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The world’s most widely viewed sporting event is finally upon us.
While your choice of team to root for is likely an easy one (unless you’ve got dual citizenship), where to watch the game won’t be. Denver has seen an uptick in the number of soccer bars since the last World Cup in 2010, when your choices were either a stool at The British Bulldog or a wonky internet live stream.
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This year, whether it’s an old standby, a newly minted soccer bar, or the odd viewing party, there are plenty of options for a spot to watch the tournament in Denver. Here’s where you can find us posted up for the games over the next month.
The company that owns British Bulldog doubled down in 2011 when they opened The Three Lions, the Bulldog’s bigger, fancier (see: the ten-person, serve yourself “tap tables”) brother. It paid off: Three Lions is regularly packed for the big games. And when it comes to the World Cup, they’re all big games.
What to expect: Both bars will be at capacity for almost every game (sorry Korea Republic vs. Algeria). If you can’t grab your spot at 7 a.m. on a Monday, the bars are auctioning off reservations for tables on eBay and donating the proceeds to the Denver chapter of America Scores, an organization that provides soccer and creative writing programs to at-risk youths.
Atmosphere: Both bars are tacking on outdoor expansions on to their spaces during the tournament, if that gives you any idea. Three Lions will feature an outdoor beer garden on the shady east side of its building from the opening game through the final, featuring food and drink for famished fans.
But the British Bulldog takes the cake: The pub will spill out into a street closure on Stout between Broadway and 21st Street for the quarter-final (July 4, 5), semi-final (July 8, 9), and the U.S.’s games against Ghana and Portugal (June 16 and 22nd). For the U.S.’s game against Germany (June 26) and the World Cup final (July 13), that closure will expand to all of 21st Street between Broadway and California, enough space for “between four and six-thousand people,” according to Three Lions manager Jon Forget. And what’s a big crowd without a big screen? “We acquired the largest Jumbotron in the state of Colorado: a 17×24 foot screen with HD technology,” says Forget.
Specials: Each space will open three hours before kickoff each day. A unique World Cup menu will be offered, including breakfast dishes (try the two-egg smoked pork curry with chutney and pita bread) served all day.
The Three Lions, 2239 E Colfax Ave., 303-997-6886; The British Bulldog, 2052 Stout St., 303-295-7974
The only barchain on our list has good reasons for being here—21 of them, to be exact.
That’s how many screens Fado’s Irish Pub will have at their disposal for each of the 64 World Cup matches. The bar bought five of them just for the World Cup—four for the patio and one 50-inch screen inside. As if their stance wasn’t clear, they’ll also have a projector up and running for the matches, so even if you try and look away, you’ll still see the game. If you’re feeling lucky, compete with the Fado’s across the country and fill out one of their World Cup brackets for the chance to win a bar tab, private party, and of course, a 60-inch HD TV. And, if you somehow manage guess each match correctly, you’ll win a million dollars.
What to expect: Aside from a score of TVs, the Dutch. During the 2010 games, the bar attracted hundreds of Netherlands fans. The contingent of Holland supporters will return this year to cheer the Orangemen on to what they’re hoping will be their second World Cup final in a row.
Specials: Discounted beer and food pairings. Check out special pairing menu here.
1735 19th St, Denver., 303-297-0066
The office is brand-spanking new—it just opened its doors last week—which means it’s untested. It also means you’re more likely to find a spot at the 5,000 square-foot bar and dining area, two sun rooms and outdoor seating for over a hundred people.
What to expect: The Office will have ten TVs around the bar playing the games throughout the tournament, and a 12-by-7-foot projector to show the “match of the day.” Though they won’t have their full-menu ready in time, you can snack on bar food like tacos, crepes, wings, and curries during matches. At halftime, you can step out to one of its two patios and play horseshoes and bocce ball.
Atmosphere: Spacious and mellow compared to others…we think.
Specials: $1 off all of its 25 beers on tap throughout the tournament.
7800 E Colfax Avenue., 720-484-6571
If you’re looking for a World Cup viewing experience that won’t petrify the kids, Skyline Park is perfect—for a few days, at least. This weekend, the park will host The World Soccer Celebration, a four-day viewing party that culminates on Monday afternoon with the United States’ first game of the tournament.
What to expect: Budweiser has sponsored a beer garden for the event, but there’ll be plenty of entertainment for your little ones, too. Kids can get their faces painted, marvel at jugglers, and meet previous World Cup alumni and a few Rapids players. The weekend’s 13 games will be shown in two viewing areas, including a 20-foot screen in the main viewing area.
Atmosphere: Kid-friendly and casual.
Specials: Infinite elbow room.
Arapahoe St. between 16th St. Mall and 17th St., 303-534-6161
When Brazil plays Croatia on Thursday, June 12, Cap Hill’s tried-and-true Govnr’s Park will switch into soccer mode and stay there for most of the subsequent weeks. (There are still Stanley Cup and NBA Finals games to be played, after all.) Unlike the rest of these venues, they’ll accept reservations for tables throughout the World Cup, though patio seating is first-come, first-serve.
What to expect: Prizes and competitions. Look for members of the Colorado Rapids’ street team to swing by with giveaways and promotion deals. Fill out a World Cup bracket à la the NCAA tournament for your chance to win one of four prizes.
Atmosphere: Classic sports bar camaraderie, mixed with a touch of post-match know-it-alls on Wednesday on account of trivia night.
Specials: Discounts on Heineken, Newcastle, Tecate, and Modelo.
672 Logan St., 303 831-8605