The FIFA men’s World Cup starts on Sunday, Nov. 20, with the American men kicking off against Wales on Monday, Nov. 21. Soccer fans in Rhode Island, if we’re not stealing furtive glances at our iPads in the office, might be sneaking away to watch games at a local bar. Because soccer, like everything good in the world, is meant to be enjoyed among friends and family.
With the World Cup around the corner in Qatar — a location fraught with controversy and pledged boycotts — the Boston Globe’s Rhode Island bureau picked a couple places in Rhode Island to watch the games. If you’re soccer curious or soccer ambivalent, here’s the quick pitch: Soccer’s not just the thing your hipster friend likes. It also has the virtues of being over in two hours (looking at you, baseball); drawing from a passionate fanbase; and being a great excuse for some day drinking.
(Note that some of the games start pretty early, so you should check whether these places will be open for the particular game before you head out. We included general information when we were able to get it.)
The Fastnet Pub, 1 Broadway, Newport
Newport, which attracts sailing crews from around the world, tends to be a hotspot for sports like cricket, rugby, and soccer — so they’re accustomed to throwing their doors open early and serving breakfast along with the brews. And if you go, you won’t be alone, manager Paul McBride said.
“If you’ve got 100 people, 200 people, watching the same game, it really adds to the atmosphere,” McBride said. “That’s the reason people will come to the Fastnet — they know there’s going to be a buzz.”
The big draw at the Fastnet, McBride says? Guinness. They have the best pour of Guinness on this side of the Atlantic, he says, because they’re constantly flowing, keeping them fresh.
Brass Monkey, 800 Allens Ave., Providence
Get ready for some red, white, and blue: Brass Monkey is a go-to location for fans of the MLS’ New England Revolution in Rhode Island, and also is the gathering spot for the Providence chapter of the U.S. national team supporters group, the American Outlaws. The Outlaws will be there for all three group stage matches as the U.S. men face Wales, England, and Iran.
McBride’s, 161 Wayland Ave., Providence
This cozy pub, which is the only real bar-bar in its neighborhood, is planning to open its doors early for the games that start at 11 o’clock (though not the super-early ones). Known for daily homemade fish and chips and corned beef and cabbage, McBride’s will also bring in a machine that makes specially designed ripples in your Guinness during the US-Wales game on Nov. 21. McBride’s is not a sports bar per se, though they do get busy for American football games and, when they come around, World Cup matches. People come alone and leave with a group of new friends, like the fictional bar in the sitcom ”Cheers,” manager Jennifer Monastesse said.
“Hang out, relax, and enjoy a Guinness,” Monastesse said.
Narragansett Brewery, 271 Tockwotton St., Providence
Hi, neighbor! During the World Cup, Narragansett’s brewery on Tockwotton Street will have earlier hours and a giant pretzel charcuterie board for $28. What else do you need to know?
Craft Burgers & Beer, 342 East Ave., Pawtucket
Craft is right in the middle of Rhode Island’s soccer present and soccer future: It’s the regular meeting place for fans of two London teams in the English Premier League, and Chelsea FC (American Christian Pulisic’s club) Tottenham Hotspur (#COYS). It’s also right around the corner from the Tidewater Landing minor-league soccer stadium development.
So Craft knows how to welcome the soccer crowd (which involves accepting loud screaming before noon). It’ll be a good place to catch some World Cup games — and some club games once you get hooked. The World Cup can often serve as a gateway to club soccer fandom, and the giant mug of spiced iced coffee is the gateway to Craft. (Yes, you want the Bailey’s with it. Trust us.) The beer list is extensive, the service incredibly friendly, the burgers a meal and a half.
Murphy’s, 100 Fountain St., Providence
This is another place where year-round soccer fans congregate. It’s the local bar for Liverpool FC, though they welcome all comers, co-owner and general manager Louis Ferrazzano said. They’ll do the same for the World Cup.
“I find soccer fans are really enthusiastic to anyone who is curious to learn more,” Ferrazzano said, “and that’s why soccer bars, such as ours, are great spots to watch the game.”
The Guild, 461 Main St. in Pawtucket, and 99 Water St. in Warren
The Guild brewery, with locations in Pawtucket and Warren, has really embraced Rhode Island’s soccer culture, particularly the USL Championship team — to be known as Rhode Island FC as announced Monday — that’s going into the Tidewater Landing development. (It’s where the team’s owners held a celebration after the stadium groundbreaking recently.)
“This will be the month of soccer at The Guild!” said co-founder and managing partner Jeremy Duffy.
Both locations will have watch parties for games, but the location in Pawtucket will be the soccer tournament HQ for the brewery, with more games, Duffy said via email. They’ll also have special hours, including being open on Mondays in Pawtucket for important games, like the first U.S. match, Duffy said. You can check the most updated information on hours on TheGuildRI.com/Pawtucket or TheGuildRI.com/Warren.
Speaking of Rhode Island FC, the team will help some of the aforementioned bars, and some others, host watch parties. Team reps will be at various bars with merchandise and other promotional activities. Places include: The Guild Pawtucket; Craft Burgers & Beer; Brass Monkey; El Paisa Restaurant, 598 Dexter Street, Central Falls; and the Thirsty Beaver in Cranston at 288 Atwood Avenue, and in Smithfield at 45 Cedar Swamp Road. More information is available on Rhode Island FC’s website.
Oscar Mejias, president of the Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, pointed to several local Latino establishments that will be showing games as people in Rhode Island cheer for national teams like Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Argentina, and others.
“This World Cup 2022 is an escape and a way to unite Latino families around this sport!” Mejias said in an email.
Mejias mentioned the following bars and restaurants:
La Sonrisa, 320 Broad St., Providence
La Casona Restaurant, 768 Broad St., Central Falls
Mi Hacienda Restaurant, 603 Plainfield St., Providence
La Arepa, 582 Smithfield Ave., Pawtucket
El Marinero, 137 Kilvert St., Warwick
Have a spot to watch the game that this list has egregiously snubbed? Email email@example.com and he will let you buy him a beer there.
This story has been updated with comments from the president of the Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.