Fans can watch — and play — soccer at NYC bar the Ground
There are plenty of spots in New York City to watch soccer on TV. But on the Lower East Side, at the newly opened the Ground, you can play the game, too, with one small, enclosed soccer field built inside the bar and another atop it.
Melvin Lopez, 25, a doorman on the Upper East Side, visited to enjoy a beer and the Football Association (FA) Cup final broadcast on the patio’s big-screen TVs, but by halftime, he was sweating through a pickup game on the roof.
“It’s the ultimate stop for a soccer guy,” Lopez told The Post.
Clad in matching Chelsea jerseys, Giuliano Oliveira, 35, and his toddler son, Lionel, traveled from Long Island City to see the game, too.
“We came down today to watch and play soccer and be around like-minded people.”
The Ground is the brainchild of Paul Sierros, 45, a Queens native who owns Mediterranean restaurants Kiki’s, Kiki’s Grill and Rotisserie and Forgtmenot, all on Division Street. After his father died in 2019, Sierros thought about closing one restaurant but had a revelation otherwise.
“I thought, ‘Wait, I don’t wanna give this up! I wanna build a f – – kin’ soccer place!’ ”
Sierros has years of experience as a contractor — he constructed a half-pipe in his Astoria backyard when he was a 14-year-old skateboarder — so he immediately built a small soccer field inside a bar he rented on Monroe Street. But through his window, Sierros could see an abandoned two-story building on Madison Street, shuttered after a previous life as a nightclub.
“I conceived the Ground right through my window,” Sierros said.
Sierros bought the building and quickly converted it into a soccer mecca. Between January and March 2020, he gutted the building down to the brick walls, added new support beams and painted everything white. On the ground floor he built a 2,500-square-foot field-turf soccer pitch behind Plexiglas windows, while on the roof a second 2,100-square-foot concrete field opened to the Manhattan Bridge and the sky.