What is the World Cup American Experience Like?

One of the many reasons why I love experiencing the World Cup in the United States is the passion shown by all of the different ethnicities.

During a World Cup, when I walk into an Italian pizzeria and see a poster of the Italy national team photo hanging up on the wall in the kitchen, it brings a smile to my face. Or when I walk into a traditional Mexican restaurant and see a sea of green, white and red colors lighting up the room. Or the Brazilian restaurants where the samba music escapes out of the building and into the streets where it’s met with the sight of yellow and green shirts and flags.

Then, of course, there are the British pubs filled with happy and drunken Englishmen. Going into one of those pubs is like walking into a cavern and then being blinded by the sun as you walk out delirious after another England penalty nightmare.

The one major thing that’s missing however is the American identity of a World Cup. What American restaurants or bars or buildings can one enjoy the World Cup which are truly American and have an American feel about them? Sports bars are okay but how many truly American sports bars are welcoming the World Cup with open arms this summer? Pubs are great, but many of them focus on British culture rather than something American.

But then what is American culture? Is it not a melting pot of cultures from around the world?

If I had to picture what an American World Cup experience should be like this summer, I would focus on what America does best. Great customer service, excellent traditional American food, a clean and smoke-free establishment, big television sets and a state-of-the-art sound system. British pubs are wonderful experiences, but they’re often cramped, smoky, hot and the service is usually disappointing. What America needs is a venue they can visit where they feel comfortable. Center stage would be a massive HD television set (or a wall where a crystal-clear image of the TV picture is projected). The sound system would allow you to hear the commentary above the din of the crowd. There would be the Star Spangled Banner hanging from the walls and ceiling. The food would be the burgers, wings, ribs, hot dogs variety — all cooked to perfection. And topping it all off would the exuberance shown by the waitstaff who would be conscientious, attentive and would serve up a steady flow of food and drinks to satisfy any customer.

Does such an establishment exist? Perhaps, but I’m not aware of it.

The 2010 World Cup is time for American bars and restaurants to realize how profitable a World Cup can be for them. Sure, many of the games are on in the mornings, but the weekend afternoon games will be an ideal opportunity for the restaurant business to make good money during hard times. Whether they’ll wise up to it, let’s wait and see.

19 thoughts on “What is the World Cup American Experience Like?”

  1. gaffer, like you said we are a melting pot. for instance im a cuban-american that loves soccer and rugby. and i meet lots of fellow hispanic americans that love the states not just in soccer but in all aspects. when im not watching the epl in the morning or afternoon im always watching the mls and i know everything in english football from the epl to league 1 not league 2 though, but my national team is the stars and stripes. i live in miami and i have to go to churchills or murphys because the latin pubs are not u.s. friendly.

  2. I’ll take an English or Irish Pub over a traditional American sports bar any day of the week. Theres something to be said for atmosphere and legitimately interested company vs. awful beer and the equivalent of a HOOTERS showing a football match. And that has nothing to do with who I support (England) and everything to do with what/who/how I prefer my surroundings to be.

  3. Unfortunately the vast majority of US sports bars are more likely to be showing some random baseball game on a summer weekend afternoon.

  4. I know of a few great bars (American) that are focusing their efforts on the World Cup as a selling point knowing that lots of bars will not be showing the games. I think this WC cycle is different thanks to the promotional time that ESPN has on all its platforms. Everyone I know at least knows that the WC is near. I can’t wait to be a part of all the excitement watching the games at these establishments.

  5. Found this place last year on west 33rd street in NYC called Stout.
    Big, open, airy, decent food & service. (megapub?)
    A huge mix of patrons during Champions League, lots of screens.

  6. If you don’t want an English or Irish pub, look for beer bars. If the owners are committed to having 80+ beers they probably have a worldly bent and that probably means that at least one of the owners is a football fan. I can do without the restaurant angle though myself.

  7. I have to agree that the European experience of watching “football” is much better. If for nothing else, avoiding crap beer. :-) If you want the American experience though and are in Houston TX try Lucky’s. Giant screens, warehouse atmosphere, reasonable beer selection, and reasonable food for Americans though I find it a bit pricey.

  8. The pizza place that I go to has a huge poster of the Italian team holding up the Cup after winning in 2006 in the take out section. My family and I were at get together at the same place and they were showing the 08 Euros at the bar. But I only go to an Irish Pub in the neighboring city to watch soccer. They actually filmed a commercial at the pub during the FA Cup Final that is going to air on ESPN to promote the WC.

  9. Its pretty easy here in San Francisco.Theres tons of Euro & Latin immigrants,so theres football everywhere….At least three dedicated football bars i can think of the top of my head.Of course theres alway the “soccer” haters…but people here generally pride themselves on being worldly.There will be no shortage of places to watch games,even down to the smallest taqueria…..In ’06 for the final,we even had a giant screen up in Dolores park with a couple thousand people watching!

  10. There is a cool place in San Diego called O’Briens American Pub. It’s small, but it’s a pro American crowd. They made news during World Cup qualifying. When the U.S. vs Honduras game was only being shown on closed circuit tv in a few places in the United States, O’Briens had the game. (The game where if the U.S. won, they would qualify for the WC, which they did) They wouldn’t allow Honduran fans in the pub for the match. That’s my kind of place, where you actually feel like your in the United States, not some foreign country.

    1. They wouldn’t allow in Honduran fans? That would be a foreign country to the United States that I knew.

  11. There is such a place with the exact American experience you described above. Welcome to ESPN Zone. The food is great( Love their ribs and burgers), they have a huge screen, a second floor with games and tvs all over the place so you don’t have to miss a thing, and their service is great. This is the place to go for the world cup. They have a few locations all over the US. If you want to learn more about just go to espnzone.com

  12. JUNT:
    How is that stupid not allowing fans of the opposing team in the bar if it’s a place for US Soccer fans to go to? That’s not American. It’s like that all over the world…pubs in England, U.S., Spain, etc. It’s obvious one of the reasons places do that is to avoid trouble between the groups of supporters. It’s like that at certains bars/pubs for NFL games as well. Here in California, there are so many places that won’t allow Raiders fans due to the trouble they cause.

    1. If it were a specific club (not a national team) I’d almost maybe kind of understand the segregation/non-inclusion. But at the same time, I have a hard time likening anything football (not american football) related going on in the US to anything going on supprt-wise in say England. For as minimally popular/followed a sport as soccer is in the US, it seems completely counter-productive for a pub/bar/restaurant/whatever-it-may-be to choose who is welcome. Again, I’m speaking strictly from a soccer point of view. Comparing Raiders supporters/fans and whoever to any other team playing that may r may not have some fans in the area doesn’t really match up to me. I’m in Philadelphia. I have a local that I’m at weekend after weekend, and mid-week if a match is on or if I want t have a pop in and say hello to the staff who’ve become friends. Theres a mix of supporters there every weekend. Sometimes it gets awkward/heated but it is what it is. Its a passionate game with passionate fans. But the notion of disallowing a group based on who they support, especially with regards to national teams — where, in my eyes, dislike and ignorance really has no place as its a world game — just doesn’t make sense to me. Again – one mans opinion. If it were club teams I’d have a completely different point of view hah.

  13. If your in New York City and watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup visit some these great Irish Pubs:
    Playwright Tavern- 202 West 49th Street (between 7 Ave and Broadway)
    Playwright Celtic Pub- 732 8 Ave (between 46th and 45th Street)
    Playwright Irish Pub- 27 West 35th Street ( between 5ave and 6 Ave)
    Hurleys Saloon- 232 West 48th Street ( between 8 Ave and Broadway)
    Legends- 6 West 33rd Street (Between 5 Ave and Broadway)
    Jack Demsey’s Pub- 36 West 33rd Street (Between 5 Ave and Broadway)
    Bourbon Street- 346 West 46th Street (Between 8Ave and 9 Ave)

    TV’s everywhere with surround sound, cold drinks and good food all in a great envirorment. COME WATCH YOUR TEAM WIN.

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