Sportsball: The Real Best Places to Watch the World Cup

Last week The Seattle Times released a list of 10 local soccer bars they called the “best” places to watch the World Cup. But if you want to actually see the game, these are probably the 10 worst places.

Crowding into the George & Dragon to watch England play, or Prost to watch Germany, is terrific if you’re there for the experience—of course, you’ll need to get there a couple of hours early if you want to make it in at all.

The World Cup at a soccer bar is like St. Patrick’s Day at an Irish pub. If you’re in the mood to stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers, order two beers at a time, and shout when you want anyone to hear you—and this has its charms—then go for it.

For me, the “best” places to watch the World Cup are sports bars that don’t specialize in soccer—or bars not really known for sports at all. Case in point: On Friday I took a long lunch to watch Spain vs. Netherlands. I’d planned to go to the brewpub Yardhouse, across from Westlake Park on Fourth Avenue, but as I approached I saw that people were piling in like it was a subway car at rush hour. I called a quick audible and went up to Frolic, the bar atop the Red Lion Hotel that’s best known for its outdoor patio. It was deserted. My co-workers and I had a couple of couches to ourselves right in front of their four HDTVs.

Saturday, my friend drove past the George & Dragon (“line out the door,” he said), to meet me at the Iron Bull on 45th for England vs. Italy. We had our pick of seats when we got there, right in front of their giant projection TV. A decent crowd showed itself; there was plenty of cheering. But I didn’t have to elbow my way to the bar when I needed another $6 pitcher of Bud Light.

A similar approach should prove fruitful for another internationally watched event happening in Tacoma this time next year. Tickets just went on sale for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay Golf Course. If you decide to invest in tickets (the cheapest are $110), do yourself a favor and buy them for the Thursday or Friday sessions. The crowds will be smaller and you’ll get to see more golfers than you would on Saturday and Sunday, when only the top 60 or so get to compete. E

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