Ravens fans flock to Columbia bars on Sunday

Although Columbia is often described as the halfway point between Baltimore and Washington, there's little doubt that when it comes to football, Columbia is Baltimore Ravens country.

If you have any doubts, walk into one of Columbia's sports bars, like Champp's located in the Mall in Columbia, or pubs, like Union Jack's off Little Patuxent Parkway, on Ravens' game day and you'll be overwhelmed by a sea of purple jerseys emblazoned with the names of Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and Ray Lewis.

Even on a day like Sunday, when the Ravens faced an opponent from nearby in the Philadelphia Eagles, the number of cheering fans dressed in black and purple far outweighed those rooting for any other team.

For Columbia residents Derek and Kenisha Burks, an afternoon at Union Jack's, a British-themed pub across from Symphony Woods Park, must mean it's Ravens game day.

"We bleed purple and are proud of it," Kenisha Burks said, staring at one of Union Jack's four big-screen projectors. "We only really come during football season. It' a good football atmosphere."

Union Jack's, which opened in March of 2010, has 22 television and four projectors that provide local coverage of the NFL as well as numerous other games. But more, of course, were showing the Ravens game than any other.

Lifelong Columbia residents Scott DeFrancis, 25, and Chris Tharp, 25, said Union Jack's offers the kind of ambiance a die-hard Ravens' fan loves.

"There's a real sense of community here," Tharp said. "You see all the jerseys and all the purple hats, it's a really supportive environment."

Baltimore residents Laura Humphreys and Elizabeth Jackson came to Columbia Sunday for the country music festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion and decided, on the recommendation of a friend, to go to Union Jack's for the game.

"There's a lot of tvs and it's really fun," Humphreys said. "There are a lot of Ravens fans here, people who are strangers can become friends watching the game. Hopefully they'll win so we have something to celebrate."

Unfortunately, the Ravens did not cooperate, losing to the Eagles 24-23.

Less than a mile away at Champps Sports Bar, the support for the Ravens was just as strong.

Champps, like Union Jack's, has a majority of televisions devoted to the Ravens game.

Baltimore County resident Craig Ziegenhiem, who used to work in Columbia, said any time he's in the area while the Ravens are playing, he knows he has a place to watch the game.

"You come here, you got your big screens with the Ravens on, there's not much more you can ask for," Ziegenhien said. "It's a Ravens' bar. That's what you want to see."

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