NORTH CENTER — GOOOAAAAALLLL!
World Cup 2014 is here, and there's no better way to catch FIFA fever than to watch a match with a crowd, and a beer in hand. Several local pubs will be featuring coverage for the duration of the tournament.
The Globe Pub, 1934 W. Irving Park Road, takes its futbol seriously and will be televising every single match, from Thursday's opener between Brazil and Croatia to the July 13 final. The Globe is a popular hangout for hardcore futbol fans, meaning it's a great place for the uninitiated to absorb the intricacies of the sport via osmosis but don't even think about asking the bartenders to turn the channel to the Cubs game.
Patty Wetli chats about how everyone can get involved in World Cup action:
Given its international theme, it only makes sense for Grand Tour, 2434 W. Montrose Ave., to go wall-to-wall World Cup as well. In honor of the tournament's host country, the restaurant's monthly "tour" menu features Brazilian-inspired dishes. Wash it down with Barcelona's beer of choice, Estrella Damm, keep the glass, and bring it back for $4 refills throughout the tournament.
The Grafton, 4530 N. Lincoln Ave., will be open during all games and promises to have audio whenever possible. Best bets are the early matches, which get underway at 11 a.m. — so schedule your "lunch meetings" accordingly, especially if you have your heart set on catching Colombia vs. Ivory Coast.
Templestowe Pub, 3135 W. Montrose Ave., is Irving Park's World Cup headquarters. Keep in mind, co-owner John Sheahan hails from Down Under, so be prepared to cheer for the Aussies, who debut Friday against Chile. Order a Coopers Original Pale Ale, brewed in Australia, unlike the F-word (shhh, it's Foster's).
Sprechen sie deutsche? Then you'll want to catch World Cup action at DANK Haus, the German American Cultural Center, 4740 N. Western Ave. DANK is hosting viewing parties — free and open to all — during Germany's matches: June 16, June 21, June 26 and future dates if the team progresses. Food and beverages will be available for purchase and there's even a family friendly area staffed by professional au pairs.
Ireland didn't qualify for the tourney, but The Atlantic, 5062 N. Lincoln Ave., which bills itself as Lincoln Square's "authentic Irish soccer bar," is being a good sport and televising all the matches anyway. They're also raffling off free soccer parties and a World Cup Trophy replica to folks who watch multiple games at the bar.
For newcomers to futbol and the World Cup, here are a few quick tips:
· Team USA first takes to the field June 16 vs. Ghana, which has knocked the Americans out of the previous two tournaments. Do not get too attached to the U.S. crew — Las Vegas odds have the squad pegged as a 100-to-1 underdog. Algeria is the longest long shot at 2,000-to-1.
· Elle magazine has a photo gallery of the hottest players in the tournament. You're welcome.
· Leave the vuvuzuela at home. That was a South African thing, not a World Cup thing, and FIFA banned it after the instrument's 2010 global assault on humankind's eardrums. Brazil pre-emptively banned the caxirola — it makes a hissing sound when shaken — which was threatening to become vuvuzuela 2.0.
· Bored? Play "spot the WAG." That's futbol-speak for wives and girlfriends, and WAGs are a pop culture phenomenon all their own. Posh Spice used to be Queen of the WAGs, which is an official title in England.