I don't know about you, but the last couple weeks has been exhilarating, as well as exhausting. I've been getting up around 7 a.m. most days (which I'm sure many of you consider embarrassingly late) and have spent almost every morning and early afternoon watching World Cup. Truth be told, I'm actually a little relieved that we are now beyond the 4:30 a.m. stage of games and will soon be able to focus on just two games a day pretty soon.
Of course, this is where the tournament just starts to get interesting. As such, I've tried to update this viewing guide to reflect the new realities.
Most notably, I'm now declaring Fremont the Center of the World Cup Viewing Universe (as opposed to its already established monicker of Center of the Universe...). With ECS bringing its U.S.-Ghana viewing party to the 'hood at Nectar, and the George & Dragon already drawing crowds that have reportedly pushed 500 people, I think we can safely say there are few two-block areas in America where more people will be glued to the game.
From personal experience, I can tell you that if you are planning to go to either the George & Dragon or Nectar, I'd get there early. I got to G&D for the U.S.-England match at 6 a.m. and barely got inside. I was there at 6:45 for the U.S.-Slovenia game and didn't get inside until halftime. I got there at 6:15 for the U.S.-Algeria match (which, as you remember was on a Wednesday for god's sake) and barely made it inside for that one, too. For all three matches, the beer garden (which supposedly fits about 250 people) was filled up by game time.
The atmosphere there is pretty awesome, but you definitely have to be prepared to stand in line, stand during the game and eat standing up, as well as do everything else during your time there without much hope for a seat.
Assuming there's going to be considerable overflow, I've added a few Fremont places to the list (and it should be noted that nowhere I've listed is charging a cover).
For what it's worth, I've also checked out Azzurri (pretty small, but lively crowd) and popped my head into LTD (awesome selection of hi-def big screens, but really not a footy bar) during World Cup matches. I haven't personally checked out any of the other Fremont bars during World Cup matches, but it seems like most of them have been showing the games. I can tell you that The Ballroom has recently redone its patio and seems like it would be a decent place to catch the game if the other places are too packed.
Outside of Fremont, probably my favorite place to catch a game so far was the Kangaroo & Kiwi. We were there for the Australia-Germany match, and despite the lopsided score, we had a great time. Very lively crowd and they pour one of the best Bloody Mary's I've ever had (they even muddle the lime!).
The Ballard Loft was kinda dead on the days I was there (Italy-Paraguay and Mexico-France), but they have a great patio with a hi-def TV that even has sound. Azteca Mexican restaurant in Southcenter was kinda dead when we were there (Argentina-Greece), but they are giving away vuvuzelas and have supposedly drawn solid crowds for U.S. and Mexico matches.
Feel free to share your World Cup viewing experiences here.
And just to make your viewing experience all the better, here's where you can download the World Cup Team Reference Cards. We're going to try to update them for the knockout rounds, but no promises.
Nectar: ECS will be hosting its viewing party at the Fremont nightclub, which is just down the street from the George & Dragon. I haven't tried the food, but they've recently started serving by-the-slice pizza and pulled pork sandwiches.
Nord Alley: Near Occidental Park in Pioneer Square. It looks like all the 11:30 a.m. games will be shown, as well as the quarters, semis, third-place match and championship. Admission is free and there are supposed to be food vendors there as well, but it will be a dry event. They packed in about 130 people for the U.S.-England match, but haven't been able to find out anything about the other matches.
George & Dragon (world cup schedule): The Fremont stand-by will open for all the 7 a.m. games, have a beer garden for big games and will show some of the 4:30 a.m. games, as well (check their website for details). They'll also be replaying games later in the day.
Azzurri: The wine bar/restaurant/cafe named after the Italian national team loves calcio like few others. They'll be opening for all the games.
LTD Bar & Grill: It's a pretty standard sports bar most of the time -- lots of high-def big screen TVs, shuffleboard, videogames -- but they have been making a real effort during World Cup by opening everyday by 7 a.m.
Dubliner Pub: Another place that's definitely not a footy pub most of the time, they too have been opening early for World Cup games (albeit at 11 a.m.). They are opening earlier for the U.S.-Ghana game (10 a.m.) and even earlier for the England-Germany game (6:30 a.m.) and should have breakfast available both days.
The Ballroom: They just redid their patio and even have hi-def big screens outside. They will be open at 11 a.m. for the U.S.-Ghana match.
9 Million in Unmarked Bills: Another place that's doesn't normally cater to the soccer crowd, but has been opening early for matches. They have solid food and a decent patio (although no TVs there) in the same location where the Triangle used to be.
Red Door: They have a great patio, but am not sure if there's a TV out there. They, too, will be open for the U.S.-Ghana match.
Beveridge Place Pub: Classic ale house is opening early (just 11 a.m., crazies) for the U.S.-Ghana match and at 6:30 for the England-Germany match. Can't vouch for the footy bonafides, but some of the SounderatHeart community will be meeting there.
All Nations Soccer Bar and Restaurant: If you are in the northern Seattle neighborhoods, this is as good a bet as any. They'll be open for all games, but the amount of available service will depend on the number of reservations they receive. If you plan to go, it's probably best to call ahead. At the very least, you can follow their Twitter account @AllNationsBar.
Near Green Lake
St. Andrews (world cup schedule): If you want a place that is going to join in your hatred of England, this place is apparently the real deal. The Scottish pub will be a friendly refuge for Americans looking for a sympathetic ear. All the games from here on our will be aired live. Check their schedule just to be safe.
Atlantic Crossing: One of the favorite hangouts of ECS, they'll be opening earlier than normal, but will still tape-delay most of the games that start earlier than 11:30. When the U.S. plays, however, they'll be making exceptions.
Kangaroo and Kiwi (world cup schedule): Basically across the street from St. Andrews on the west side of Green Lake (yes, I realize that means it's not really in the "Greenlake neighborhood"). Even though New Zealand and Australia have been eliminated, I'm sure it's still a good time. They will be showing all games live from here on out.
Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association: The Phinney Neighborhood Center will be showing many of the remaining games live, including U.S.-Ghana and Germany-England. This seems like a legit family event, meaning face painting and the whole 9. They have a 8'-by-14' movie screen for games, food, face-painting and free wi-fi.
The Dray: Yet another place that will be showing every game live.
Cafe Presse: Better known for its coffee and French bistro fare, this place does love its soccer. They'll be keeping pretty standard hours, but that still means they'll be open for the 7 a.m. games.
Summit Public House: Another favorite haunt of various Sounders supporters groups, they aren't showing a whole lot of games live that don't involve the U.S., but they make my list by virtue of their hosting a pig-roast for the U.S-England match.
Watertown Coffee and Saloon: They are opening at 6:30 a.m. for all World Cup days. They also have an awesome ping-pong table.
Market Arms: The long-rumored sister pub to George & Dragon is finally open. I'm sure you'll find plenty of fans there.
Ballard Loft: For whatever reason, they have no mention of World Cup festivities on their website. Yet, I know for a fact that they will be doing some fun stuff that will include happy-hour pricing from 7 a.m.-11 a.m. Plus, they are one of the places on the Sounders Pub Crawl list. I'm planning to head over there, probably Sunday.
Vague Downtown vicinity
5 Points Cafe: The famous all-night cafe will be bringing in extra TVs and already has a happy hour from 6 a.m.-9 a.m.
Fado Irish Pub: It's a chain, so I was a little surprised to find out that they are one of a handful of places that I could find that are showing all 64 matches live. If you live near Pioneer Square, it's a pretty solid choice. I understand that it's been quite lively, especially for U.S. matches.
Temple Billiards: One of the best happy hour deals in the city will be opening early for many World Cup matches.