NYC’s Professor Thom’s Offers a Safe Haven for Boston Sports Fans

NYC’s Professor Thom’s Offers a Safe Haven for Boston Sports Fans

As a Baltimore Orioles fan living in the New York area, I can empathize with Pete Levin and Jim McGuire, co-owners of Boston sports-themed bar Professor Thom’s. The two opened the East Village enclave for Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics fans in 2005 as a safe spot to watch sports without being unmercifully teased by Yankee fans. For former New Englanders, the bar really feels like home with every Boston-based sporting event broadcast on the flat screens lining its walls and $20 lobster dinners served each Monday night.

Last Monday, I headed to Professor Thom’s where I enjoyed a steamed lobster, an ear of corn on the cob, a generous pile of waffle fries and a Harpoon draft while on the TV perched over our table, the Sox lost to the Toronto Blue Jays. Though I’ve been cracking crab claws since I could chew, I’m embarrassed to say that this was my first time eating lobster straight out of the shell. I have had a few lobster rolls and sandwiches in southern Maine and the whole lobster I tried in Manhattan last week was just as fresh and flavorful. To drink with my meal, I opted for Harpoon’s Thom’s Ale, a beer brewed specifically for the bar. Other choices included a white beer, a cider and two IPAs. “We are the biggest Harpoon retailer in the country outside the state of Massachusetts,” Levin explained.

Levin also answered a few more questions about the history of Professor Thom’s and his Boston allegiance for me through email.

Q: Is there an actual Professor Thom?

A: [The bar] is named after the Professor Jerry Thomas who is widely known as the "father of the modern cocktail" and penned the first published cocktail guide, with the Tom Collins and Tom & Jerry being two of his more well known creations.  December 15th (the date we opened [in 2005]) also happens to be the anniversary of his passing.

Q: How long have you featured the Lobster Night special? Where do you get your lobsters?

A: We've been doing our lobster night for roughly four years now. We purchase our lobsters direct from The Lobster Place, which also has a retail seafood business in Chelsea Market.

Q: Are you and Jim both big Boston fans? Are either of you from New England?

A: Jim and I are both big Boston fans. Jim established a Red Sox fan following while running the Riviera in the West Village (our main Boston competitor).  I grew up in Manhattan but my New England born father started taking me to Fenway when I was as young as 6 and it's been in my blood ever since. Growing up on the UES as a Sox fan is no easy task but it's only made me a stronger fan. From ages 12-16 he would take me to the old Polo Grounds bar (which later became Back Page) and we would watch all the games with a group of 8-12 other regular Boston fans who would seek shelter there from taunting Yankee fans, I even had my 16th birthday party there. It only made sense that one day I would be the one providing a safe place to enjoy Boston sports with the now thousands of New England transplants living in New York City.

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