We Americans have almost gotten over the fact that the US men’s soccer team won’t be taking part in this summer’s World Cup. On the bright side, we’ll be able to watch and appreciate the great players of Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and elsewhere without worrying when the US will be knocked out. We won’t be the only ones; the City goes soccer mad every four years, as partisans and casual onlookers cram into bars, cafés, restaurants and anywhere else that has a TV to watch the beautiful game. Here’s how you can get your World Cup fix when you’re in NYC.
Go to a soccer-centric bar
A number of taverns in the City show soccer year-round—which makes sense, as soccer is one of the few sports to be played in every season, thanks to Major League Soccer covering the summer months that the European leagues take off. At any of these places, you should find knowledgeable, avid fans and an appreciation of the game.
Football Factory at Legends, Midtown Manhattan
The Monro, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Soccer Tavern, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Woodwork, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Zum Schneider, East Village, Manhattan (They’ve got their own soccer team!)
Go to an all-round sports bar
New York City has a lot of them. You can use this list as a starting point. Though these are places good for watching pretty much any kind of game—and may favor certain sports—the World Cup is such a towering event that it will take precedence over whatever else might be on. It also doesn’t hurt that the basketball and hockey playoffs have ended—so the competition of what to watch, save for baseball day games, will be pretty nonexistent.
Bar 43, Sunnyside, Queens (Actually, this could easily qualify as a soccer bar.)
Berry Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (So could this.)
Boxers HK , Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan
Bronx Alehouse, Kingsbridge, Bronx
Harlem Tavern, Harlem, Manhattan
Go to a café-bar-restaurant that represents the nation you’re rooting for
You could be a local or visitor, looking for a place to watch your side among fellow fans. Or perhaps you just want to experience the passion and intensity that soccer enthusiasts feel for their national squads. We’ve got places below to see a few of the odds-on favorites, plus the hosts (Russia) and the team US fans should be rooting for, for this World Cup; with a little digging, you should be able to find locations that correspond to every entrant in the field (and plenty of articles that list them).
Brazil: Via Brasil, Midtown Manhattan
France: Bar Tabac, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn
Germany: Zum Stammtisch, Glendale, Queens
Mexico: El Tenampa, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Russia: Ocean View Cafe, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
Spain: Spanish Benevolent Society/La Nacional, Chelsea, Manhattan
Go to a big public viewing party
We know of at least three noncommercial public locales that will be screening the matches of World Cup 2018, though it’s still best to check their individual websites to ensure the game you want to watch will be shown. Advantages: you won’t feel pressure to spend money on food or drinks, and you’ll get to enjoy the open air.
28 Liberty, West Plaza, Lower Manhattan
Big Screen Plaza, Eventi Hotel, NoMad, Manhattan
Live at the Archway, Dumbo, Brooklyn (Note: The semifinals and finals will be shown outdoors at the Archway; the rest of the tournament will be screened in an old retail space at the corner of Pearl and Sands Streets, set up just for World Cup viewing.)
Opry City Stage, Times Square, Manhattan (OK, you may have to buy a drink to feel justified hanging out here throughout the day, but it will be a theater-like place to watch.)
Commiserate with US diehards
The American Outlaws are the hardest of hardcore USMNT fans. They paint their faces, dress up in red, white and blue and travel to national team friendlies, qualifiers and tournament games. And they have five local chapters, one for each borough. Though they’ll be disappointed, they are soccer fans at heart, and we imagine they’ll still want to see some matches. These watering holes are their official gathering places for watch parties.
Bronx: Rambling House, Woodlawn
Brooklyn: Lonestar Bar & Grill, Bay Ridge
Manhattan: Smithfield Hall, Chelsea (Here’s another bar that’s soccer mad pretty much all the time.)
Queens: Passage, Astoria
Staten Island: Play Sports Bar, Annandale
Five Group Stage Games We’re Looking Forward To
Portugal vs. Spain
Two neighboring European powerhouses may settle who wins their group very early.
Argentina vs. Iceland
Even with the incomparable Lionel Messi, Los Gauchos barely qualified, while Iceland made a name for itself as a giant-slayer in the last Euro Championships. Plus, Viking clap.
Germany vs. Mexico
The defending champs take on their toughest group stage opponent—and USMNT frenemies—El Tri.
Russia vs. Egypt
It’s always exciting to watch the host country play; doubly so when they face one of the world’s best players (presuming the injured Mohamed Salah recovers in time).
England vs. Belgium
These uber-talented sides tend to underachieve on the big stage. Maybe one can break through this year.