Northeast Times

Navigating the World Cup

  • Vice President Chris Hess serves a German beer at Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, a popular spot for watching the World Cup. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

  • Joe Fonseca (left) and Jose Bobyn talk sports at Tio Pepe’s.

  • Cannstatter President Wilhelm Glaeser (left) and Lindsay Mack raise their glasses.

Per­haps the late Frank Zappa best de­scribed the re­la­tion­ship between in­ter­na­tion­al foot­ball and beer: “You can’t be a real coun­try un­less you have a beer and an air­line. It helps if you have some kind of a foot­ball team, or some nuc­le­ar weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.”

For the next month or so, 32 of the world’s best soc­cer na­tions will gath­er in Brazil for the 20th edi­tion of the quad­ren­ni­al World Cup. And reser­voirs full of mal­ted bever­ages will be served at bars, pubs, tav­erns and lounges around the globe as hun­dreds of mil­lions of fans sa­vor the ul­ti­mate show­case for the most pop­u­lar sport on Earth.

Thanks to ES­PN, most Amer­ic­ans won’t have to leave their own liv­ing rooms to view every match on the sched­ule, which starts on June 12 and con­cludes with the Ju­ly 13 fi­nal. But that’s no fun when there’s beer to be had among friends, is it?

The good news for folks in the Great­er North­east is that you don’t have to trudge down­town (and back) to catch the ac­tion. There are plenty of loc­al tap­rooms where the matches can be viewed while en­joy­ing all that the cul­tur­ally di­verse North­east has to of­fer.

So here are some of the most ec­lect­ic, soc­cer-friendly ven­ues. This list is by no means com­pre­hens­ive, but it’s a great start. Matches kick off as early as noon and as late as 6 p.m. East­ern, and are sched­uled every day through June 26. Most days will fea­ture three or four games. Six­teen teams ad­vance in­to the knock­out stages start­ing June 28.

Grey Lodge Pub

• 6235 Frank­ford Ave., 215-856-3591, www.greylodge.com: The World Cup may be the ul­ti­mate in­ter­na­tion­al event, but fans in­ter­ested in see­ing it from a dis­tinctly Amer­ic­an — and par­tic­u­larly Phil­adelphi­an — per­spect­ive can’t go wrong at the Grey Lodge. This May­fair des­tin­a­tion has for years garnered na­tion­al re­cog­ni­tion for its vast ar­ray of craft beers, many of which are brewed loc­ally.

The Lodge of­fers a dozen mi­cro­brews on draft and con­stantly ro­tates the taps. It also has 40 vari­et­ies in bottles and cans, in­clud­ing about 30 mi­cros. The first-floor bar has four large flat screens, with two more in the up­stairs bar. For snacks, the Lodge is also a cut above typ­ic­al pub fare with a cre­at­ive mix of apps pre­pared freshly on-site.

As a soc­cer bar, the Lodge has a built-in corps of fans who show up for af­ter­noon European league games, as well as Phil­adelphia Uni­on tele­casts. In fact, the Lodge is an of­fi­cial Uni­on Pub Part­ner.

Cannstat­ter Volks­fest Ver­ein

• 9130 Academy Road, 215-332-0121, www.cvvphilly.com: If Old World charm is what you’re after, look no fur­ther than Cannstat­ter’s, the ven­er­able Ger­man-Amer­ic­an so­cial club and ca­ter­ing hall in the Far North­east. Foun­ded in 1873, the club is al­most as old as Eng­land’s Foot­ball As­so­ci­ation, pred­at­ing the in­aug­ur­al World Cup by six dec­ades.

The pub­lic is in­vited to en­joy the World Cup matches at the CVV bar with its 12 beers on tap, in­clud­ing eight Ger­man and Bel­gian im­ports, as well as its two gi­ant flat screens and four smal­ler sets. Ger­many and United States matches will be the biggest draw, with the squads sched­uled to go head-to-head on June 26 at noon. The club plans to of­fer beer and food spe­cials.

In ad­di­tion to play­ing in the same group, Ger­many and the U.S. have oth­er strong links. The U.S. head coach, Jur­gen Klins­mann, was a star striker for Ger­many in the 1980s and ’90s. Five play­ers on the U.S. team grew up in Ger­many and are eli­gible for the U.S. team by hav­ing at least one Amer­ic­an par­ent.

Cafe Michelan­gelo

• 11901 Bustleton Ave., 215-698-2233, www.cafemichelan­gelo.com: In Italy, home of the Ro­man Cath­ol­ic church, soc­cer is more than sport. By many ac­counts, it is also re­li­gion.

As travel au­thor and TV host Rick Steves notes on his web­site, Itali­ans play their foot­ball on Sunday, then talk about it from Monday to Sat­urday. The na­tion’s most pop­u­lar pa­per is ded­ic­ated to the sport and pub­lished its best-selling edi­tion in 1982 after the na­tion­al team — known as the Azzuri — won the third of its four World Cup trophies. Only Brazil has more with five.

At Cafe Michelan­gelo, soc­cer is al­ways a fest­ive oc­ca­sion. Jer­seys hang from the rafters of the covered patio bar. For the World Cup, the ven­ue will show the ac­tion on a pro­jec­tion screen and eight flat screens. Guests may al­tern­ately choose seat­ing in the at­ri­um.

There will be drink and food spe­cials, along with draw­ings for World Cup mem­or­ab­il­ia. And after the matches, weath­er per­mit­ting, pat­rons can choose sides for a bocce match on the Cafe’s own courts.

King’s Corner

• 603 Sum­mit Ave., Jen­k­in­town, 215-758-2402, www.king­scorner­pub.com: Much like Philly sports fans, Eng­lish soc­cer fans have a bit of a checkered past. As a group, they are among the most de­voted in the world. Yet, when the top­ic of hoo­ligan­ism arises, it’s usu­ally the Eng­lish who come to mind.

Con­versely, King’s Corner is a laid-back pub with a Scot­tish theme where both the St. An­drew’s Cross and St. George’s Cross fly in har­mony. Con­ver­ted from a cen­tury-old house in quaint Jen­k­in­town, the de­cor evokes an an­cient castle with stone walls, iron chan­deliers and tartan drapes, seem­ingly cut from the same fab­ric as the wait­ress’ skirts.

There are four flatscreens in the bar and three in the din­ing room. You’ll find 13 crafts and im­ports on tap, such as Bel­haven Scot­tish Ale and Well’s Bom­bardier. More than 100 bottle vari­et­ies are in stock. Carls­bergs cost $4 for all World Cup games, while pat­rons can win Uni­on tick­ets and jer­seys dur­ing U.S. and Eng­land matches. Groups can con­tact bar­tender Tom in ad­vance via tommy.w.dav­id­son@gmail.com.

Mink

• 146 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville, 267-288-5040, www.mink­lounge.com: Just so you know, no furry an­im­als were harmed in the mak­ing of this European up­scale-style lounge. However, Mink qual­i­fies as one of the new­er and more-exot­ic ven­ues on this list.

Foun­ded four years ago by a couple of Ukrain­i­an guys, Mink is usu­ally air­ing a soc­cer match for its di­verse cli­en­tele. The metro-Euro de­cor fea­tures lots of col­or­ful back-light­ing, mul­tiple disco balls, shiny bead cur­tains and a dance floor with DJ booth.

The in­ter­na­tion­al theme con­tin­ues with the beer se­lec­tion. There are some 30 on tap, in­clud­ing Ger­man im­ports, Grolsch from Hol­land and the soc­cer staple, Carls­berg. Pints of Carls­berg will sell for $4 dur­ing matches. Rus­sia games are ex­pec­ted to draw big crowds, as are Brazil, Spain, Hol­land, Eng­land, Italy and the U.S., to name a few.

Tio Pepe

• 6618 Castor Ave., 215-742-4775, www.face­book.com/Ti­oPepeRes­taur­ant­Bar: Eight years ago, the North­east Times pub­lished a fea­ture about the soc­cer fans of Por­tugal and Brazil who flocked to Tio Pepe to watch the 2006 World Cup, mostly be­cause they shared not one, but two com­mon lan­guages — Por­tuguese and “fute­bol.”

This time around, Tio Pepe (which trans­lates in­to the Eng­lish “Uncle Joe”) is still the place to be for Por­tugal fans, al­though some of their coun­ter­parts may find new­er Brazil-cent­ric ven­ues more to their lik­ing. Non­ethe­less, Tio Pepe draws a large Span­ish-speak­ing cli­en­tele as well, per­haps be­cause of the pop­ular­ity of Por­tugal star Cris­ti­ano Ron­aldo, who plays his club soc­cer for Real Mad­rid and is widely con­sidered the best foot­baller in the world.

Soc­cer jer­seys and scarves cov­er the walls, while au­then­t­ic Por­tuguese beers, stews and sauces grace the menu. Matches will be shown on a pro­jec­tion screen and oth­er sets throughout the bar.

The Piazza at Schmidt’s

• 1050 N. Han­cock St., 877-320-7499, www.at­thepiazza.com: Soc­cer isn’t a sport just to be watched with­in the dim con­fines of a musty tap­room. It can be a street fest­iv­al, too. The Piazza at Schmidt’s, with its open-air court­yard and massive wall-moun­ted video screen, will bring the mul­tina­tion­al block party vibe to loc­al World Cup view­ing.

Hip Philly, the or­gan­iz­a­tion that co­ordin­ates Piazza events, is work­ing with the adult am­a­teur Casa Soc­cer League to present a fam­ily-ori­ented view­ing fest­iv­al on June 14 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Four matches, in­clud­ing Eng­land vs. Italy, will be played that day.

The court­yard has ample patio seat­ing, as do sev­er­al bars and res­taur­ants that oc­cupy the com­plex’s ground-floor com­mer­cial spaces. Games will be shown out­doors throughout the month long tour­na­ment.

Flames House

• 7930 Bustleton Ave., 215-722-2216, www.face­book.com/Flames­House: It’s dif­fi­cult to say ex­actly what will be hap­pen­ing at this Brazili­an bar and res­taur­ant, but isn’t that the beauty of “jogo bonito” (the beau­ti­ful game) any­way? It’s all about the un­ex­pec­ted.

When con­tac­ted by a North­east Times re­port­er, the pro­pri­et­or of this ven­ue said that he didn’t un­der­stand Eng­lish, only Por­tuguese and Span­ish. The re­port­er gleaned that “la Copa del Mundo,” in­deed, will be shown on “la tele­visión.” But that’s where com­mu­nic­a­tions broke down. Non­ethe­less, Flames re­portedly has a strong fol­low­ing among the North­east’s grow­ing Brazili­an com­munity and drew a big crowd for the re­cent Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal between Real Mad­rid and Athl&ea­cute;tico Mad­rid, which fea­tured Ron­aldo and a score of Brazili­an stars.

With five-time cham­pi­on Brazil host­ing the 2014 tour­na­ment, the Ca­nar­inho (Little Ca­nary) has been in­stalled as a 3-1 fa­vor­ite to win the title again — a res­ult that would surely de­light many along this stretch of Bustleton Av­en­ue. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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