Peeve’s Public House in downtown Fresno is the official host of every soccer match of the Arsenal Football Club.
Craig Scharton opened Peeve’s almost two years and has been showing the matches since the beginning. Scharton decided to make Peeve’s an Arsenal pub before it even opened.
Scharton’s friend and customer named Jordan Wiebe was an Arsenal fan and came to him looking for a pub to be an official Arsenal pub.
To be an official Arsenal pub they must show every game, Scharton said and the idea sounded fun to him. “The idea for doing this was really to have the community come up with ideas and bring them here, and make it kind of everyone’s living room.”
The games are televised live from Great Britain, meaning they are on as early as 4:45 a.m. our time.
Scharton said he is up early, often making breakfast, for the Arsenal fans that show up to watch the games in the morning. “We like the community to be here, and we also like them to know that we really appreciate them,” he said.
About 10 to 15 people showed up for the first few games, but the turnout has grown over the years, Scharton said. Twenty-four people showed up to Saturday’s 4:45 a.m. game against Newcastle United Football Club.
Scharton said that other local pubs like Hook & Ladder are also supporting football clubs such as Chelsea and Liverpool, and it is has become a fun pub against pub rivalry. “People show up from the other teams and they all yell at each other and kind of harass each other, it’s pretty funny,” he said.
The fans chant, sing and even have a scoring system where the fans get points for showing up to games and wearing Arsenal gear, making the experience a fun competition, said Scharton.
The Fresno Arsenal fans, known as the Gooners, have won the Football on Facebook [Soccer] Fans of the Year award presented by Mirror Football. Scharton said that they have also had Arsenal art shows with submissions from Los Angeles, New York and London.
Peeve’s is also the headquarters for the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams. “We get way more people here for soccer then we do the Super Bowl,” Scharton said.
At Peeve’s, they don’t want to do what every other place is doing, so they are consistently looking for other markets to inhabit, Scharton said. “People forget that not everyone does the same thing; and if everyone else is doing it, why should we?” he said.
Scharton said that a Café Scientifique lecture on bees drew 120 people on the same night as the NCAA football championship. Along with musical acts, everything from talks about death and mortality to adult coloring nights have been featured at Peeve’s.
The next Arsenal game will be held at Peeve’s on Sept. 12 at 7 a.m.