Best soccer bars photo
((AP Photo/Andres Kudacki))

Best soccer bars

Fritz Hahn  |  Updated 08/15/2013

Washington is a town that appreciates soccer, with a tradition dating back to the days of the Washington Diplomats and continuing through to the rowdy D.C. United crowds at RFK Stadium.

With an understanding of the game comes a league of soccer-friendly sports bars that pack in fans cheering for their favorite side, whether it's competing in an afternoon Champions League match, an early-morning English Premier League battle or Spain's legendary "El Classico."

Here are some of our favorite places to watch the beautiful game.

 

Elephant & Castle

Washington, DC

An English-style pub owned by a Canadian chain, the Elephant and Castle has a good number of TVs in the bar area and dining room. While English and Champions League games are shown, the 19th Street branch is the home of the D.C. Penya Barcelonista, the official Barcelona supporters club in Washington.

 

Fado Irish Pub

Washington, DC

One of the most established soccer bars in D.C., Fado has a cracking atmosphere for big games - especially those involving Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton or Arsenal, or the English and Irish national teams. Doors open early for the 7:30 and 8:30 matches on weekends, and the mid-week European and English league matches are always on. Because Fado draws crowds, it's best to arrive on the early side for bar seating or a table near one of the large projection screens.

 

Flanagan's Harp & Fiddle

Bethesda, MD

The Bethesda Irish pub shows most English and Scottish games, and is the home of the local Celtic supporters club.

 

Ireland's Four Courts

Arlington, VA

Ireland's Four Courts is a traditional dark-wood pub that pours a mean pint of Guinness and shows lots of English and European games. It's the home of the local Chelsea and Newcastle supporters groups.

 

Irish Channel Pub

Washington, DC

A reliable place to watch English soccer, the Irish Channel has good Irish breakfasts and a friendly staff. It's also the home bar of Washington's Tottenham Hotspur supporters. A tip to keep in mind: The Channel is located around the corner from Fado, and is an easy escape when that pub is too crowded.

 

The Laughing Man Tavern

Washington, DC

This isn't a soccer bar per se -- it opens at 11:30 on Saturdays, and you're more likely to find college football on the big screens. (NFL season is the only time the bar opens on Sundays.) But the Laughing Man is home base of the American Outlaws, the loud, bandana-wearing fans of the U.S. national soccer team. If the they're on the field, the fans will be at Laughing Man.

 

Lucky Bar

Washington, DC

Games from England, Spain, Germany, Italy and the MLS are featured every week at Lucky Bar, which has three large projection screens as well as 22 other TVs. It draws a wide group of fans, including Real Madrid, Manchester United and the local Arsenal and Manchester City supporters clubs, giving the room a great atmosphere. English breakfast is available during early games.

 

Molly Malone's

Washington, DC

With 50 taps, Molly Malone's has the widest beer selection of any soccer-friendly bar, and there are 11 large TVs over the two floors. It's also a regular gathering place for D.C. United fans heading to RFK Stadium or watching out-of-town games. The only shame is that the bar doesn't open until 11 a.m., meaning you can't watch most Saturday European matches.

 

Public Bar

Washington, DC

While Public Bar is best known as a place to watch football and basketball on dozens of screens -- and hang out on the rooftop deck during summer months -- it also draws a good downtown crowd for mid-week soccer matches. (It helps that one of the owners is a big Manchester United fan.)

 

The Pug

Washington, DC

Decorated with soccer scarves from around the globe, the lovably scruffy Pug shows all Premier League matches that start after 10 a.m. and all D.C. United games. (It also sometimes opens in the afternoon to show mid-week U.S. national team games.) Brunch consists of scrambled eggs, "hangover hash," and biscuits and gravy, with optional all-you-can-drink mimosas for $10 -- or just cans of Natty Boh for $3.

 

The Queen Vic

Washington, DC

Owned by a Liverpool supporter, the Queen Vic has large TVs, a great list of English and Scottish beers and better-than-average gastropub grub. (If your match is on a Sunday, don't miss the Sunday Roast with roasted meat, Yorkshire pudding, roasted veggies and duck fat roasted potatoes.) Doors open at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. on Sundays, and sometimes earlier for Liverpool matches. There's also a large back patio for hanging out before or after the game.

 

Summers Grill and Sports Pub

Arlington, VA

A fixture on "Best Soccer Bars in America" lists since the 1990s, Summers earned its reputation by going beyond the usual England/Champions League/MLS schedule and regularly showing matches from Spain, Germany, Italy, Scotland and South America, as well as international tournaments (who's up for the under-20 World Cup?) and friendlies on dozens of flatscreen TVs. If you miss a morning game, there's a good chance it will be shown again in the evening; check the bar's lengthy viewing schedule for more details.

Summers is an official gathering place for U.S.A. men's and women's matches, and the local Bayern Munich supporters. It is also one of the few bars in the area that opens early for every 8 a.m. kickoff. Of note, Summers has smoking and non-smoking rooms.

 

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