10 Great American Soccer Bars

Take in the World Cup action this summer at these spots where fans of the beautiful game congregate regularly.

By: Jason Horn
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Photo By: ©iStockphoto.com/Schroptschop

Photo By: Courtesy of Lion's Pride

Photo By: Courtesy of Més Que

Photo By: Courtesy of Brewhouse Pub

Photo By: Finn McCool's

Photo By: Courtesy of Smithfield Hall

Photo By: Courtesy of The Greyhound

Photo By: Amsterdam Tavern

Photo By: Courtesy of The Globe

Photo By: Courtesy of 4-4-2 Soccer Bar

Photo By: Courtesy of Phoenix Landing

The Beautiful Game

Americans might not quite be into soccer in the same proportions as the people of, well, pretty much any other country on Earth. But in most US cities, there’s at least one establishment where you’ll find football fanatics, dedicated aficionados up at odd hours to catch the latest action from all around the world — UEFA Champions League to Mexico’s Liga MX (and even our homegrown Major League Soccer).

If you’re looking for a spot to watch the FIFA World Cup this summer, your best bet will be one of these bars. Sure, any sports bar will have the action on TV, but the most enjoyable way to watch the beautiful game is surrounded by screaming devotees with a personal stake in every touch — especially since the United States didn’t qualify for the 2018 tournament. Here are 10 pubs to check out during the World Cup this June and July.

Lion's Pride | Orlando, Fla.

Located just four blocks from Orlando City Stadium, home of Orlando City SC of the MLS and Orlando Pride of the NWSL, Lion’s Pride is in an obvious spot for a soccer bar. (It even houses an official merchandise shop for both local teams.) The massive space features a 200-inch big screen and more than 40 other TVs, a collection of World Cup balls signed by superstar players and an upstairs "owner’s suite" you can reserve for a private watch party. The food menu runs the gamut from tuna poke tacos to fried Wisconsin cheese curds to grilled filet mignon.

Més Que | Buffalo, N.Y.

Més que means "more than" in Catalan, the language of Barcelona, which should give you a big clue as to the main team this place pulls for. And indeed, Més que does show lots of games from Spain’s La Liga, along with plenty of other international competition. In a real rarity among sports bars, its specialty is cocktails: There’s an extensive spirits list and a seasonally rotating menu of complex mixological creation. Pastas, pizzas and a variety of paella-inspired meat-and-rice dishes make up the eclectic and elevated food menu.

Brewhouse Cafe | Atlanta, Ga.

Set in the heart of Atlanta’s Bohemian Little Five Points neighborhood, Brewhouse Cafe has catered to international soccer fans for more than 20 years. Local fans of Premier League clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as the hometown Atlanta United of Major League Soccer, all gather at Brewhouse to watch matches throughout the season. This summer, the bar will be open early to show every single match of the World Cup live. Brewhouse Cafe has a dive-bar charm but a fairly extensive beer list and a full kitchen that pumps out everything from Scottish-style sausage rolls to hummus to hot wings. There's even a brunch menu for those early morning games.

Finn McCool's | New Orleans, La.

Originally opened by a set of Irish expats, Finn McCool’s had been a hangout for European soccer fans in the Crescent City for years before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. And afterward, it became a center for rebuilding and recovery in its neighborhood. Today, Finn McCool’s is still going strong as a neighborhood institution, with indoor and outdoor screens showing soccer as well as rugby, Gaelic football and hurling, not to mention a fantastic pub quiz every Monday night.

Smithfield Hall | New York, N.Y.

From the old-school leather soccer ball in its logo to the 70-foot bar top made from reclaimed vintage warehouse wood, Smithfield Hall feels like one of those classic New York bars that’s been around forever. There’s a truly diverse set of football fandom on display: The place is the official home of some 14 different supporters’ clubs, for teams as far away as Germany, England and Brazil and as close as the South Bronx. The food and drink menus are surprisingly sophisticated, with dozens of whiskies and beers on offer along with steamed shrimp buns, pulled pork sliders, and chicken & waffles.

The Greyhound | Los Angeles, Calif.

Many American soccer bars cater to fans of lots of different teams; The Greyhound is all about Tottenham Hotspur. It’s home to LA’s official supporters’ club for the London-based team, which placed third in the Premier League this year and will contribute several players to the England national team in the World Cup. But of course, The Greyhound will be showing all the games. The kitchen here has mastered the art of deep-frying, offering wings, chicken tenders, cauliflower-based "veggie wings," cheese curds and French fries cooked crisp and decorated with a wide variety of sauces and toppings.

Amsterdam Tavern | St. Louis, Mo.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Amsterdam Tavern is a pilgrimage site for soccer fans from across the Midwest. It’s a beer-focused bar, with a rotating selection of 17 taps and more than 30 different brews by the bottle. Keep an eye out for special collaboration beers created with local breweries that you can only get here, like GOAL!den Ale (get it?) from Civil Life, and if you get hungry, you can order a gourmet burger, hot dog or Belgian-style fries from The Dam, which shares the same building. There’s also a massive outdoor patio, ideal for World Cup action when the weather’s nice and the inside bar is packed.

The Globe Pub | Chicago, Ill.

The Globe opened way back in 2004 as a traditional British-style pub focused on soccer and beer, and it’s among the Windy City’s best spots for both, carrying more than 400 beers and showing matches from around the world. The spot’s been closed since April getting a big makeover for the World Cup, but it’ll be reopening June 8 with state-of-the-art TVs, a new kitchen with an updated menu of pub food, a bar newly extended to 50 feet long and more.

4-4-2 Soccer Bar | Portland, Ore.

Even this bar’s name shows its deep soccer-geekery: 4-4-2 is one of the more common tactical setups in the sport, featuring four defenders, four midfielders and two forwards. The bar’s owner is Bosnian and the menu is full of flavors from his homeland like cevapi, beef-and-lamb patties served on house-made bread with a garlicky eggplant spread called ajvar and sis, a spicy house-made sausage. It’ll be open early for all the World Cup games, and if you’re in before noon, you should definitely try the eggs with bacon-like peka, thinly sliced smoked beef, for breakfast.

Phoenix Landing | Cambridge, Mass.

Phoenix Landing might be the only sports bar-slash-nightclub I know of. By day, you’ll find Premier League games, Six Nations Rugby and of course the Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins and New England Patriots playing on TV. But after 10 PM every night, a different DJ takes over (Monday is reggae and dancehall night, for example, and Thursdays are for drum 'n’ bass) and turns the place into a bumping discotheque. During the World Cup, you’ll be able to stick around from morning all the way until, well, the next morning.

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