My Picks For Watching The World Cup In DC

I can’t believe this is going to be my third World Cup in Washington, D.C.! Well, technically, I was honeymooning in Peru during the 2006 tournament and I’ll be in Brazil for most of this one. Nonetheless. I’ve definitely noticed a rise in soccer fandom in the District since I’ve moved here. There are SO many options now when it comes to watching the games and you can read all about them in lots and lots of articles and blog post (like this one, and this one and this one.) Overall, the best places to watch soccer in the area will always be Lucky Bar, Fado and Summers. But the World Cup is about SO much more than soccer. It’s about countries. It’s about being together as you watch the match (or at least not surrounded by people who are cheering for the other team. Been there, done that for the finals in 2006. It’s not fun. And it can be hard to get together with like-minded fans when you’re let’s say from Australia, Belgium or France as opposed to American, Mexican, British or Italian. If I weren’t going to Brazil, here is where I’d be watching some of the games.

 

Watching the World Cup in DC

 

A CINDERELLA STORY ~ Brazil’s fairy tale princess could be Belgium. The Red Devils boast some of the best young players in Europe, most of them World Cup rookies. Nonetheless, several of them are rising stars of the English league and their goalie, Thibaut Courtois, helped lead Atlético Madrid to a shock Spanish title this year and a runner-up finish in the Champions League. They’re also in a pretty easy group and are definitely a team to watch! Their biggest fan in the city happens to be a knight who owns 2 restaurants… so take a long “lunch break” on the 17th and the 20th head to B Too to cheer them on!

Games to watch: Belgium-Algeria (June 17 at noon), Belgium-Russia (June 22 at noon), Belgium-South Korea (June 26 at 4PM.)

allez les bleusALLEZ LES BLEUS ~ Let’s start with the most important team, at least for me! Yes, there are plenty of French restaurants in the city, but supporters of Les Bleus will be getting together at Redline for every France game. Initially, it was the Swiss Embassy and the Swiss Club of DC who decided Redline would be their World Cup HQ (chef Fabrice Reymond is from Lausanne.) But since the French Embassy doesn’t get involved in these kind of things and we’re playing La Nati anyways, I thought it would be fun to go to Redline too. So now Redline is the World Cup HQ for all supporters of LES BLEUS and supporters of Switzerland are headed to City Tap House instead on the 15th and darlington House on the 25th (sorry). On the 20th, when France and Switzerland face off, we’ll all be at Redline though.

Games to watch: France-Honduras (Sunday June 15 at 3PM), France-Switzerland (Friday June 20 at 3PM), France-Ecuador (June 25 at 4PM.)

CAMPEONES! ~ There’s not shortage of great Spanish restaurants to cheer on the reigning World Cup and Euro Cup champions: Bodega, Jaleo, La Tasca, etc. THE game to watch is obviously Spain-Netherlands, a rematch of the 2010 World Cup finals. That’s June 13th at 3PM. I hear both the Dutch and the Spaniards are planning on taking over Elephant & the Castle on Pennsylvania Avenue, which should be really fun. Otherwise, if you’re into the Socceroos, you probably want to avoid anywhere remotely Spanish on June 23rd and head to Fado’s instead. It’s an awesome soccer bar and the Australians in Washington Association will be there, so there will be at least a few other people not cheering for Spain around you.

Games to watch: Spain-Netherlands (Friday, June 13 at 3PM), Spain-Chile (Wednesday June 18 at 3PM) and Spain-Australia (Monday June 23 at noon.)

World Cup at Biergarten Haus DCNATIONALMANNSCHAFT ~ Now I’m no fans of the Germans, but they put on a good show (both on the field and off.) I do feel bad for them this year because they’re a) in a really hard group b) playing the US and it’s never fun to cheer against the US in the US. Four years ago, BiergartenHaus opened its door on the first day of the World Cup and the H street bar is still an awesome spot to watch the games, especially if you want to be outside in the sun instead of inside a dark bar all day. and it’s especially fun to watch Germany play there since, you know, it’s a German beer garden and all. Also outdoors will be a return of Soccer in Circle Festival with a live screening of the USA-Germany game on big screen in Dupont Circle June 26th.

Games to watch: Portugal-Germany (Monday June 16 at noon), Germany-Ghana (Saturday June 21 at 3PM) and of course Germany-USA (Thursday June 26 at noon.)

U-S-A! U-S-A! ~ There’s obviously tons of options to cheer for the USMNT. Dupont Circle for the US-Germany game on the 26 should be really fun and D.C. United is sponsoring another outdoor screening, for the Portugal-USA game, in Reston Town Center (June 22 at 6PM.)

Games to watch: Ghana-USA (Monday June 16 at 6PM), Portugal-USA (Sunday June 22 at 6PM) and USA-Germany (Thursday June 26 at noon.)

 

D.C. United vs Paris Saint Germain

Just announced: D.C. United will not face Italy’s Juventus Turin for an international friendly at R.F.K. Stadium on July 28. Instead the black and red will host the red and blue aka: Paris Saint Germain (PSG). Tickets range between $32.25 and $75.05. Individual tickets can be purchased on ticketmaster.

 

Obviously, I think that’s awesome. Though I think it would have been even more awesome if they could have announced this game before I bought my tickets to see the PSG face Chelsea in another international friendly the week before at Yankee Stadium in New York 😉

Oh well, looks like I’ll get to cheer for my home team twice in one week!

Ain’t no party like an S Club a poutine party!

Sometimes back in 2011, the Canadian Embassy figured out that I wasn’t actually Canadian. Initially I guess, my degree from McGill University got them confused and I somehow managed to get invited to a lot of great events, celebrating the Vancouver Olympics, Stanley Cup finals and Canada Day. But last year it all stopped. Le sigh. Where will I get my Molson fix now? 😉 Luckily, the Canadian Embassy is stepping up its game this year, and offering a lot of options for people who, like me, would like to celebrate our neighbours up north but aren’t quite special enough to get official invites. Starting with… drumroll… DC’s first-ever poutine party. Yes. Poutine party!!

I haven’t been to Rhino Bar and Pumphouse since I graduated from GWU. And I only used to go there because some of the people I was friends with at the time liked the place. But you can be sure you’ll find me there on Friday, June 29th when Wonky Promotions and the Embassy of Canada team up to host DC’s first ever Poutine Party in honour of Canada Day. For $25, you get all you can eat poutine AND an open bar (though shame on the organizers… there are NO Canadian beer options! Really!?!). Wow. It’s like they want me to relive my college days… which I gladly will. (door tickets are $35 so get yours now if you like the fries + cheese curds + gravy goodness that is Quebec’s unofficial national dish, event is from 7-10PM.)

Poutine with short ribs and cheddar, from Gilead’s Cafe in Toronto

The next day, cheer for the Montreal Impact as they take on D.C. United at RFK Stadium. The party will start early (4PM) at lot 8 with a special Canada Day Tailgate Party. On June 30th, a $26.25 ticket gets you  a ticket to the game and admission to the Embassy-hosted tailgate party with hot dogs, beer and soft drinks. Just enter “canada” when purchasing tickets (link: here.)

Finally on Sunday, give your brunch a FrenchCanadian twist with a Canada Day Gospel brunch with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale at The Hamilton. For more on The Hamilton’s gospel brunch, check out this review by the experts (ie. the bitches who brunch.) On Canada Day, there will be a special all-you-can-eat-buffet filled with breakfast classics and Southern dishes. Now The Hamilton does have poutine on their regular menu but no word on whether that will be available for brunch on the 1st… Tickets are $25 and available here.

Bonne fête du Canada everyone!! Oh, and happy Euro 2012 final too… let’s not forget that other big event that happens on July 1st. I’m keeping my fingers my bleus make it all the way!!

Ma petite liste: April 16-22, 2012

MONDAY APRIL 16
It’s Four Square Day! Check in with Sisarina & DCeventjunkie at  K Street Lounge and enjoy an evening of $5 drinks at this gorgeous lounge and patio. 


TUESDAY APRIL 17
Ping Pong Dim Sum‘s Longjing Tea Festival is in full swing! Participate in their “sum” down bottomless open bar night ($25 for as many lychee and rose martinis, captain and ginger ales, vanilla and chili sidecars and featured wines or champagnes) and if you’re still standing at the end of the night, you can enjoy your choice of three flowering tea buds to take home.


WEDNESDAY APRIL 18

Shaw Main Street is hosting its annual fundraising gala. The cherry blossom themed event will take place in the heart of Shaw’s commercial district at the Long View Gallery on 9th street, NW (7-9:30PM).  Tickets for the catered cocktail party are $75 and benefit Shaw Main Street, a non-profit organization established to “make Shaw a better place to live, work, shop, play and pray.” Live entertainment will be provided by 1905 Restaurant regulars Laissez Foure and specialty cocktails by The Passenger‘s Dereck Brown. As a football fan and former Montreal resident, I’ll be at RFK, welcoming the MLS’ newest team, l’Impact de Montreal, as they come to “attack the South” here in Washington, D.C. Vamos UNITED! (but allez Montreal aussi un petit peu tout de même…)

THURSDAY APRIL 19
As a black cat owner and red wine drinker who wants a white rug for my living room area, I have long come to the conclusion that carpet tiles were the only way for me to go… Lucky for me, modular carpet company FLOR is opening their 10th store here in Georgetown and celebrating with a grand opening party on Thursday (6-8PM, 1037 33rd street, NW.) I can’t wait to check out their collection from up close, chat with their design teams and get more inspiration for my own space! 


FRIDAY APRIL 20
The Water Street Project is celebrating the setting up of their temporary creative space and gallery along the Georgetown Waterfront (at 3401 Water Street, NW to be exact) with an opening party.  The transformative pop up environment, brought to you by the creative minds of the No Kings Collective and The Popal Group (you know, the owners of Cafe Bonaparte and Napoleon Bistro,) will be open from April 19 to April 29th (1-7PM, with special evening programs throughout.) The opening soiree starts at 8PM. 


SATURDAY APRIL 21
Sarkozy? Bayrou? Hollande? Who shall I vote for today in the first round of the French presidential elections? Us Frenchies that live on the American continent get to vote a whole day ahead of everyone else 😉

SUNDAY APRIL 22
The 2012 edition of Filmfest D.C. concludes at the French Embassy (good thing we’re voting on Saturday and not Sunday!) with not just one, but 2 screenings of last year’s hit Les Intouchables. Trust me, it’s a great movie. The screenings take place at the French Embassy at 3PM and 7pm ($20, includes a reception from 5:15-7PM). I’ve already seen Les Intouchables, and since Sunday is election day for all of my compatriots throughout the world, I’ll be watching the results come in (the two candidates who will face off in the second round on May 6 will be revealed at 2PM!!) at the Sofitel Hotel! 

We win trophies!

When was the last time the Redskins won a trophy? Yeah, I can’t remember either… Unlike that other football team in town, D.C. United has won an impressive 12 trophies, the last one in 2004. They’ve won more trophies than any other team in the MLS and they want to make sure you know about it! Which is why, starting August 12th, D.C. United is taking its trophies on a month-long pub crawl of soccer friendly bars during the We Win Trophies tour.

The We Win Trophies Tour will make the following stops:
Wed, Aug. 12 3-6PM Union Jacks, Summers, Molly Malone’s, Pour House & Lucky Bar.
Mon, Aug. 17 7-9PM The Pug
Tues, Aug. 18 5-7PM Fado
Wed, Aug. 19 6:30-8:30PM Ventnor’s Sports Cafe (2008 Open Cup Trophy)& Rock Bottom Brewery (2004 MLS Cup Trophy)
Thu, Aug. 20 6-8PM Mackey’s
Fri, Aug. 21 5-7PM The Irish Channel
Mon, Aug. 24 6:30-8:30PM Cornerstone
Tues, Aug. 25 7-9PM Buffalo Billiards
Thu, Aug. 27 6-8PM Hawk n Dove
Fri, Aug. 28 6-8PM Hamilton’s
Mon, Aug. 31 6-8PM Porter’s
Tue, Sept. 1 5:30-7:30PM The Green Turtle

Of course, there’s a little bit more to the tour than just parading their trophies around. D.C. won the rights to host the upcoming U.S. Open Cup at RFK Stadium and the We Win Trophies tour is also meant as a way to rally up support for the team before they take on the Seattle Sounders FC to defend the title from a year ago. Fans have been encouraged to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter to promote the Sept. 2 match.

All of this comes after the Sounders suggested RFK was not the appropriate place to host the U.S. Open Cup because Seattle, playing its first season at Qwest Field, has drawn nearly 30,000 fans per game, about twice the attendance of D.C. United. I hope some of you will consider coming to RFK on Sept. 2nd to show Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer that not only can we pack a stadium, but we can win trophies too.

Et un ! Et deux ! Et trois – zé-ro !

The Redskins’ first home-game isn’t scheduled until August 22nd. So why did 72,000 football fans descend on FedEx Field yesterday? They were treated to a great match as D.C.’s other football team, D.C. United, took on the mighty Real Madrid C.F. and its roaster of international soccergodsstars. Yes! Finally, some real football at Landover!

Sunday’s encounter was a far cry from a typical D.C. United game. The crowd, huge by D.C. soccer standards, was a few thousand spectators shy of what Los Galácticos average for a regular match at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. The game was very much a soccer version David vs. Goliath. It was amazing seeing over 72,000 spectators brave the 95 degree heat to see D.C. United play. Though they weren’t here to cheer for the home team 😉 I’d estimate that at probably some 70,000 of them were wearing white and cheering for Los Blancos. Real’s lineup, labeled the best team money can buy, includes the past two world players of the year, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, whose combined salaries this year is more than D.C. United players have made (together) in the 13 years history of the team. Nonetheless, for the first 55 minutes, none of this seemed to matter as United goalkeeper Josh Wicks (whose annual salary of $42,000 is probably what Ronaldo spends during one night out on the town) held his own and rebuffed all of Real’s attacks. And then Arjen Robben scored not one but two goals in a row for Real and well, to make a short story short, D.C. United lost 3-0.

Despite the final score, the game was anything but a loss for D.C. United. The exhibition match was a great exposure for Tom Soehn’s men and for the sport as a whole in the United States. The next home game pits D.C. United against L.A. Galaxy on August 22nd. I hope some of the Real fans who came to FedEx yesterday will consider coming to RFK to give the Black-and-Red some much needed love. And if some want to come to cheer on David Beckham… well… that’s fine too I guess…