A Super show locally, too: Packers and Steelers draw the faithful to partisan watering holes

M.K. Flatt celebrates the Packers first touchdown along with Alex Beylotte as they watch the Super Bowl at Charlie's Grille on James Island. Packer fans were a minority at the bar.

Alan Hawes

Isabelle Black, 99, sat in her usual seat at Sapphire's in Goose Creek to watch her Green Bay Packers play in the Super Bowl Sunday night.

She shifted her eyes from the screen for a second when a reporter said hello, then refocused on making sure her team stayed ahead. The Packers were leading 20-3 in the second quarter.

Black moved to Goose Creek about three years ago with the help of her daughter, Pat Woodbury. They're from Appleton, Wis., about 30 miles south of Green Bay.

"We're here every game," Woodbury said.

Sapphire's is a Packer stronghold. It was full of green-and-gold jerseys Sunday night. A man at the bar wore a yellow foam wedge of cheese on his head, the totem of a hard-core Packers fan.

Owner Mike Szews grew up in the

Green Bay area and opened the sports bar with wife Charlene, a Summerville native, after he got out of the Navy. Somewhere between 100 and 150 avid fans filled the place Sunday. Szews wore a bright yellow wig and a Packer jersey, and his face was painted half green and half yellow. He passed out free shots and led the patrons in a cheer whenever the Packers scored.

He didn't know of any other Packers bars in the Charleston area.

Woodbury moved to the area about 12 years ago to be near Mepkin Abbey.

"So I could pray there," she explained.

Suddenly she let out a curse. The Pittsburgh Steelers had scored.

"Don't print that; I usually don't curse," she said. "Go away now; you're distracting me. Now I've let them score."

Miles away on Folly Road, a crowd of similar size filled Charlie's Grille, a Steelers stronghold. The walls are covered with Steelers posters, and black and gold jerseys predominated.

There are several Steelers bars in the Charleston area. It probably has to do with demographics. More people from the Pittsburgh area tend to visit Charleston and end up moving here than people from Wisconsin.

Charlie's co-owner Katey Kage and her husband are from Wheeling, W.Va., which is near Pittsburgh.

Brian O'Connell sat on the end of a long table wearing a black and gold jersey and a Steelers hard hat. He's a bridge builder from Wheeling.

Across from him sat his fiancé, M.K. Flatt, general manager of the Folly Beach Crab Shack. Flatt was wearing a green and gold knit hat, green and gold Packers jersey and Packer knee socks.

Flatt grew up near Green Bay. Her family has always supported the Packers, and she vowed marriage wouldn't change that.

"My grandmother is 96, and she's still wearing her jersey," she said.

The couple has been engaged for four years ago and plans to get married next year.

"How this game comes out will be a test of our relationship," O'Connell said.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.