Soccer in New York is a summer sport, and there's plenty of it to watch in person. But what if you want to step into the shade, sip on a beer and catch a game on TV? With Euro 2012, the London Olympic Games and all the big European clubs and national teams touring the United States over the next few months, the season will be full of can't-miss matches. Luckily, New York is probably the best city in the United States for watching soccer with other fans, and there's a bar or three for everyone—tourists, hipsters and, of course, Midtown office-workers sneaking away from their desks for a furtive half of footie.
Here's our selection of the best soccer bars in New York City:
Nevada Smiths is probably the best known of the bunch. It's popular with soccer fans of all stripes and has screens everywhere you look. Currently located in Webster Hall, Nevada Smiths will be relocating to a much larger space in July, which should make it less crowded, especially for the big games.
The Central Bar is a standard Irish pub where you're likely to get a seat but slightly less sure of having a clear sight line. To be fair, few places have as many televisions as Nevada Smiths.
One of the few that does is Legends, which calls itself “The Football Factory.” It's a big space, with live TV coverage on all three floors, conveniently located near Penn Station on West 33rd Street. Legends is a sure bet to be showing all the big games and some more-obscure ones as well.
A few blocks north, just east of Times Square on West 43rd Street, is BXL Café, a Belgian joint serving great beer and moules frites. It's popular with Condé Nast employees on the lam for an hour or two early on weekday afternoons. Space at the bar can be tight.
Kinsale Tavern is convenient for stepping off the museum trail on the Upper East Side. It's also the bar of choice for that neighborhood's resident soccer mensch, David Hirshey, who covered the Cosmos for the New York Daily News back in the 1970s.
Atlantic ChipShop on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn is an expat Englishman's dream, down to the deep-fried Mars bars. The soccer here complements a full English breakfast or excellent fish-and-chips along with stout from the cask. Not too far away, in Prospect Heights, you'll find Woodwork—which feels like the kind of bar you'd want to visit even if there weren't hi-def LCD screens pumping in soccer around the clock. But, of course, there are.
Where Woodwork is dark and cavernous, Banter Bar in Williamsburg is full of sunlight. Both are great places to watch soccer, but Banter's 24 varieties of beer on tap make it easier to find a brew that matches your mood.
If you want to relive the finals of the 1986 and 1990 World Cups, visit Zum Schneider on Manhattan's Lower East Side, then Boca Juniors Restaurant in Elmhurst, Queens. They couldn't be farther apart in terms of geography or soccer tradition, but if you're hunting for an overdose of German (Zum Schneider) or Argentine (Boca Juniors) flavor, look no further.