Fervor for the United States team is at an all-time high after the smash-and-grab winner against Ghana, and that's going to make watching Sunday's match against Portugal trickier than ever.
If you follow soccer, you've heard about the chaotic scenes on Monday: Members of the American Outlaws supporters group who arrived at the Laughing Man Tavern 80 or 90 minutes before kickoff found the bar at full capacity, with dozens of people already in line, and it was far from the only place where this happened. One colleague was on her way to Laughing Man with friends when she found out about the lines. They changed course and went to Penn Social, which was also full. After trying to find another bar on Seventh Street, they wound up at Redline, which was packed.
This was on a Monday night, when most people didn't get out of work until an hour or so before the match. (I heard that Laughing Man was standing-room-only by 4, so some people obviously have their priorities straight.) But the U.S. team's second appearance is on a Sunday, when people don't have to worry about rushing straight from the office to the bar, and can just show up whenever. That's why I'm going to warn you: Wherever you go, get there earlier than you think you need to.
American sports fans aren't used to this: We might show up an hour or two early at a bar on Super Bowl Sunday. But showing up two hours early find a place to stand in front of a TV? It sounds crazy, but for U.S. soccer matches, it's the new normal.
If you're dying to watch a game with the American Outlaws, I'd suggest getting to Laughing Man by 3 p.m. (Just don't blame me if they run out of $3 PBR before the match.) I'd say the same rule holds true for other super-popular spots, such as Lucky Bar, Ireland's Four Courts, Fado and maybe even Public Bar. And make sure you have a backup bar in mind.
With that in mind, here are a few suggestions of places with decent drinks and lots of televisions if you arrive at a popular soccer bar to find massive lines and long waits:
- Laughing Man Tavern: Elephant and Castle is the closest good soccer option; Penn Social is larger but could also fill up, as it did on Monday (see below if it does).
- Lucky Bar/Public Bar/Cafe Citron: Buffalo Billiards, The Mighty Pint, Madhatter.
- Biergarten Haus/The Pug/Queen Vic: Little Miss Whiskey's, H Street Country Club, Star and Shamrock.
- Ireland's Four Courts/Summers: Velocity Five, Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill.
- Penn Social: Jackpot, Iron Horse Tap Room.
- Capitol Lounge: Union Pub, Barrel.
Another option: Head to one of the large outdoor viewing sites, which are mostly in the suburbs but have much higher capacity than a bar.
And now, your updated U.S.A.-related viewing guide:
If you've watched a U.S. national team match, you've seen the bandana-wearing American Outlaws, the loud-and-proud supporters group. The local chapter of the Outlaws takes over the basement of the Laughing Man Tavern for every game, including the World Cup. During matches, the bar will offer $3 PBR and $4 Heinekens.
Annapolis has its own branch of the American Outlaws, founded earlier this year. The group gathers at Union Jack's of Annapolis, where World Cup drink specials include $3 16-ounce Budweiser bottles and $4 Stella Artois.
With no rain in the forecast for Sunday, watching outdoors seems really appealing. DC United is sponsoring a viewing party at Reston Town Center, which features food, drinks and an area for kids. National Harbor shows every U.S. match on a 32-foot LED movie screen on the Potomac waterfront.
Want to watch America on a really big screen without dealing with the humidity? The Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse has the match on its high-definition movie screen with no admission charge. Doors open at 5 p.m., an hour before kickoff.
At Capitol Hill's Capitol Lounge, you'll get $12 pitchers of beer during every game, plus a free Jack Daniels shot every time the United States scores. (The crowds drank the bar dry last time.)
The Pug on H Street NE will offer $1 hot dogs and $3 Budweiser tallboy cans during every U.S. game.
Town Tavern offers $3 domestic bottles, $4 rail drinks and $6 burger combos.
Duffy's Irish Pub pairs $5 plates of wings with $20 buckets of Flying Dog's Old Bay-seasoned Dead Rise beer.
Boundary Stone sells cans of the DC United/DC Brau collaboration The Tradition for $3 during matches.
DC Reynolds isn't doing anything extra-special for the match, but the game falls during the bar's buy-one, get-one-free drink special.
The Brixton shows matches both indoors and on its rooftop deck. Game-time deals include $5 draft beers, rail drinks and Smirnoff and Absolut drinks, $6 glasses of wine and $5 appetizers.
Ireland's Four Courts was mobbed last week for the U.S. opener, and not just for $4 Heinekens and $5 Guinness.
Union Jack's Bethesda has $3 Heineken drafts and 16-ounce Budweiser and Bud Light aluminum bottles.
More on the World Cup: Where to find fans of your favorite team | The area's best soccer bars | World Cup happy hours | Tips for first-time fans | World Cup TV Schedule | All Washington Post World Cup coverage