Where in Washington, D.C., to watch the World Cup
Friday, June 11, 2010
Today is the day soccer fans have had on their calendars for four long years: the first game of the 19th World Cup. For the next month, office productivity around the world will decline as people watch 32 of the world's best national teams face off.
Since the games are played in South Africa, which is six hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time, kickoffs will be at 7:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., so fans can watch games over breakfast or a long lunch. (The D.C. government agreed to let bars open at 7 a.m. for early games, though you still can't imbibe until 8 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. on Sundays. This isn't a problem in Virginia, where you can drink after 6 a.m. In Maryland, counties set their own policies.)
With all games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC, it shouldn't be hard to find a bar showing the match you want. The key is finding one with a great atmosphere and passionate fans. (Food and drink specials don't hurt either.)
For general (or curious) fans
Arlington's Summers Restaurant, which achieved a measure of fame when it was open 24/7 during the 2002 World Cup, remains Soccer Central, with every game broadcast live on dozens of TVs and with hundreds of regulars packing the place wearing the shirts of their favorite teams. And because there are some meetings it's impossible to sneak out of, Summers will replay every day's matches at 6:30, 8:30 and 9 p.m. (There's a full schedule at www.summers-restaurant.com.)
Lucky Bar, long a stronghold for English fans, becomes a polyglot bar when office workers and soccer fans flood in during major competitions. It'll be open for breakfast and lunch every day, showing every game live and offering drink specials during reruns of the day's matches, which will be at 6:30, 8:30 and 9 p.m.
Fado Irish Pub has plenty of fans who come in on Saturday mornings to watch English league games, and it should be a madhouse for World Cup. The pub will open at 7 a.m. every day with a special World Cup menu and live music after some matches, including Saturday's clash between England and the United States.
In Falls Church, Babylon Futbol Cafe has made a name for itself by catering to South American soccer fans, and it won't disappoint during the World Cup. Every game will be shown live on the bar's 36 TVs and replayed later in the evening (7 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and 4:30 p.m Thursday and Friday).
But there are plenty of other options: 19th, at 19th and I streets NW, will show every game for the World Bank crowd. Capitol Lounge will be open for Capitol Hill staffers. The Hotel Monaco's Jackson 20 is putting a large screen in its courtyard and serving up a special menu.
Bethesda's Flanagan's Harp & Fiddle and Caddies on Cordell will be open for every match, as will Tryst and the Diner if you need coffee and breakfast. Even Adams Morgan's tiny Bedrock Billiards is getting into the act, opening for all games and allowing patrons to bring in food.
There's nothing like cheering on your favorite team with a dedicated group of fans who sing and chant and know the name of every player. In an international city such as Washington, there are numerous places where you won't be the only one wearing the team's jersey.
While you'll find plenty of establishments flying the American flag during the World Cup, the bandana-clad American Outlaws supporters group turns a bar into a red, white and blue party. They will be at Molly Malone's on Capitol Hill for every U.S.A. match, where drink specials include $3 PBR, $5 Guinness and Peroni drafts, $5 Jameson shots and half-price wings and mozzarella sticks.
Also supporting the Americans is the Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse, which will show all the team's games on a movie screen.