an hour early. And if the series goes to game seven, it's pretty much a guaranteed good time.