The United States may not be playing in this year’s tournament, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be watching. These are the soccer bars to visit.
Watching the World Cup is fun in any environment. But watching the World Cup while surrounded by fellow fans drinking beer in a packed bar? That’s tough to beat.
The United States failed to qualify for the men’s World Cup in Russia this summer, yet that shouldn’t stop you from finding a watering hole to enjoy the greatest event in sports. (Provided, of course, you don’t already have a soccer-centric overseas trip planned.) Featuring astonishing athleticism and unparalleled drama, the World Cup is a magical tournament that transcends allegiance to one specific team.
But where should you take in the action? The best options usually share a few things in common. For starters: Plenty of space, plenty of screens, and hard-won reputations for attracting soccer fans who enjoy gathering around the global game’s biggest matches.
With that in mind, here are 10 U.S. bars where the 2018 World Cup, which runs June 14 through July 15, is sure to be raucous. Because—whether you call it soccer, football, fútbol, futebol, or by any other name—planet Earth’s most popular sport is best enjoyed pint in hand amid the company of other humans.
New York City
This watering hole on West 25th Street is a favorite among soccer insiders. Smithfield Hall gets packed for big matches on a regular basis, as fans order beers from its 70-foot bar and sip while staring at a plethora of HD TVs scattered throughout the space. Also helpful—and doubly so during the World Cup—is that Smithfield Hall’s website features the full schedule of games it plans to show.
442 Soccer Bar
A rollicking big-game atmosphere, traditional Bosnian food, and house-baked bread make this bar at Hawthorne Boulevard and 18th Avenue a legendary Portland location. It opens early for important matches and will show every World Cup fixture this summer.
The Washington Post lauds this local institution located halfway between the White House and Dupont Circle as “the most popular place to watch soccer in D.C.” That distinction is well-earned, thanks to Lucky Bar’s two levels, many screens, and deep commitment to showing matches from leagues around the world.
This two-floor pub in the Fells Point neighborhood has enjoyed a reputation as a soccer lover’s paradise for more than a decade. The Baltimore Sun says visiting on a big match day is like “stepping into a different universe.” Meanwhile, its pub grub has even been featured on the Food Network’s legendary show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
The Mad Dog in the Fog
A no-frills bar located in the Lower Haight neighborhood, The Mad Dog in the Fog has multiple big screens and lots of standing room. Consider yourself warned, though: It’s known to fill up for big events, so get there early if you have a particularly anticipated match in mind. Should the World Cup excitement become too much, you can step out to the back patio for a break.
This spot located on East Colfax Avenue shares a name with the England national team and bills itself as “a world football pub.” A great location, plenty of room and old-school London atmosphere only increase the appeal. And just in case you need added incentive, here’s a pro tip: A couple of tables even boast built-in taps.
An underrated soccer culture thrives in Atlanta, where locals have long gathered at the Brewhouse Cafe in the Little Five Points neighborhood for pints and camaraderie. Eater calls Brewhouse “the quintessential soccer bar.” Find some screen-front real estate inside or on the spacious outdoor patio during this summer’s World Cup.
The Fox and Hounds
With 16 beers on tap, 10 HD televisions, a traditional English food menu, and European soccer nearly always on TV, it’s no wonder this spot on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City is so popular with Angelenos. You can conveniently find the bar’s sports TV schedule on its website.
The George & Dragon Pub
This British-style pub in the Fremont district has been pulling pints since the mid-90s, when flannel shirts and grunge music ruled Seattle. Grunge and flannel may have faded, but The George & Dragon is still going strong. Today it’s regarded as one of the Pacific Northwest’s best soccer bars. Seattle Sounders minority owner Drew Carey even used the pub to announce the Sounders as Major League Soccer’s newest franchise in 2007. You can find The George & Dragon’s TV schedule here.
In the Lone Star State, “football” typically refers to the American variety, but this Dallas-area bar is all about the global game. An NBC Sports contest in 2016 selected The Londoner as the best bar in the United States to watch the English Premier League—so you can bet it will be a quality World Cup destination this summer.