With the FIFA World Cup kicking off June 12 in Brazil, the big question is not whether the USA will manage to make it out of its tough group draw with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana, or if Brazil will be able to win its record sixth championship, but where to watch the games. The best answer lies in what you’re looking to get out of the experience.
Stay true to the team in blue
CAFFE DELLO SPORT
308 Hanover Street, Boston
You may know CDS, just a cannoli’s throw away from Mike’s Pastry, as “that place where Italian men are yelling at the television early in the morning.” Opened by “a group of Italians” (according to the website) more than 60 years ago, it’s a spot to get together, socialize, and watch Italian professional soccer matches, and it’s as close as you’ll get locally to being in Rome for the games. So grab one of its famed espressos (made with Italian Guglielmo coffee, of course) and a limone sorbetto, and prepare to cheer on Gli Azzurri (the Blues), especially when they kick off the tournament against despised rival England on June 14.
Hang with the bearded set
3 Beacon Street, Somerville
Artfully walking the line between sports bar and hipster hangout, Parlor is where you’ll find bearded gents in cutoff corduroy shorts wearing ironic 1994 Joe-Max Moore US jerseys and thoughtfully discussing Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s fall out of favor at Norwich City while munching on the bar’s high-low takes on pub food, like the Hawaiian nachos (piled with teriyaki chicken, bacon bits, pineapple, melted cheese) or Appalachian beef jerky. And considering it’s got eight well-situated TVs and a great selection of crafts (or $3 deals on Miller High Life cans), you may consider growing out your facial hair, too.
Cheer with the Bruins fans
STATS BAR & GRILLE
77 Dorchester Street, Boston
Nestled into the corner where East and West Broadway meet, in the heart of downtown Southie, Stats is a stronghold for viewing classic Boston teams like the Bruins, Sox, Celtics, and Pats, but co-owner Andrew Statires informs us they’ve got big plans for the Cup. He promises game sound on their 24 HD TVs for all USA matches, $3 Brooklyn Summer draft deals, and “bartenders, or even me, leading U-S-A chants during all stoppages of play.” When you’re not filling your lungs with oxygen to shout patriotic songs, fill your stomach with their tasty chicken tenders that come with a homemade sweet-and-sour sauce, following a recipe passed down from Statires’s great-grandfather.
Root for/against England
512 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
Long a favorite among Irish/English expats (and everyone else) to watch their beloved Liverpool play (it’s the official Liverpool Supporters Club go-to bar), the Central Square mainstay is the place to catch a game if you want to be in the mix with a boisterous international crowd. Do yourself a favor and get the Classic Cork Breakfast (grilled bangers, black and white pudding, rashers, two eggs, beans, and toast) and a pint of Guinness and prepare to chant hilarious things for/against the English squad while watching.
Get a view of the TV — and the water
ATLANTIC BEER GARDEN
146 Seaport Boulevard, Boston
One of the early movers in the burgeoning South Boston Waterfront area, Atlantic Beer Garden offers 23 HD TVs, two projection screens, and, should you get tired of looking at those, water views out of nearly every seat in the place. They’ve got 12 draft lines and an impressive list of craft bottles, including hard-to-find locals like the classily named Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp — all to help wash down the Philly cheesesteak spring rolls and other comfort grub.
Support the Stars and Stripes
934 Dorchester Avenue, Boston
One of the best Irish pubs anywhere, the Banshee also happens to be one of the official Boston bars of the American Outlaws, a US Men’s National Team supporters’ group, and plans to show the USA matches live on all 10 of its screens. So if you’ve been thinking about buying a Michael Bradley or Clint Dempsey jersey and learning the words to “US Til I Die,” this is your place. Or if you just have a hankering for O’Malley’s Gaelic fries (hand-cut and topped with applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar, and ranch dressing), the Banshee can oblige.
Sneak out with the suits
40 Broad Street, Boston
So you want to duck out of your downtown office to catch some games, and you don’t want to arouse suspicion? We recommend hitting The Warehouse, a spot popular with the besuited finance crowd, where there are comfortable banquette booths with sightlines to the TVs stationed around the bar. If you come suitless on the weekend, time it for brunch, so you can try the Nutella-stuffed Cinnamon Toast Crunch-crusted French toast and a beer cocktail like the Up & Away with Harpoon chocolate stout, black walnut bitters, and Skyy vanilla bean vodka.
Gobble some wings
317 Washington Street, Newton
For some, watching soccer comes second to watching servers bring piles upon piles of buffalo wings. That’s one reason to belly up to the bar at Buff’s, long considered by many to have the best wings around Boston. The crispy, juicy morsels are pretty memorable in any of the flavors (BBQ, chipotle, garlic cheese sriracha!), but we are particular fans of its classic style in medium and the amazingly tangy honey hot. Oh, yeah, don’t worry: It’s got TVs, too.
THE PROS OFFER THEIR PICKS FOR BEST PLACE TO WATCH
Chris Tierney, New England Revolution
The Greatest Bar, Boston. “They have tons of TVs, on top of the big-screen projector when you want to watch big games.’’
Darrius Barnes, New England Revolution
Jerry Remy’s, Seaport, Boston. “There are tons of TVs, they have really good food, and it’s a good environment for watching games.’’
Katie Schoepfer, Boston Breakers
Tavern in the Square, Allston. “The place is huge, and every seat gives a good angle of at least two TVs. Plus, the food is awesome.’’
Kristie Mewis, Boston Breakers
Whiskey’s, Boston. “I love Whiskey’s on Boylston because it has an awesome vibe and the best buffalo wings around.’’
Heather O’Reilly, Boston Breakers
Phoenix Landing, Cambridge. “It’s an amazing place to watch games. Great atmosphere, with diehard soccer fans. But get there early if you want a seat!’’
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Kevin Alexander is an executive editor at Thrillist and writes about soccer for Esquire.com and others. Follow him on Twitter @kalexander03. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version contained a player recommendation for Joshua Tree in Allston. That location is now closed.