Pioneer Square Loves the World Cup

You may have noticed a lot of people disappearing for 2 hours today around lunch. Yes, the most popular sporting event in the world is upon us.

The World Cup is our opportunity every four years to complain about how countries the size of Nigeria, France and Chile can possibly create more soccer talent than the U.S.

For the uninitiated, we’re talking about a 32 team, four week affair, being hosted in 12 cities in Brazil. These 32 teams are the final survivors of a 3 year, 200+ country tournament that has seen countries like Sweden, Norway, South Africa, Egypt and China disqualified.

With games in Brazil, the first round will feature three to four games a day for two weeks at 9:00am, 12:00pm and 3:00pm. Not perfect, but it does allow the opportunity to watch games at breakfast, lunch or happy hour.

If you aren’t a soccer fan, don’t worry. The cheering, the singing and the excitement will draw you in. And to help you out, here are a few talking points you can use that will keep you from looking like a total newbie. Just memorize these, throw them out in conversation and let the others start debating. You’ll get all the credit.

1) I think we’re going to be better off without Donovan.
2) Is this the year an African team can make a deep run?
3) Who do you think is a more likely sleeper? Belgium, Switzerland, Chile or Columbia?

Now, if you think you can just wander into a bar for a U.S. game, you’ll likely spend 90 minutes out on the sidewalk listening to the cheers and jeers. You may need multiple options for your viewing, in case one or more bars are packed to the gills long before kickoff. Luckily, Pioneer Square is a hotbed of soccer bars. But with so many people working within walking distance, most places may be packed throughout the day. Here are some options:

The Crazy Ones:
Expect these spots to fill up early. Maybe you can send someone to save you a table several hours earlier, but expect chaos.

Fuel: 164 S Washington St – It’s the home of the Emerald City Supporters. Expect crowds for every game, especially U.S. matches.
Fado: 801 1st Ave – This Irish bar is a soccer fan’s staple.
Owl and Thistle: 808 Post Ave – Located just behind Fado in Post Alley, it fills up with regulars and Fado overflow.

The Hit and Miss:
It’s hard to know if these places will be overflowing with fans, or just capitalizing on the chance to open a little early.
FX McCrory’s: 419 Occidental Ave S – It’s Seattle’s original sports bar and it’s right across the street.
The Lodge: 166 S King St – It’s a newer Pioneer Square sports bar…. And also right across the street.
McCoy’s Firehouse: 164 S Washington St – When you can’t get into Fuel, walk across the street to McCoy’s. It’s a fun place to watch a game.
Easy Joe’s: 704 1st Ave – This the closest spot to Fado that may not be completely overcrowded.
The J+M Café: 201 1st Ave S – It’s a classic Seattle bar.
Temple Billiards: 126 S Jackson St – A favorite for the soccer crowd pre-game. But be warned – there aren’t a lot of large TV’s to view the games.

The Stadium District:
On Mariners and Sounders game days, these spots are filled to the brim. But they are usually pretty quiet on the other days of the week. Give them a call to make sure they are going to be open for the game you want to watch.
Sluggers: 538 1st Ave S – Tall and skinny with lots of tv’s. Within about 100 yards of your front door.
Elysian Fields: 542 1st Ave S – You have to check to make sure they’re open but that won’t be tough since it’s right across the street.
The Hawks Nest: 1028 1st Ave S – It’s traditionally a Sounders and Seahawks bar, but may be a spot off the beaten path for the World Cup games.
Jimmy’s On First: 1046 1st Ave S – It’s a pre-Mariners hangout. But they may have some of the best wings in town.
Pyramid Alehouse: 1201 1st Ave S – You may know it for the beer garden before Mariners games, but on quieter days there’s a bar inside with plenty of TV’s.
Henry’s Tavern: 1518 1st Ave S – Good food, a nice place to watch games and a little off the beaten path on non Mariner days.

If you find a top spot to watch games, share it with your fellow residents here.

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