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THU 18.05.2023 | INTERVIEWS

A Barça bar is best for business

Fernando Yanes and his cousin put their life savings into launching 77Sportbar in Florida. After opening in October 2017, the soccer-specific saloon quickly underwent a facelift less than six months later.


THU 18.05.2023

Fernando Yanes had everything on the line. So did his cousin.

The two put their life savings into launching 77Sportbar in Coral Gables, Florida, just west of Miami. After opening in October 2017, the soccer-specific saloon quickly underwent a facelift less than six months later.

It ended up being the best business decision Yanes made.

After many, many nights, I decided this is the moment—this is the time I’m going to turn this bar into an FC Barcelona bar forever,” Yanes recalls.

Establishing a relationship with the Barcelona-based beer company Estrella Damm, Yanes began acquiring memorabilia and merchandise of his cherished Catalan club to decorate his newly themed bar.

Word began to get out to Barça fans in and around Miami, including members of Penya Barcelonista Miami-Dade, that 77Sportbar was the place to be. The bar filled with kits, chants, goals, giveaways and culés.

Yanes’ favorite club also began recognizing his establishment. Former Brazilian right back Juliano Belletti who played for Barça from 2004-07 visited in 2019, while members of Barça’s board also made it a point to pit stop in Coral Gables.

“We started creating that relationship directly with the team,” Yanes says. “Now we are part of a big network they have.”

Yanes’ relationship with Barça—at least from afar—began in the mid-to-late ’90s. Growing up in Venezuela, following LaLiga wasn’t as easy as it is today, but Yanes did the best he could to follow the Blaugrana and Brazilian striker Romário, who he admired.

From there Yanes began to learn more about the club’s philosophy and style of play. Like millions, he even dreamed of honing his craft at the famed La Masia. While his professional playing career never took off, Yanes is closer to FC Barcelona than he could have imagined.

In fact, his relationship with the club went one step further when he and his wife traveled to Spain this past February—after a detour in Paris first. Yanes celebrated his 36th birthday in the Catalan capital, highlighted by a trip to Camp Nou for the 2-2 draw against Manchester United in the Europa League on February 16.

“I was waiting like 20 years for that,” Yanes says. “It was incredible.”


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