It’s the biggest sporting event in the world. It draws hundreds of millions of television viewers on every continent. And if you live in America, this year you’re getting totally screwed, because all of the FIFA World Cup games (the 32-country throwdown taking place in Germany starting June 9) take place in the middle of the day. But don’t use this little detail as a negative. Use it as an excuse to drink during lunchtime. Soccer is meant to be watched with a large group of people who live and die with each pass, and there’s no shortage of great bars and restaurants around town that’ll be jumping with footie fever this month.
HOOLIGANISM: The World Cup is coming, which means you'll have an excuse to drink before noon.
The tourney kicks off at noon on June 9 with Germany vs. Costa Rica, and if you’re looking for the best place in Boston to get your Teut on, head to Jacob Wirth (31-37 Stuart Street). Although Jake’s is hardly a sports bar, it’s hard to imagine a more authentic experience than munching Wiener schnitzel and sauerbraten and guzzling imported German beers while you cheer on Die Nationalelf. They will be ready for you (though you might want to inform them if you’re coming in a large group).
Three days later, at noon on June 12, the US takes on a tough Czech Republic squad. Generally speaking, your best bet to find a rowdy crowd is to hit up any of Boston’s numerous Irish or Brit pubs. A hot spot for World Cup 2002 was McGann’s, near the TD Banknorth Garden (197 Portland Street). Its convenient location offers the suits the ability to duck in for a pint during the second half and get back to the office before anyone notices their absence.
Have a little more time on your hands? Head down to Allston-Brighton. One of the city’s most unsung sports bars is Roggie’s in Cleveland Circle (365 Chestnut Hill Ave). Roggie’s combines three essential elements for a great viewing experience: pizza, beer, and HDTV. With more than 50 beers on tap and screens on every wall, it’s hard to imagine a more quintessentially American viewing experience.
The Green Briar in Brighton Center (304 Washington Street) boasts some of the most knowledgeable and passionate soccer fans in the area. In fact, they’re probably angry with me right now that I didn’t refer to the game as “football.” If you’re in the Green Briar for one of the early games, make sure to order the traditional Irish breakfast. The hearty mix of eggs and sausage is perfect for soaking up pints of Guinness. You might also want to make a mid-match crawl to Kinvara (34 Harvard Avenue), which was named one of the 10 Best Soccer Bars in America in this month’s GQ (along with the Manchester United–friendly Nevada Smith’s in New York and Ginger’s Ale House in Chicago).
Brazil attempts to repeat its championship win beginning on Tuesday, June 13, with a match against Croatia. Since their other opponents are Japan and Australia, it’s not unrealistic to expect Brazil to win the group with a goal differential of about plus-15. And if the US were to place second in their group, which seems likely, their first knockout-stage opponent would be — you guessed it — Brazil.
To get acquainted with the US’s possible opponents (or to jump on the Ronaldinho bandwagon), head out to the vibrant Brazilian hot spot of Framingham. After Brazil’s 2002 triumph, an impromptu parade broke out down route 126, with people honking horns, leaning out of car windows, and waving green and yellow flags everywhere. This all happened at nine in the morning.
Your best bet is Ipanema Brazilian Grill (17 Edgell Road, Framingham). Ipanema is a churrascaria, which means that for a flat fee you’ll be offered endless skewers of beef, chicken, pork, turkey, and lamb. Combine 25 TVs and an enormous projection screen with copious quantities of the imported Brazilian brew Nova Chin, and you’ll be glad you made the trip down Route 9. Just listen for the sound of chanting, such as
Eu sou Brasileiro
Com muito orgulho
Com muito amor!
That translates into “I am Brazilian, with much pride, with much honor!” You may not be Brazilian yourself, but there’s no reason not to get on the winning side early.
Another favorite this year is England, featuring superstars like David “Mr. Posh Spice” Beckham, Michael Owen, John Terry, and Wayne Rooney (the wunderkind who is on the 23-man roster despite suffering a broken metatarsal on April 29). The Plough and Stars (912 Mass Ave) is one of two must-go joints in Cambridge. England takes on Paraguay on June 10 at 9 am. Yes, the Plough will be open.