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World Cup fans champion beer as breakfast choice

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By David Nakamura
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tucked into a booth at Summers Grill and Sports Pub near the Court House Metro station on Friday, federal government contractor Kim Aslen placed her breakfast order: a sausage-and-egg burrito and a pint of Blue Moon beer.

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It was 7:45 a.m.

"What? It's not like I'm chugging it," said Aslen, 31, when asked about her beverage choice. She was wearing a T-shirt and shorts and working on a report titled "Draft Agenda."

Call it the "liquid breakfast." In a city of buttoned-up government workers known to imbibe only the occasional lunch cocktail, the World Cup in South Africa has Washington soccer fans bellying up to the bar to watch games on television before they normally even get to work.

Summers, a popular soccer bar with 60 screens, had prepared for the day's games, including the United States' thrilling 2-2 tie with Slovenia, by ordering 50 kegs, triple the typical Friday inventory, said manager Gavin "Shawn" Nazareth.

Throughout the day, he estimated, the restaurant would burn through 15 cases of bottled beer, 1,500 eggs and 3,000 drinking glasses. Veteran bartender Donna Nelson, 46, would work a 12-hour shift and reap more than $100 in tips. And hundreds of Washington workers, many taking the day off for personal reasons (wink, wink), would get tipsy before lunch.

"I don't normally eat in the morning," said Wes Cronkite, 27, a Web developer, as he nursed a Samuel Adams with no food at 7:24 a.m. His friend, Josh MacDonald, 31, a defense contractor, opted for eggs and sausage before ordering his own beer.

Normally at that time, Cronkite said, he would be at his office calling co-workers based in New Delhi. The last time he drank so early? Probably during his student days at Penn State University while tailgating before football games, he said.

"Unfortunately, we're not allowed to do this at work," Cronkite pointed out. He hadn't shaved.

In a corner booth, Gavin Toner, a director at a nonprofit agency, and four buddies were putting a few back during the Germany-Serbia game at 7:30 a.m. They planned to move to an Irish bar in Vienna for the U.S. game at 10 a.m.

"I was in Australia during the last World Cup, and I went to a bar at 4 a.m. and it was packed. In the rest of the world, that's not unusual," said David Cades, 28, a graduate student at George Mason University who limited himself to a single Boddingtons because he was driving.

Actually, Americans used to be much heartier drinkers, said Nelson, who has worked behind the Summers bar since 1995.

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