The World Cup is back, which means it's the one time every four years that even casual U.S. sports fans pay attention to international
soccer football. While you can always watch the games at home, the event is always more fun to take in with a group of fans (also, drinks). Something about the emotion of the crowd makes the low-scoring games more compelling.
With 64 matches scheduled to be televised between now and July 13, opportunities abound to catch a game at a neighborhood bar or restaurant because just about every food or drink emporium in town plans to get in on the action. Here are some of our prime choices. Be sure and add your favorite in the comments section below.
The venerable English pub is a football-watching staple. This year, the bar has new, larger TV screens and a World Cup raffle. For every game you watch in the pub, you earn a raffle ticket for prizes like a framed and signed Germany jersey, soccer balls and other World Cup prizes and paraphernalia. Even if your team loses, you can go home a winner.
Hours: Doors open at 9 a.m. for 10:30 a.m. games.
Not only is House of Blues showing all of the games with food and drink specials, but the downtown emporium is throwing quite the party to get excited for the matches. Kick It! Live, a Brazilian Bash will take place Friday. Check out the website for more information.
Hours: Open for all matches, Happy hour 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
With three projectors and 10 different TVs showing every game with full sound, El Big Bad is not messing around when it comes to their viewing party. Chef Jonathan Jones will be serving wings along with other daily specials including $5 fresh juice and 100% Blue Agave house margaritas.
Hours: Doors open at 10 a.m. on match days.
Besides televising every World Cup game with signature World Cup Budweiser cans and the chance to win a trip to Las Vegas for the ultimate viewing party, Local Pour is kicking off Team USA's inaugural appearance on Monday June 16 with a celebration. Houston Dynamo players Corey Ashe, Giles Barnes and teammates will be in attendance and available for pictures and autographs at the River Oaks hotspot. Team USA goes up against Ghana, with a 5:30 p.m. start time. Doors open at 4 p.m. and a suggested donation at the door will benefit Houston Dynamo Charities.
Hours: Monday through Thursday 4 p.m. - 2 a.m., Friday 3 p.m. - 2 a.m., Saturday 4 p.m. - 2 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.
This newly opened downtown, South African rugby pub is open for World Cup viewing even though its kitchen isn't quite ready to serve food. Cheer on your team with $5 wells and $1 off beers while enjoying free bar bites. Get the traditional South African experience and try a shandy, available in a variety of seasonal flavors.
Hours: 3 p.m and on for all World Cup games.
For a more reserved viewing, watch your team on the four plasma HDTVs at the bar, dining room or patio while enjoying $4 house white and red wine, $5 sangrias, $7 select cocktails and $3 beer options including an extensive selection of beers from World Cup participating countries.
Hours: 11 a.m. - 2:30, 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Phoenicia's MKT Bar is showing every game with Messi 60oz craft beer pitchers ($15), Ronaldo international beer bottles for $1 off and Pirlo's pizza specials for $2 off.
Hours: Monday through Wednesday 7 a.m. - 10 p.m., Thursday through Friday 7 a.m. - 2 a.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 2 a.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
The popular craft beer ice house in the Heights is extending its regular hours to broadcast all of the games. Sip on the signature frozen shandy and chow down on food created by chef Steven Ripley. Non-alcoholic beverages are available as well.
Hours: Monday through Friday 3 p.m. - Midnight, Saturday Noon - 1 a.m. and Sunday Noon - Midnight
There aren't any drink specials currently on their website, but this German bar has been a reoccurring hot spot for Fußball — and the German team is a favorite to win the World Cup. The bar will be sure to open early, at 11 a.m., for a number of games.
Hours: Monday through Wednesday 4 p.m. - Midnight, Thursday through Friday 4 p.m. - 2 a.m., Saturday Noon - 2 a.m. and Sunday Noon - Midnight.
This hot spot for craft food and beer has decided to open its doors early at 11 a.m. Friday June 13, June 20 and June 27. IT will also open at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday June 26 for fans of the U.S. vs. Germany game.
Hours: Monday through Friday 3 p.m. - 2 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Need even more World Cup options? Check out these other sporty spots around town: McElroy's, Galway Hooker Irish Pub, Pimlico and The League Brewpub. While we think these picks are solid, anyone with a rooting interest for a specific country should check out this excellent breakdown at Houstonia. Confused about the whole thing? Vox answers 10 basic questions.
Now that you have an ample amount of viewing spots, all you have to worry about is coordinating your own viewing schedule.